Ubik (1969) by Phillip K. Dick

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ubikk

(Read in 40s style US radio advertisement voice)
Its that time again folks, time for the ever astounding, all amazing Book Review! Safe when used as directed…

Today’s review is on Ubik (1969) by Phillip K Dick. I’m glad I checked out the audio book. The title is pronounced you-bic. What exactly Ubik is or means is a bit of a mystery but the story is engrossing and suitably weird from the author who dreamed up such crazy sci fi as Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, Blade Runner, Total Recall and The Adjustment Bureau.

It is 1992 and the world has undergone dramatic changes over the course of 23 years. Psykers and precogs and telekenitics and every type of mental power imaginable from resurrection to floating a coin ala Looper has manifested amoung the populace to the extent that negative talents (inertials) are sought after for many reasons. The story focuses on one such firm run by Glen Runciter. The technology to freeze the dead and reestablish communication with them telepathically has also been invented and Glens wife is in ‘cold pack’ living ‘half life’

It gets pretty confusing from then on. Not to say that PKD doesn’t absolutely nail the story. The talking door is a real highlight. Classic and quirky. No, the confusing parts are where the author discusses the soul, and the afterlife and every facet of the massive mental control available to the average human being. He integrates them well but it is all a bit overwhelming.

And overwhelming does describe the overall journey you take in reading Ubik. It is a strange and obtuse universe with a palpable extra sensory aftertaste that haunts you for days. Maybe the book isn’t that sci fi after all…

tl;dr – Ubik is intense and fulfilling and should be read when no interruptions are forth coming. Prepare to ask “what the…?” and feel as dumb as you did the first time you saw Inception. You remember… Embarrassing-dumb…

4 stars.

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