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Publisher's Summary

A mind-bending, classic Philip K. Dick novel about the perception of reality.

Named as one of Time's 100 best books.

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business - deploying 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 Runciter's 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.

©1969 Philip K. Dick (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you'll never be sure you've woken up from." (Lev Grossman, Time)
"More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo." (Roberto Bolaño)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    1,218
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    1,014
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    552
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    180
  • 1 Stars
    67

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    721
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    225
  • 2 Stars
    68
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    41

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great performance of an SF classic

What made the experience of listening to Ubik the most enjoyable?

I first read UBIK nearly thirty years ago, and while I remembered a lot of the plot (including the final reveal), what I didn't remember (or hadn't noticed) is how well constructed the novel was. Dick took great pains to "play fair" and leave enough bread crumbs to figure out what was going on if you paid attention. I was also interested in how "dated" the technological references might seem, since UBIK takes place in a 1996 with a Lunar Colony established (and others implied); there are a few moments in which the tech references show their age, but they don't detract.

What other book might you compare Ubik to and why?

In some ways this novel seems to have been a response (or even a commentary) on Kornbluth and Pohl's "The Space Merchants," while also involving some stylistic similarities to Bester's "The Stars My Destination" and Fritz Lieber's short story "Coming Attraction." But that's probably only me; UBIK is a legit, one of a kind original.

Which scene was your favorite?

The first time that Pat uses her power to change the past with Joe Chip and his boss Runciter.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't have seven-hour sittings available, but it did well in big chunks of an hour or so at a time while I was driving.

Any additional comments?

Luke Daniels' narration is a real plus, and made the character of Al much more central in my listening than he was way back when I read the novel the first time. I thought he also caught the sadistic/playful nuances in the character Pat much better than I would have imagined. But, then, Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Holy sh*t

Was listening to this book on a trip from California and let me tell you it is one of the most nail biting adventures I have ever listen. to Philip K Dick is a master at suspense and deception a must read. Just wait to the ending it's worth the whole ride

39 of 41 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I Wanted to Like It

This is one of those books that is either genius or well... not genius. Maybe I am just not smart enough to "get" it. I can admit that, no harm. In the beginning I wanted to like it, hell by the middle I just wanted to understand it. By the end I figured I must have somehow missed an important bit of narration that was the necessary key to unlocking the meaning of the book. It was confusing, emotionally fragmented and just downright baffling. I would give you a short synopsis of the story, but I never did figure out what the story was. Don't get me wrong... there were moments of sheer brilliance, glimpses of shining insight and a breath of deep and profound vision. And then, I was just back to being confused. Can't recommend this one.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Confusing

Just like the characters were unsure about what's happening to them, I was confused listening. Unlike a murder mystery or something of that sort, they were in a sci-fi then parallel world of people with varying/unknown skills and I had trouble keeping up. The last few chapter where everything was being explained was interesting.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible voice acting

This story is classic Philip K Dick. Definitely Philip K Dick at his weirdest. The voice acting in this performance is some of the best I have ever heard. The number of voices and characters in his repertoire is incredible. The wide variety of voices was particularly suitable for this story and it's whimsical, esoteric, and quirky details. This book is worth listening to for the voice acting alone, even though the story is a bit on the odd side.

43 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joe
  • Dublin, Ohio
  • 06-12-16

Fantastic Performance

I read this book 24 years ago as a teenager. I grew up a Philip K Dick fan and truly loved this book. I hadn't read it since until recently, when audible offered it on sale, I thought it would be fun to listen to.

Wow! The narration of Luke Daniels makes this book so much fun to hear performed. Daniels brings the different characters to life with cleverly rendered voices. The book is as playful as it is mind-blowing.

I wish Philip K Dick were still around to hear his own work performed like this. I bet he would have loved it.

48 of 53 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

so so

I liked the beginning. the last half seems to get lost. I only listened to the end because of all the good reviews.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

interesting

difficult to follow. takes a lot of concentration.
narration was very nice.
it was an off beat kind of story at times hard to follow.
could have left out some of the he said, she said. lines.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • PLANO, TX, United States
  • 08-29-16

I liked it, but I haven't figured everything out..

I liked the story, but it was very confusing as to why certain things were happening, and when it ended I thought it was rather abrupt and didn't understand. I used to enjoy sci-fi quite a bit in my younger days, maybe age has dulled my abilities to figure stuff like this out... Anyway, it was entertaining and engaging, but to my ears an old fashioned sci-fi novel. Its primary goal is to make you think, entertainment is just a by- product.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Garneke
  • Syracuse, NY United States
  • 07-14-17

Not a fan - interesting idea but...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The reader had a nice variety of voices, but I hate most of them. His voice for Glen Runciter seriously gave me a headache - it was like he was always angry and yelling and I kept turning the volume down. Drove me nuts and made me really hate the character which I don't think was the intent of the author.

Would you ever listen to anything by Philip K. Dick again?

