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on 1 April 2010
The author of the novel that inspired Blade Runner has got to be a genius, and Ubik cannot be representative. If you are new to Philip K. Dick, as I was, don't begin with this book.

There is only so much that can be said, if one is to avoid spoilers. But Ubik has two plots: one about telepaths and their opponents, telepathy-blockers, a number of them working for the agency run by the novel's main protagonist, and another about cold-pack, meaning not-quite-dead people in suspended animation, still dreaming and communicating with the outside world. The first plot is pursued for about one third of the novel, then to all intents and purposes abandoned as the second one kicks in. Ubik is clunky and awkward, with hasty portrayal and often corny dialogue, perhaps reflecting the lack of direction. It is too full of red herrings and loose ends, in particular concerning Pat, the girl on the cover of this edition. I won't give up on Philip K. Dick. But this novel seems to me for established fans.
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on 26 October 2016
Written in the late 1960s, Ubik is set in the 'future' of 1992, a future we've overstepped without one sniff of dystopia.
From way back then, Dick presents us with an analogue dreamworld that we can still enjoy in a digital age.
Despite mention of videotape and typewriters, it still feels futuristic.

So how to explain this quizzical space oddity?
I would bill it as a Truman Show-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-Barbarella-type of sci-fi, dressed in a groovy wardrobe of clothes that would make even Austin Powers seem sartorially conservative.

The anti-hero of the piece is sullen Joe Chip, a chap who is worn down by a futureworld of talking appliances and argumentative doors (frustrating for him, but completely hilarious for us).
Joe falls under the spell of a Lara Croft-esque mind control babe, Patricia Conley.
They, and their Magnificent Eleven parapsychological team of individuals are conscripted for an audacious project.

Without giving anything away, what ensues is a Memento-style mindfrig that will have you second-guessing everything.

The author writes in an idiosyncratically surreal way: he invents words and (deliberately?) misapplies adjectives to achieve an avant-garde effect. In addition, Dick uses near-synonyms of better-suited verbs in his bid to create additional quirkiness.

There is of course a cautionary message: he has presciently foreseen a future where automation hijacks our civilisation. Think about it; one minute we're scanning our own blasted shopping at crummy self-service checkouts, and the next thing you know we'll be held to ransom under the tyranny of obdurate machines and talking refrigerators!

I am delighted to join the fan base of this capricious nonsense. It is altogether bizarre, thought-provoking, visionary and hugely funny.
Ubik is the work of a mad genius - and it has immediately gatecrashed my favourites list.
The ending is as enigmatic as its beginning and is open to any number of interpretations.
Here, for sure, the journey is get-down-boogiewoogie-fabulous. The final destination is partly left to our own imagination.

As a special treat to myself, I'm off to get me some gold lamé trousers, a pair of Spandex bloomers, some pink yakfur slippers and I'm hitting the town!
Yeah baby, yeah!!
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on 14 January 2013
This was the first book I purchased for my Kindle, and the second PKD book, (the first being Andriods). Reading on the Kindle was a little awkward, even on the smallest font, there are to many gaps. Sometimes as little as a dozen lines on a page and it ruins the pacing :/.

I had the same experiance with Palmer Eldritch, another good PKD book, that I would also recommend. But I bought this in paperback and loved it 10x more :). The language is diverse, and as an aspiring writer it's great for expanding ones vocabulary. It flows much better in regular paperback.

To be honest I was confused by a couple of things, but they were not critical to the whole plot, and certain characters are mentioned once or twice, and you never hear about them. But it doesn't matter becaue the characters that are involved primarily, are the ones you are giving your full attention.

The twist at the end is great, and the thoughts of PKD that are poured onto the page are just profound, though I will admit I only noticed it more during my second read.

So overall it's great and even the bad layout of the Kindle was not enough to break me away from the flow, but paperback . . . all the way. I don't have problems with a kindle by the way, other novels are laid out just fine, absent of constant spaces.

Kindle version: 8/10

Paperback: 10/10
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on 10 December 2013
A society where the dead aren't always completely dead and people with gifts of the ESP variety are commercially employed to either engage in or thwart industrial or economic espionage. A mixed group of these recruits meet with a disastrous event while deployed on the moon and subsequently find themselves, one by one falling prey to some kind of retro time slip. By the time you realise that your mind has been bent a little out of shape, it will be too late. I like P K Dick and began innocently reading, enjoying the ideas; even liking the fact that the vision of future technology is framed by the available technology of Dick's present. Then I got to the end and realised I would be prone to intermittent interruptions of thought by the disturbing implications of the final pages for some time! You really don't know what's going on, then you think you do, then Dick metaphorically slaps you upside the head and you're not sure at all. Ever wondered at which end of the rabbit hole you really were? Or is that just me? Suffice to say, I'll be re-reading it
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 June 2014
As most readers are likely to start with Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (Gollancz) when it comes to the author's science fiction, 'Ubik' will possibly not come as a complete surprise. That is not to say that it is inherently worse or so similar that reading is only for the dedicated fans - but it may also not have the same effect you would have when reading 'Do Androids...' for the first time.

The book is very indicative of the period, when it was written, where exploring alternate social structures and hypotheses on future societal organization was more important in science fiction than a space based action filled narrative. In this way Ubik is certainly an interesting read, with lots of potentially possible alternatives explored (to their logical conclusion, something the inventors are sometimes loath to do) and with a suitably deadpan humor to boot.

If you liked previous Dick work, or have enjoyed your Heinlein, you cannot really go wrong with Ubik. If you are more looking for a techno thriller in your sci-fi, the book is most likely not it, though.
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on 3 March 2011
such haunting ideas, layers of meaning - not the best writing style but after a while the mental images take over.
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on 24 June 2013
I am not a great fan of Philip K Dick, however this was a truly enjoyable read. The one thing i would say about the book is at no point did i actually care about the characters, but this did not distract too much from a very interesting book.
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on 30 October 2016
This year I have been attempting to either revisit some old classics or try to find some more.

I have reread "84" and "Animal Farm", I have found "At War with the Newts" and others, but this book stands out.

I have only read one other PKD book (Man in the High Castle) and it was good, but nothing like this.

I hold George Orwell as the benchmark for written excellence but reading this makes me want to read more PKD and challenge my opinion.

I have researched this book a little after completion, and I understand the challenge of making this, and other PKD books into film... but I would love to see this on the big screen.

If this genre is for you thwn I 100% recommend this book.

Enjoy, I'm sure you will.
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on 9 August 2016
I've read several PKD books to date, and I thought this was the worst one so far. It's very average and unlike his other books it didn't grip my attention. I found it nowhere near as entertaining or humorous as his other books. It is considered by critics as one of his best but I really can't agree with them.
The premise is once again about differing perceptions of reality (a common PKD theme) and it is cleverly constructed, albeit in a somewhat lukewarm and lackluster way. The story ends suspended in limbo, leaving the reader with no idea of what is likely to happen in the aftermath; so there's no closure to the story.
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on 2 August 2013
A somewhat different book but really worth reading for those who do like thing a little different. Would recommend it for a good read
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