Chip works for Glen Runciter's anti-psi security agency, which hires out its talents to block telepathic and paranormal crimes. But when its special team tackles a big job on the moon, something goes terribly wrong, and Runciter is seemingly killed.
Now, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss - on toilet walls, traffic tickets, product labels, and even U.S. coins. And the world around them is warping in ways that suggest that their own time is running out - or already has.
Philip K. Dick's searing metaphysical comedy of death and salvation is a tour de force of paranoiac menace and unfettered slapstick, in which the departed give business advice, shop for their next incarnation, and run the continual risk of dying yet again.
©1997 Laura Coelho, Christopher Dick, and Isolde Hackett; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Popular ranking puts Ubik and most of his other books into the "Science-Fiction" category. On the surface it is true - the book describes events in then-future (was written in 1969).
The main plot revolves around a strange company Runciters Inc.) whose principal business is to protect its clients from unwanted interference from some telepathic "criminals", who by use of psychic field, may interfere with humans.
Another pillar of the novel is the "half-life" - the state into which a person could go after death of her/his physical body. The idea of contact of real people and the dead, done via interception of residual brain activity - plays an important role.
However, that's enough about the plot in my review. I'm not going to spoil it for the future readers. The whole point in the reading of the book is about surprise, about incredible interleaving of time and space in such a way, that reader is often totally lost as to where the plot happens and in what time. There are amazing descriptions of time going backward into the past.
The book is also deeply philosophical, and in this aspects, Dicks style reminds us of Lem's writings. As with Lem, Dick transmits deep philosophical thoughts about time, space and human will. However, he does so in a very sincere way - free from any pathos or elation. There is nothing like bombastic moralization - and if you do not buy his philosophy - you can just ignore it.
The last pages of the book, with an invocation of some ironically biblical tone, and the very last sentence of the book says something fundamental of humans condition - about freedom and almost Machiavellian will to exist, to survive, to prevail.
And last - but not least - the language of the novel. There are sentences and figures of speech of unprecedented beauty and wit.
If you like good sci-fi - listen to it, if you do not like - do it anyway. Dick's writership transcends any attempt to pigeonhole it.
This is one of Philip K. Dick's best books and my own personal favorite. The story begins in the near future. The central character is Joe Chip, an engaging but perpetually broke fellow, employed by his older mentor Glen Runciter. Runciter Associates sell their services as "inertials" -- odd persons who have a talent for cancelling out the abilities of telepathic corporate spies who use mind-reading abilities to spy on companies. Runciter, Chip and ten other employees of Runciter Associates are lured to Luna Colony where they are the victims of a terrorist bomb blast that kills Runciter and leaves Chip and the others scrambling for survival in a reality which seems to be simultaneously slipping back in time and dissolving out from under them. Or is this what's really happening? Many brilliant concepts come into play to create a surreal and mesmerizing trip down the rabbit hole. There are dead people who exist in ???half life,??? a form of lying in state after death where the decedent remains available, in special mausoleums, for consultation with the living. Pre-cogs can see into the future and are frequently hired to engage in corporate espionage. There is omnipresent time decay which creates regressed forms of devices allowing a space-age hover car to regress to a Buick LeSabre, then to a Model T. Finally, there is UBIK itself, a miracle spray which reverses decay and may represent the only hope of salvation. Dark humor, nostalgia and intriguing concepts drawn from philosophy and a deep knowledge of history. Well narrated, this is a true masterpiece of surreal science fiction.
This book is a trip....into the strange mind of Philip K Dick and his reality spray product UBIK. If you are looking for the same old...don't look here, unless you spray it with a couple squirts of UBIK and see what is underneath.
my favorite pkd gets an excellent read by heald, who isn't afraid to stretch himself when doing the 15 or so different voices. highly recommended, when used as directed.
I love this book, although I must admit the writing isn't poetry. Also the parodies of a future society, i.e. coin operated doors as slap stick are hilarious interspersed as they are in what is a terse thriller. This book really leans on the red herring as literary device, and after each chapter you get the impression that the book is going in another direction. However, the actual execution of the character's psychic environment and the threat that they face is viscerally rendered, and very memorable. Though the final twist of the book is sort of telegraphed early on, it is surrounded by enough chaff and awesome psychedelic set pieces that it leaves you with a satisfied feeling, rather than one of bored irritation. Maybe the best genre moment in any dirt dozen style thriller book, the vaguely parodic, overly generous character introductions given by the main character in his internal third person limited voice are priceless. Best as a quick read in my opinion.
