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Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick

Time Out of Joint (original 1959; edition 1987)

by Philip K. Dick

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1,606184,528 (3.73)31
Title:Time Out of Joint
Authors:Philip K. Dick
Info:Carroll & Graf Pub (1987), Reprint, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Time Travel
Tags:science fiction, time travel, pkd, second copy

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Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick (1959)



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
It is always fascinating to see how a writer from the 1950's imagines the future, and it's weird to read such a story from the perspective of 2016. There is a beautiful portrait of the carefree suburban '50s USA. (the place the conservatives always want to take us back to). But hovering over this utopia is a sense of unease and disquiet which is masterfully drawn out by the writer. The story, about a world that is not what it seems, is a favourite theme of PK Dick, and it has inspired many similar films and books since. This one is the original, and it's a true classic. ( )
  Estramir | Oct 2, 2016 |
As the novel opens, its protagonist Ragle Gumm believes that he lives in the year 1959 in a quiet American suburb. His unusual profession consists of repeatedly winning the cash prize in a local newspaper competition called, "Where will the little green man be next?". Gumm's 1959 has some differences from ours: the Tucker car is in production, and Uncle Tom's Cabin was recently written. As the novel opens, strange things begin to happen to Gumm. A soft-drink stand disappears, replaced by a small slip of paper with the words "Soft-Drink Stand" written on it. Pieces of our 1959 turn up: an article on Marilyn Monroe (who didn't exist in their world), and radios (which had been abandoned at the dawn of television). People with no apparent connection to Gumm mention him by name, including military aircraft pilots. Few other characters notice these or experience similar anomalies; the sole exception is Gumm's supposed brother-in-law, Victor "Vic" Nielson, in whom he confides. A neighbor woman, Mrs. Keitelbein, invites him to a civil defense class where he sees a model of a strange military factory. He has the odd feeling he's been in that building before.

Confusion gradually mounts for Gumm. His neighbor Bill Black, observing this, starts worrying: "Suppose Ragle is becoming sane again?" In fact, Gumm does become sane, and the deception surrounding him (erected to protect and exploit him) begins to unravel.

Gumm tries to escape the town and is turned back by kafkaesque obstructions. He sees a magazine with himself on the cover, in a military uniform, at the factory depicted in the model. He tries a second time to escape, this time with Vic, and succeeds. He learns that his idyllic town is a constructed reality designed to protect him from the frightening fact that he lives on a then-future Earth (circa 1998) that is at war with its colonists on the Moon, who are fighting for independence. Gumm has a unique ability to predict where the colonists' nuclear strikes will be aimed. Previously Gumm did this work for the military, but then he defected to the colonists' side and planned to secretly emigrate to the moon. He was captured, his memory erased, and the fake town created so he would continue predicting missiles in the guise of a newspaper contest, without moral qualms about being on the wrong side.

When Gumm realizes his true history, he decides to emigrate to the Moon after all, because yearning to explore and migrate is an innate human tendency. Vic rejects this belief, and returns to the town. The book ends with hope for peace, because the colonists are more willing to negotiate than the Earth government has been telling its citizens.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Time Out of Joint is an early work of sci-fi by one of the undisputed masters of the genre, Philip K. Dick. Like some of his later works such as [b:The Man in the High Castle|216363|The Man in the High Castle|Philip K. Dick|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347388495s/216363.jpg|2398287] and [b:Ubik|22590|Ubik|Philip K. Dick|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327995569s/22590.jpg|62929], Time Out of Joint is concerned with the nature of reality and how much one can truly know it.

The central character lives in an idyllic suburban town, which itself is Dick's satire on the materialistic and escapist suburbs of 1950s California, but ultimately finds out that things are not as they seem. Without too many more spoilers, Dick expertly crafts a tense and paranoid atmosphere, sowing doubt up until the final reveal.

