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Ubik (S.F. MASTERWORKS) [Kindle Edition]

Philip K. Dick
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Glen Runciter is dead.



Or is he?



Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out.



If it hasn't already.


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Amazon Review

Nobody but Philip K Dick could so successfully combine SF comedy with the unease of reality gone wrong, shifting underfoot like quicksand. Besides grisly ideas like funeral parlours where you swap gossip for the advice of the frozen dead, Ubik (1969) offers such deadpan farce as a moneyless character's attack on the robot apartment door that demands a five-cent toll:
"I'll sue you," the door said as the first screw fell out.

Joe Chip said, "I've never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it."

Chip works for Glen Runciter's anti-psi security agency, which hires out its talents to block telepathic snooping and paranormal dirty tricks. When its special team tackles a big job on the Moon, something goes badly wrong. Runciter is killed, it seems--but messages from him now appear on toilet walls, traffic tickets or product labels. Meanwhile fragments of reality are time-slipping into past versions: Joe Chip's beloved stereo system reverts to a hand-cranked 78 player with bamboo needles. Why does Runciter's face appear on US coins? Why the repeated ads for a hard-to-find universal panacea called Ubik ("safe when taken as directed")?

The true, chilling state of affairs slowly becomes clear, though the villain isn't who Joe Chip thinks. And this is Dick country, where final truths are never quite final and--with the help of Ubik--the reality/illusion balance can still be tilted the other way...Another nifty choice from Millennium SF Masterworks. --David Langford

Review

SALES POINTS 'One of the most original practitioners writing any kind of fiction, Dick made most of the European avant-garde seem like navel-gazers in a cul-de-sac' - Sunday Times 'My literary hero' -- Fay Weldon 'For everyone lost in the endlessly multiplicating realities of the modern world, remember: Philip K. Dick got there first' -- Terry Gilliam

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blew my mind... 13 Aug. 2002
Format:Paperback
After Reading "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", I must admit that I was concerned that I would not be able to top that. Fortunately, Ubik surpassed all my expectations. Other reviewers here have detailed the plot, which I think is unfair, since Ubik is a constant page-turner and fascinator. So I will not give anything away.
Fortunately, Minority Report touches upon many of the major themes within Ubik, espcially the industry grown out of Pre-cognition and Psionic ability. It is therefore timely to read this now, and hopefully this will spur on others to take an interest in this most fascinating of authors.
Ubik touches upon many of Dick's core themes (a true Auteur): psychic ability (and its power), faith and religion, regression and postmodernity, death, insanity, drugs, experience etc. etc. However, it truly excels as a narrative, and I completely disagree with those critics who merely saw the characters within this book.
Some points within in are beyond imagination, and will simply blow your mind. The vertigo within this surpasses any other SF I have read. Added to this is some excellent characterisation and social commentary (for example, Runciter vs. Joe Chip, both attempting to save the company, but both representing the dichotomies within capitalism), and some crazy philosophy.
Anyway, before I drool too much, and contemplate starting it again, I shall leave you with my strongest urges to read this book! Forget the rubbish about "well, its not technologically accurate", because that is to lose the point with Dick; unlike other SF writes (most notably Asimov, who likes to portray a history of the future), Dick merely expresses possible worlds (very dark and crazy worlds). Yes, themes do exist, such as 'papes and hovercars and vidphones, but ignore this and concetrate on Dick's stiringly accurate imagination. Sit back and realise that the future is now, in the most unbelievable way imaginable.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great place to start 21 Mar. 2006
Format:Paperback
This was the second book of Philip K. Dick's I read and one of the few that I regularly return to. Ignore its cheesy cover (which seems to be going for the single male market, since it has nothing to do with the story) and just absorb all the weird concepts and twists and turns PKD has to offer. It's a superb thriller, where you can't take anything for granted, and shot through with his superb humour. What other author would envision a corporate world where you have to pay a toll to use doors, and where psychic powers are so commonplace that those with telepathy are treated like common neighbourhood pests?
Above all, Ubik is very very accessible. It's not cluttered with the messed-up amphetamine-fuelled oddness of his later novels, and there's less techno babble than usual. Even if you're not into science fiction, it's well worth a look if only to show you that just because a novel is set in the future, doesn't mean it has to be full of ridiculous overblown theatrics and weird aliens.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I found this book when I was searching for "..Androids.." in my campus library- I failed to pick out Androids, so I went for Ubik, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was aware that Dick had written the novel that had become "Bladerunner", but until reading Ubik, I had no idea that he was such an influence on sci-fi (and more besides). For the Dick beginner (as I was), Ubik was an excellent, fulfilling read, and now that I've really got into Dick (impossible not to!) I can see how reading more of his stories only adds to his power, and indeed to the satisfaction for the reader. Even though I'm not huge on sci-fi, Ubik had everyting I wanted: a great plot; an absorbing vision of the future; mystery; abstraction (eg. being sued by a door!); and it's so easy to want to read it again and again. Definitely a book to build your own library around.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Literary Equivalent of Taking Acid 18 Aug. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Where to start with such a fine book? Containing so many thought provoking ideas in a frenetic style of dark often laugh out loud comedy and philosophical (refreshing inventive an original) insight. Evokes aspects of the human condition - tragedy,humour,fear,loneliness, death - though not necessarily 'love' , which in my view serves to emphasise the loneliness of the characters in PK DIck's world.