Yes, but due to the content of the book, you may need to go back a couple of times to make sure you understand what you just heard.
It is hard to find another book to compare Ubik with. You could compare it to the Matrix (I know it is not a book), but there are certain subtle similarities.
Anthony Heald gives every character a unique voice
Do you know what reality you are in?
Great book, i would recommend you read or listen. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorite Authors.
At the heart, it's an amazing story. It's the sort of tale where it's difficult to tell what's real and what's not until very late.
This is the sort of half-fantasy that pulls you in, teasing about the possibility of what could happen, were the ability to see the future a real possibility.
Anthony Heald is an amazing narrator, with the ability to mimic dozens of voices, thus making each character amazingly real.
This was a book I couldn't put aside.
I would heartily recommend this audiobook, PKD, and Anthony Heald, without reservation.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
This is a great inquiry into how we perceive reality. How do we know what's real and what's not? I think a lot of people come to this book assuming the opening framing scene is reality, but what if it's not? (For that matter, what does 'reality' mean in the context of speculative fiction?)
There are a lot of unanswered questions in this book. Some people dismiss that as '60s trippy nonsense. Or it could be in the nature of dreams. Or it could be a meditation on how the modern world unmoors us from the long-established connections we have with the real world.
Along the way, PKD has many amusing observations on what the world could or would become. What if everything you did required payment at the time you did it? Coin-operated refrigerators and TVs? (And who is collecting all those coins?) And the faux-ads for Ubik are hilarious. As fresh now as they were 40 years ago (or as stale, depending on how you think about ads).
The reader, Anthony Heald, works very hard at making this a performance. I enjoyed his interpretation most of the time, but he would occasionally mix up his voices. And sometimes his extreme inflections would override the voice he had chosen for a particular character.
1 book, deserted island: Replay|Series: A Song of Ice and Fire|Should be required in school: Starship Troopers|Finished: Ready Player One
This was my third (and last) PKD book, and about 2/3rds of the way through it was the same, "is this real, what is reality, alternate states, dope smoking hippy crap". Just like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Ubik will make a MUCH better movie than book. At least Androids and Ubik had interesting ideas to start. Man in High Castle was just boring.
Really enjoyed this book. Fabulous descriptive language, larger than life characters. Interesting plot with plenty of twist both expected and unexpected. Great book!
"A mind meld for humans"
I bought this book because The Verge were going to be discussing it on their book club podcast. I originally bought the ebook version and started to read it however I just couldn't get into it at all and so I decided to spend some more cash and buy the audible version.
Well what can I say a great listen from start to finish. I have no really understanding why it is I couldn't get into it with the Ebook version but boy I'm I glad I pursued the audio.
A twisting story that really messes with your mind and just as you think you are understanding the world of Ubik it dips and dives again and trashes that understanding.
A great book by a great author.
"Story that will last appealing for centuries."
Lets see... mind reading, psy powers, alternatives universes and timelines, afterlife, Utopian future world(that somehow appeals to me..), and Plato theory of the forms thrown in to the mix... result? One brilliant book!
that will stay relevant for long time to come.
"Dead, Oh are we"
Spray tonic re-animation
I didn't have one, the plot was good but I didn't gel with the characters
The Narrator was good, he didn't irritate which is nice
It let me feeling I would like to get to the end
I read lot of Mr Dick's book as a youngster, and really like them, this one just didn't work for me, but saying that, it doesn't mean it is not a good book
"Twisted minds and a new form of half-life."
There's no doubt that Philip K Dick must be a very strange man with a very weird mind! It took a while to get into this book and yet I confess to being thoroughly hooked straight away though I'm not entirely sure I can say why! The whole concept is different even for this genre, sci-fi being one of my faves and I've read lots and lots; life after death as an accepted and useful aspect to being human and in business. And there was a neat twist that I could see creeping up on us toward the end of the book though that isn't a negative point. The mark of a good author is the ability to pull you into an alternate universe with accepted "norms" very different from those of the universe we inhabit and have those "norms" somehow plausible... Philp K Dick can do that making you suspend disbelief.. Where does he get such original ideas from? Dream on....Maybe I should listen to the book again, soon.....
A good introduction into Phillip K Dick's writing. My first K. Dick book and I'm looking forward to trying more. Well read and thought provoking!
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