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Publisher's Summary

Ragle Gumm has a unique job: Every day he wins a newspaper contest. And when he isn’t consulting his charts and tables, he enjoys his life in a small town, in 1959. At least, that’s what he thinks. But then strange things start happening. He finds a phone book where all the numbers have been disconnected, and a magazine article about a famous starlet named Marilyn Monroe, whom he’s never heard of. Plus, everyday objects are beginning to disappear and are replaced by strips of paper with words written on them, like "bowl of flowers" and "soft-drink stand". When Ragle skips town to try to find the cause of these bizarre occurrences, his discovery could make him question everything he has ever known.

©1987 Laura Coelho, Christopher Dick, and Isa Dick (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Time Out of Joint

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Well ahead of his time even in 1959

People who know PKD's works do not need a review.

To hear one of PKD's earlier novels has been a great experience. His stories travel better through time than most of Heinlein's novels. At times I was reminded of 'The Manchurian Candidate' ( Richard Condon, 1959) and of the more recent CIA experiments in mind control.
I was/am keen to again hear Heinlein's 'Moon is a Harsh Mistress' (that I do rank as one of my favouite stories) after listening to this.

Jeff Cummings' reading was good as were the ideas embedded in the story. The quest for the nature of reality and the nature of words in defining percieved reality is interesting at very least. ( Not a spoiler because that is not the story, just following through to his later works.)

For anyone new to PKD this is a mystery story set in a future written over 50 years ago, and not too hard to follow,

For me it was a great listen.

8 people found this helpful

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Nice and Easy until Something Gives!

Any additional comments?

The nice and easy fifties, families living their post war lives until one day something odd happens. Discover ever so slowly what is hidden and then hang on for the ride of a lifetime!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it starts out very slow, almost boring. It is so worth it, because it intensifies the suspense that builds up slowly until suddenly everything falls apart and the reader sits at the edge of the seat until the last page!

6 people found this helpful

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Mediocre Mother to Gravity's Rainbow and the Truman Show?

A book that could have inspired both Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (anticipation of rockets) and the Truman Show (community set up around one man). While I give it points for anticipating a couple generations early the narcissism of the 21st century, the absurdity of American Exceptionalism, the shallow falseness of community on FB, etc., it was in the end just too damn slow. Most of the narrative was underwater. Not as kinetic or beautiful as his later stuff (read, it is sometimes boring). There was no rush. There were no prose daisies to pick as I picked through the pages. It was good just not great. It was PKD, just not great PKD

18 people found this helpful

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Dystopic future with pastoral past

Time Out of Joint by Philip K Dick is a dystopian future where Earth is at war with lunar colonists and the only individual who can inform defense is living in a 1959 version of the US where solving a daily newspaper puzzle provides the clues for the next planetary strikes. Gumm is surrounded by others most of which have been brainwashed into believing this fantasy. Gradually, he becomes aware of something not right and finally escapes to learn the truth.

Surprisingly, Dick utilizes very little sci-fi, other than the lunar colonization which is only mentioned. 1998 offers little in the way of advancement (other than lunar conquest) in terms of technology. The elaborate nature of the ruse seems overdone as is the ease of which lunar spies and sympathizers can infiltrate.

The narration is reasonable with good pacing that moves the tale along quickly.

1 person found this helpful

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Satisfying

Time Out of Joint is a great book. It's a reminiscent of the film Truman Show and the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. PKD employs some of his usual tropes: constructed reality and government conspiracy, to build a gripping story about a man undergoing a Freudian regression. In this novel the 50's utopia, called "Old Town", is more quaint than creepy, but it's wrought with glitches and non sequiturs. The only reason I didn't give this book a 5 star rating is that it's a small scale read, with a limited world. That said, no questions are left unanswered and it's overall a very satisfying production:) Enjoy!

1 person found this helpful

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An early PKD mind-bender

Philip K. Dick’s 1959 novel Time Out of Joint was my first-ever introduction to PKD’s signature genre of mind-bending scifi. I was around the age of twelve, so it was probably 1976. I bought the book with my own hard-earned paper route money, I think for $1.25, brand new on the drug store paperback rack. To this day I remember the conversation that followed, as I waived my hands around and chattered excitedly to my very unhip small town mother about this guy ordering a bottle of beer at a beachside vending cart, only to have the cart – and the vendor – vanish before his eyes. In its place was left only a slip of white paper on the sand bearing the words “Soft drink stand.” Mom didn’t get it, of course, but honestly, I didn’t either. I only knew that my young brain was on fire with a deep, newly awakened question, “What is real? What if nothing is real? Can one ever be certain what is real? How?” I caught a whiff of deeper questions still, like how much of our experience of the world is made of up of words in our heads describing things, rather than the things themselves?

