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First Thoughts on “Ubik”

Philip K. Dick’s Ubik is set in a world warped and regressed in ways which suggest that the inhabitants’ own time is running out. It deals with multiple and multiplicating realities. The reading can be strenuous at times as both characters and readers alike are tortured by the changing topographies of worlds.

If anyone has a coherent summary that wraps up all the conflict in the novel, I’d love to hear it, but I suspect the task is impossible. Not, I should stress, through any fault on the author’s part. This is a book that gives real meaning to the cliche “defies explanation”.

Like reality – what we see as reality, anyway – Ubik doesn’t make much coherent sense. The unease, the difficulty, the contradictions are partly the point. It’s all about the realisation that things aren’t as they seem – that everything you thought you knew is wrong.


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