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Ubik Paperback – April 17, 2012
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From the Back Cover
From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare youll never be sure youve woken up from.Lev Grossman, Time
Glen Runciter runs a lucrative businessdeploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in half-life, a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciters face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.
More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.Roberto Bolaño
PHILIP K. DICK (19281982) wrote 121 short stories and 45 novels and is considered one of the most visionary authors of the twentieth century. His work is included in the Library of America and has been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Eleven works have been adapted to film, including Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly.
About the Author
Over a writing career that spanned three decades, PHILIP K. DICK (1928–1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film, notably Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall,Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
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Starting out, I wondered why. While the plot and world building were intriguing, I found the writing a bit clunky (lots of adjectives and made-up words) and the attempt at future technology dated. (not surprising--it was written in 1969 and takes place in 1992). The style reminded me of a sci-fi version of a Phillip Marlowe detective story--a bit cliché even though it may have been the prototype for the cliché.
But as the book progressed, the mood took hold of me, an unsettling feeling like the kind you get in those seconds between dreaming and awakening, when you struggle to figure out which is which. By the end, I knew I'd been treated to a great book, a complex, well-crafted and intertwined story of multiple realities, none of which is ever grounded enough to let you sort through them. But there's something more: these realities make you question your sense of life, like The Matrix without the machines, a floating reality that is the state of being itself.
The ideas rather than the characters are central to this story. Most of the characters are pretty flat. But once you get used to the world (psychic powers, colony on the moon, dead people in half-life), the mood takes over, as what appears to be reality fluctuates and changes.
It's a slow start, but as I stuck with it, I found it well worthwhile, an original work with a deeply unsettling feel. Think Kafka plus Twilight Zone in the Matrix.
Down-to-earth folks whose world view is grounded in what they perceive to be reality should probably avoid this book. But despite some rough edges, I found it to be a great read.
I think its pretty hard to go into allot of detailed without giving it away. It deals allot with psychics etc and a process of death where people who are basically dead are put in chambers in which they have brain function and are in a dream like state. So pretty sci fi. lol
I don't think its too crazy. I guess I was a bit worried that his books would be so far out there that it would be hard to grasp. I didn't find this book to be this way. He explains everything to understand it in due time. Well maybe not everything. lol
It is a book to make you think and question existence etc. Pretty interesting all around. I plan on reading more of his works.
Lots of fun and I was entertained.
The world created, the characters, and the general plot seemed well thought out. It did, however, seem like the intention of the book was to keep the twists constant, which can sometimes lead to a disorganized feeling.
And the end... I think I had just been too spoiled by big plot twists that by the time I actually got around to reading this book, it was only natural for me to guess (accurately) how the book would end. Nonetheless, it's the meat in the middle that makes it worth it.
I liked Ubik, but I doubt it will be among the Phillip K Dick books that I will go back and re-read.