Philip K. Dick

"Ubik"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark JUL 4, 1999)

Ubik by Philip K. Dick

It's interesting to read a futuristic Science Fiction novel that was written in 1969 and takes place in 1992. Normally, I would expect it to distract the story line, but instead I found it entertaining. In Ubik, Dick imagines a future in which all appliances in a conapt (condominium apartment?), even the front door, require coin deposits to function. This makes for some humorous situations for our lead character, Joe Chip, who never has a nickel to his name. Joe works for Runciter Associates as a tester of people with anti-talents. These are services offered against precogs (people who predict and manipulate the future), telepaths and various other parapsycological talents.

Runciter is run by Glen Runciter and his twenty-year old wife, Ella, who is in "half-life" status. Technically she is dead, but through means of modern technology, Glen can still talk to her and ask her advice on the business. Speaking of business, it has been poor lately, so Runciter jumps at an opportunity that will employ eleven of his best talents on the off-world of Luna. When they arrive on Luna, a bomb goes off and luckily, it seems, that only Runciter is killed. He is rushed into cold-pac and brought to the same Swiss Moratorium as his wife. Joe hopes that they act quick enough to establish communications with Runciter, or else Joe is on his own to run the business. (This is the same guy that never has a nickel...) Meanwhile there are some very strange things happening to Joe and this group of talents.

Ubik is written as a facetious story about fear of death and the number of commercial products that are marketed to our underlying fears. I couldn't help but think of Don DeLillo's White Noise a few times while reading this book. Overall, it's an interesting read and gives perspective on where we are today in our Science Fiction writing. I would go as far as to say that Dick has written a pre-virtual reality book.

  • Amazon.com reader rating: from 83 reviews

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark MAR 16, 1999)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

This book is the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner.  It was written in 1968, but is still worth the read. The movie is different enough that it is fun to read this book even if you have seen the movie several times. Or try this person's advice... I thought I ought to read at least one of his books since I always see "Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award." 

Just in case you are one of the few that has not seen Blade Runner, here's a brief (and borrowed) book summary: By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra including horses, birds, cats, sheep - and humans.

Emigrates to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard is an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job is to find rogue androids and retire them.

  • Amazon.com reader rating: from 182 reviews


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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Collected Stories:

  • The Minority Report: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Vol. 004 (1954-1964)
  • We Can Remember It for You Wholesale Vol. 5

Related Books:

E-Book Study Guide:

Movies from books:

 

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Book Marks:

 

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About the Author:

Philip K. DickPhilip K. Dick born in 1928 to Dick and Dorothy Kindred in Chicago.  As a child, his family moved to Berkeley California where he was raised.  Between the years of 1955 to 1970, Dick published an average of two paperback novels a year and than than one hundred short stories.  Dick was married five times and had three children.  He died of a stroke in 1982

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