Heady questions for a twelve year old. Upon rereading Time Out of Joint more than forty years later, I find those questions are still very much alive. I’ve been thinking about them on some level all these decades. I never found a single “true” answer, but that’s kind of the point, right?

This is not Dick’s best novel (I’ve read them all, over the years), but this early entry into his lexicon hits all the “PhiliDickian” marks. It’s a mind-bender, where nothing is what it seems. A “precursor” well worth the return visit. The 1959 setting, extant when the book was published, comes off now as pleasantly nostalgic. There’s a subtle subtext that totally flew over my head at twelve, in 1976, regarding the hidden darkness underlying the bright surface of late Fifties America. Great stuff.

I listened to the Brilliance Audio audiobook edition of Time Out of Joint, narrated by Jeff Cummings. Cummings is not a bad voice actor, and he did a decent job of articulating the sort of 1950s “GoshWowism” of the various male characters. I was bothered, though, by the voicing of the female characters, who one and all came off as breathy and weak, sounding more like what a man who’s not thinking about it very hard assumes a woman sounds like. That’s NOT what women sound like! One hears this failed technique a lot in audiobooks by male narrators, so Cummings is not alone. But dang, somebody needs to solve this riddle!

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Time Out of Joint

I’m crazy for Philip K. Dick. I only discovered him a few years ago, and I’ve accumulated about a dozen of his Audible novels. There is a pleasantness in the narrator’s tone that makes this a delightful experience. Highly recommended!

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Time yarn copyright 1959

dated story by a good author but cutting edge thought is capable of much greater depth now

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Time Out of Joint...from 1959

amazing book. He got the political persuasions reversed for the 21st century, however, which is a fascinating political science subtext.

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elements of Truman show and Ubiq abound.

elements of Truman show and Ubiq abound. worth the short listen. buy it now ok.

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  • Kamawan
  • 12-08-18

That's some good Philip K Dick.

I'm a huge fan of Philip K Dick, but will be the first to say that some of his books are terrible. This is no such book, it's a mind-bender in the classic Dick way, but not over the top or so twisted that it's hard to follow. Absolutely worth a credit. Great easy listen, very good storyline. Reports that it was predictable fail to take into account that it's familiar only because it's good, and the concepts have been appropriated by others over the years. You'll recognise parts which have been reused in modern books and films. This book is one of the founding fathers of modern sci-fi, and I really enjoyed it in the couple of days in which I didn't put it down. Same narrator as The Man In The High Castle, who plays some characters in a really odd way (think of Robert Childen from that very book - that particular voice is recycled here).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Oliver ede
  • 06-27-18

Influential story

A variety of voices from the narrator but not really for me. A solid performance nevertheless. The book is instantly recognisable as a classic. I won't spoil the plot but listening to this book I can see where many stories and popular films have found their Inspiration. Very forward thinking. Cannot say too much without spoiling the plot but a very good story and one for all fans of science fiction.

1 person found this helpful

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  • G
  • 02-12-21

very good but not pkds best

the first pks classic as he was just finding his stride. some of his work over the next couple of decades explored similar themes and types of story and did it better, but if you have worked your way through those this is well worth a read/listen.

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  • Mr. Farren K. Perkins
  • 07-12-20

A great introduction to the writing of PKD

This was my first foray in to his writing and it did not disappoint. It's fairly grounded for much of the book, which lets you settle in to his writing style as thing become increasingly out of joint, then kind of crazy.

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  • Nicola S.
  • 08-29-18

Stupid twist at the end

Story is a little slow. Not Philip K Dicks’s best book. Still I enjoyed it.

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  • Justine Powell
  • 07-10-16

Very good, but the misogyny is hard to take

The plot was fantastic, but the relentlessly dim, trivial female characters, and the awful ways the men related to them made it hard to listen to.

I won't rush to listen another Philip K Dick, even though I bought several in one go.



4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-01-16

True to the central themes of Philip K Dick

What made the experience of listening to Time Out of Joint the most enjoyable?

True to the central themes of Philip K Dick, but set in the perfectly mundane world of 1959. Somehow, it once again manages to be prescient. I think this could be my new favourite book by Philip K Dick.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-05-20

Typical Philip K Dick Fare

This comes off to me as primitive Philip K Dick. Which is to say, latter Philip K Dick works take the deconstruction of reality as a given, whereas for this story, it's the whole point. So although you could see it a mile away; to follow the plot along to it's climax is still as fun as rereading a Philip K Dick book. Something I've done many times.

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  • Slain
  • 10-05-18

The Truman Show meets Total Recall

Fantastic story! Well performed, albeit it the first few chapters seemed to drag on a little bit, but in the end I found it made for great scene setting and plot building.

Well worth the purchase! :)