Philip K. Dick, ‘SF’s premier visionary’ (Vox), gives us Platonic reality in a spray-can in this fabulously funny and spectacularly weird story of Joe Chip and the ubiquitous UBIK.
Glen Runciter runs the largest Prudence organization in the world. He employs forty or so anti-psi operatives, that is, people with the power to neutralize the various and dangerous psychic powers manifest in the late twentieth century. His chief scout is Joe Chip, a hopelessly shambolic but intuitively gifted reader of souls. He would be quite right, for instance, about the evil lurking in Pat Conley, precog neutralizer, only Pat’s talent keeps shifting Joe into timelines that confuse him. Being anti-precog, the only one known, history is hers for the making.
Worse, if that’s possible, she’s not in fact alone in the space (or time) between realities: a very nasty little boy is busy eating the half-lives of the cryogenically stored and will soon invade… if not the real world, what passes for it.
Joe Chip must solve the murder of Runciter, the disintegration of Wendy, the girl he loves, and foil the dastardly plot by psi corporations to eliminate Prudence.
It’s a race against devolving time with the aid of doubly impossible messages – from Runciter, who is dead, and found in match books and soap wrappers bought off store shelves. He devolves almost back to a time before flight was invented before there’s any resolution, and then, surprise, it is not the solution he had hoped for. It’s all UBIK.