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Review of Ubik by Philip K. Dick

Library ascending into the heavens

Down the Rabbit Hole

Read enough books and sooner or later you’ll find a magic one. Ubik was one of those books for me. I can’t even begin to describe the level of weirdness this book brought into my life.  It left noticeable perturbations in my reality tunnel. Some part of this book seemed to run loose in the “real” world while I was listening to it on Audible. Ancient sky gods had pulled the plunger on the cosmic pinball machine.  Coincidence Control was working overtime.

Ubik isn’t an easy book.  The premise seems easy enough. Joe Chip works for Runciter Associates a “prudence organization” who employs a staff of “inertials” who are able to cancel out the powers of telepaths and precogs. Runciter Associates protects the privacy of anyone who can afford them because psychic espionage is big business in the future.

When he’s not busy smoking cigars and yelling at people Glen Runciter has board meetings with his dead wife who is in a state called “half-life”. While he’s doing that Joe is redefining what it means to be trashed and broke. Blowing all your money on getting wasted can be a dangerous thing to do in a world filled with coin-operated doors as he soon finds out. Dating a girl who can bend time is always a bad idea especially when she’s the only one with money for the door.

Ouch! My head!

If that all sounds too crazy for you then turn back now because it just keeps getting crazier. Runciter Associates gets called into a big job which goes horribly wrong. The outcome of the insanity that happens next is still being debated today. Prepare to have your mental processes turned into modeling clay and then re-molded into something strange. This book might be looking for you right now. I’m still not sure what the hell happened but wow what a ride. PKD is in rare form with this one and the narrator Luke Daniels does a fantastic job of bringing it all to life. Ubik is one of my all-time Audible faves.

Of all the PKD books I’ve read this one was the most powerful. Some of the things that happened while reading it were quite profound. I began to wonder if PKD had found some way to reprogram the reader or free them from their current mental confines. Or whether the energies he was communicating with found some way to do so through his books. I highly recommend wading into The Exegesis audiobook after Ubik. It will give you an in-depth look at the ideas PKD was playing around with in Ubik. You can get your mind blown all over again. If you would like to support this website both books are available directly from Amazon here and here.

Ubik by Philip K. Dick

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