Don't think so. I understand that describing people and places are the job of the author so the reader can visualize the story, but I could not stand all the excessive and over the top descriptions of people and their clothes - not only could I not relate but I had no interest to. The story was written in 1969 in a futuristic time, so I have to give him some leeway. But his future really sucked - who in there right mind would pay to enter and leave their own home. And the continual advertisements for Ubik products were completely unrelated to anything specially when at the end they discuss Ubik as a single product. The story did not make a lot of since - he spends a great deal of time on one character, Pat, with this extraordinary talent and she never does anything in the entire story. The main character Joe Chip is a frickin loser and yet the boss praises him and trusts his company to him - not a chance in hell. And fine if strange things happen in the "half-life", whatever, I'll let it slide it is creative - but for those in half-life to alter things in the real world... just another example of how this story line was ill conceived. If you liked it as a kid, sorry, but maybe a young kid would be the best audience.

Would you be willing to try another one of Luke Daniels’s performances?

No I still have a headache from all his angry loud voices.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Ubik?

Cut all the ads, stupid and add no value. I would cut Pat or give her a part in the story but not just waste our time with her. I would cut the ending where Joe Chip's face appears in Runciter's money it does not follow any of the "logic" of the story and adds no value.

Any additional comments?

I went back to listen to section of the story to remember some details for this review and I barely made 20 seconds before I quit... This story really irritated me and the narration makes my blood pressure rise as it is so uncomfortable to listen to. I listen to the entire story because it got great reviews and I have been pleasantly surprised in the past by stories that have a very strong ending - this was not one of those. I am not a fan.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. J. Forsyth
  • 12-19-16

Very enjoyable

I cant call this a furious page turner (or ear flapper as it was audiobook?) but it was a good read. As with most pkd it didnt seem groundbreaking (anymore) but not without any weight or relevance, like all great sci-fi seems to transcend generations long after publish.

Some seem to see greater meanings or questions in this story and I can understand that if your looking for it but for me it was simply a very enjoyable story of easy digestion that passed from start to finish in just the right length to feel complete.

A welcome rest from aliens, spaceships, time travel, vampires, werewolves and magicians.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Antonio Konitsiotis
  • 05-30-16

a wild imaginative ride!

constantly keeps you guessing, a crazy amazing story! brilliantly narrated and a seminal piece of sci-fi!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Oliver
  • 05-10-16

Phantasmagoric

Looking for some 10/10 sci-fi? Trying to fill the formless void in your soul? Wondering when the last time you were ever truly happy was? Read Ubik by Phillip K Dick

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-26-16

Keeps you guessing

Good story. Quite trippy and keeps you guessing. In fact, it gets better as it goes on. Good voices by the narrator!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Bashy
  • 02-14-17

The original Inception

The story is very recognisable as older science fiction in its style but that doesn't take away from it at all. The story is very clever initially slow to build but then it hooks you.

I hope they don't ever make a film of this it would ruin a great book.

The narrator was good however I found some of the voices grating and irritating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kamila
  • 01-20-17

Great pleasure to listen to.

Very strong story, kept me gripped till end. Well designed world, complex and consistent, filled with interesting characters . All this wrapped up in masterpiece of narration. Loved it. Will look for other books by Dick and Daniels.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • L
  • 01-28-17

Brilliant!

Absolutely sensational, one of best books I've listened too. Narrator and story top notch.

I would have never gone for a book written in the 60s but how glad I am that audible put it on the daily deal.

A must read!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Donal
  • 01-24-17

A entertaining well written well read story.

It's a good story. Deeply fantastical and keeps you guessing exactly what is going on till near the end. The first person narrative works well and the language is intelligent. While I was not blown away by the characters and rushing to get another book by the author I can recommend it. Its not an addictive story but I got through it within a few days of housework etc without getting bored.
Impressovely orginal even if not very thought provoking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-11-18

Classic PKD

A great rendition of a personal favourite; a story as mad as a box of frogs, of course. Luke Daniel's strong characterisations go a long way to making the take more accessible.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cammac
  • 03-07-18

Never heard such a performance.

Incredible range demonstrated by the narrator. You just don’t need visuals. His voice takes you there.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-24-16

Great narration of one of the best P.K Dick books

I hope this narrator continues to work on P.K. Dick books so that I can collect my favorite 5 and then listen to them in a yearly cycle

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nat
  • 12-14-16

One of the best books ever written!

I loved this book more than any book I have read. It's amazing, scary, very paranoid and soooooo much fun. I never understood why some people love the world of books like lord of the rings so much n want to keep going back. UBIK is like that for me. It's amazing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jas from Tasmania
  • 11-12-16

What a journey

One of the best Sci Fi books of all time. Absolutely brilliant and the narration was the best I've heard.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-30-18

Haunting and terrifying

A beautiful and chilling solipsistic SciFi thriller from one of the greatest writers of our time.