PK Dick's book is the literary equivalent of taking acid.

Insight is gained and the experience profound but what does it all mean? What is real? All answers are at the finger tips but always beyond grasp.

The style is pulpy but do not be mislead - this is deliberate. PK Dick is an incredible intellect and fully deserves recognisiton as a Science Fiction Great.

Revealing too much of the plot is a mistake and would always fail to take into account the intricacies.The book has to be 'experienced' - characters appear wooden but this adds to the 'what is real' effect. Go with the ideas, go with the trip and if you can consume in one sitting and let yourself be lost in the world. If you do you will be rewarded by a remarkable intellect and a terrific story. Keep with it.

One of PK Dick's best novels - best place to start? Not sure- maybe try the mega pack kindle edition of short stories at 34p and see if you are ready for more. UBIK though deserves 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puzzling and strange 31 Dec. 2003
Format:Paperback
For me, this is Philip K Dick as his most strange. The book covers the usual territory of peoples perceptions, what is reality, strange extra perceptory messages etc.. But in Dick's usual inventive and humorous way. I have to say it is not his most entertaining work, but at the same time it is one of his most original. I would have to say that 'A scanner darkly' covers the same territory a lot better. Having said that, this is still a good SF book, but not as accessible as some of his other work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best effort
Over hyped, muddled and unsatisfying. The premise had so much potential but didn't seem to go anywhere, I much prefer his shorter stories which have more direction and... Read more
Published 1 hour ago by Lukie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great change in direction from most books
Great change in direction from most books.visual,subtle humour with a rare insight into what it could all be like.read it
Published 1 month ago by cheswick
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Intriguing and bizarre book. Read it instead of listening to the audiobook, as that way it will seem rather confusing
Published 1 month ago by John Dee
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Dick
Probably my favourite Dick novel. Fascinating and spooky.
Published 1 month ago by Slarksov
5.0 out of 5 stars Refresh your imagination with Ubik!
"Sick of the same old Space Opera? Bored with Bug-eyed Monsters? Tired of technical tosh? You need to read Ubik! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Archy
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
In French???
Published 1 month ago by Mr. M. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Let us spray
Genius. If I told you any more I'd spoil it. Suffice to say it's another example of Dick's challenge to reality.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. David P. Cushman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a brilliant story, worthwhile reading
Published 2 months ago by AS
4.0 out of 5 stars Always follow the instructions on the label.
A wonderful story of a vision of what the future could be like even though it is now set in the past. The story keeps you on the edge of your seat as it builds to its climax.
Published 2 months ago by Crab
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Tedious
Published 2 months ago by Reader
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Michel Gondry Directing Ubik 0 19 Feb 2011
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