An excellent work on constructed realities that predates many others (most notably The Truman Show), this showcases Dick at his best. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Un libro della fine degli anni '50 e, come spesso accade con Dick, attualissimo. E' innegabile che da questo romanzo siano state tratte idee per molti romanzi e film successivi (Truman Show è l'esempio più eclatante), ed è il libro migliore per cominciare la lettura di questo autore, sia per le ovvie ragioni cronologiche, sia perché racchiude già buona parte dei suoi temi più cari (la percezione soggettiva della realtà, la fallibilità dei ricordi, cosa determini la propria identità...). Una stella in meno per via del finale, troppo sbrigativo e onestamente debole (dove per esempio un dilemma morale che è al centro dell'ultima parte del romanzo viene risolto all'improvviso in maniera per niente soddisfacente). ( )
  Marco_Soldo | Jul 9, 2013 |
Hallucinations. Yes, he thought. Insane. Infantile and lunatic. What am I doing, sitting here? Daydreams, at best. Fantasies about rocket ships shooting by overhead, armies and conspiracies. Paranoia.
A paranoiac psychosis. Imagining that I'm the center of a vast effort by millions of men and women, involving billions of dollars and infinite work . . . a universe revolving around me. Every molecule acting with me in mind. An outward radiation of importance . . . to the stars. Ragle Gumm the object of the whole cosmic process, from the inception to final entropy. All matter and spirit, in order to wheel about me.

Many of Philip K. Dick's books concern paranoia about the nature of reality, and in "Time Out of Joint", both Ragle Gumm and his brother-in-law Vic, start to have grave concerns about their lives. Ragle becomes paranoid because that everyone seems to know who he is, due to his fame as the long-term winner of a newspaper contest called Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next? and when he starts to hallucinate that objects disappear and are replaced by strips of paper with the name of the object written on them, he fears that he is insane, since the paper strips seem too be real and he keeps a collection of them in a box. Vic starts to wonder when he has a strange experience with a bathroom light cord that doesn't exist and later has an odd experience on a bus when self-hypnosis lets him see the truth behind the illusion. Thin support struts, the skeleton of the bus. Metal girders, an empty hollow box. No other seats. Only a strip, a length of planking, on which upright featureless shapes like scarecrows had been propped.

My first clue that this not our world's 1950s America came with the discussion about radio stations all going off the air once television came in, but there may have been earlier clues that Americans or people who remember the 1950s would catch. That reminds me of a big plot hole; at the end Ragle suggests that the significance of Sammy's crystal set was overlooked because the person who should have seen it as a threat was distracted by playing poker and didn't remember that radios were not allowed. But I looked back at that scene and the crystal set wasn't just present in the room, as Sammy put it on the table next to the poker strips and the adults were all involved in a conversation about what Sammy might be able to pick up on it since no radio stations were still broadcasting.

All in all, it was a more straightforward story than the author's more famous later works, and I felt that the ending was too simple and fell short, but I enjoyed working out what was really going on, as the story progressed and my original thoughts about alternate histories and time travel were proved wrong. ( )
2 vote isabelx | Apr 14, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beekman, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colmer, RoyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pék, ZoltánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rebora, PinucciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stathis, LouAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stimpson, TomCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From the cold-storage locker at the rear of the store, Victor Nielson wheeled the cart of winter potatoes to the vegetable section of the produce department.
Da câmara frigorífica na traseira da loja, Victor Nielsen rodou um carro de batata nova para a secção de hortaliças do departamento de produtos.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037571927X, Paperback)

Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world’s long-standing champion of newspaper puzzle contests. It is only after a series of troubling hallucinations that he begins to suspect otherwise. And once he pursues his suspicions, he begins to see how he is the center of a universe gone terribly awry.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"Marvelous, terrifying fun, especially if you've ever suspected that the world is an unreal construct built solely to keep you from knowing who you really are. Which it is, of course."--Rolling Stone Ragle Gumm has a unique job: every day he wins a newspaper contest. And when he isn't consulting his charts and tables, he enjoys his life in a small town in 1959. At least, that's what he thinks. But then strange things start happening. He finds a phone book where all the numbers have been disconnected, and a magazine article about a famous starlet he's never heard of named Marilyn Monroe. Plus, everyday objects are beginning to disappear and are replaced by strips of paper with words written on them like "bowl of flowers" and "soft drink stand." When Ragle skips town to try to find the cause of these bizarre occurrences, his discovery could make him question everything he has ever known.… (more)

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