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Ubik (1969)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,0691161,146 (4.01)151
Glen Runciter is dead. Or is he? Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out. If it hasn't already.… (more)
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» See also 151 mentions

English (99)  French (7)  Spanish (4)  Italian (3)  Dutch (1)  Hungarian (1)  German (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 99 (next | show all)
It seems to me that Dick is one of those authors who has to speak for himself. The fact that the internet is littered with forum groups trying to figure out what the ending of Ubik means attests to that.

Although back in the sixties and seventies, Dick was not the commodity he is now, nonetheless a lot of interviews exist where he does get to do just that, speak for himself. So I'm going to let him do that here.
SFR: Why do you think your books have sold so well in foreign countries, and not as well in America?

DICK: Well, the first answer that comes to mind is “Damned if I know.” Perhaps it’s the general attitude towards science fiction in European countries, accepting it as a legitimate form of literature, instead of relegating it to the ghetto, with the genre, and regarding it as sub-standard. The prejudice is not there in France, Holland, England, and Germany, and Poland that we have in this country against science fiction. The field is accepted, and it doesn’t have anything to do particularly with the quality of my writing, it has to do with the acceptance of the field of science fiction as a legitimate field. Bear in mind that many, many of the English writers wrote science fiction: Ian Foster, of course we always think of George Orwell, Huxley, and it’s just natural. It wasn’t a step down, into the gutter for them to do it, and it would be here. If Norman Mailer were to write a science fiction novel — an inter-galactic novel — I doubt if he would. Saul Bellow wrote me recently, and he said he is writing science fiction, and he of course in a very fine writer, so maybe the ghetto walls will break down here. But I think it is the fact that they have a high regard for science fiction there. And I think also one of the reasons — especially in France — is that they’re aware that it’s a field of ideas. The science fiction novel is a novel of ideas, and they’re interested in the ideas. There’s an intelligentsia in Europe among the students that appreciates the ideas. You don’t have the equivalent intelligentsia here. We just don’t have that interest in books of ideas that they have there. They appreciate the philosophical and other types of ideas in science fiction, and look forward to science fiction novels. They have a voracious appetite for them.

SFR: That would probably be the same reason, then, why science fiction books sell so well on college campuses.

DICK: Sure, yes, absolutely. I got a letter from a German editor. There are science fiction political organizations — right-wing and left-wing — there, too, that there’s no equivalent for here at all. One of them, the left-wing one, voted me a vote of solidarity, and I thought that was neat. It was something like the Workers and Peasants for Science Fiction Gameinschaft. And it was clear to me from the letter that we just have nothing like that here, a kind of political science fiction groups, where they see them in terms of the sociological and political ideas and the effects on society of the 1984 type of novel — the dystopian novel. They take those dystopian novels very seriously there, they really do. I think another thing in the fact that the American people are apolitical. The dystopian novels don’t really signify anything to the American people, because the American people are so politically naïve that the dystopian novels don’t seem significant to them, you know what I mean? They don’t have the relevance to them that they would have to the European people.

SFR: The Americans seem to get more out of things like Tolkien.

rest is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/ubik-by-philip-k-dick/ ( )
1 vote bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
It seems to me that Dick is one of those authors who has to speak for himself. The fact that the internet is littered with forum groups trying to figure out what the ending of Ubik means attests to that.

Although back in the sixties and seventies, Dick was not the commodity he is now, nonetheless a lot of interviews exist where he does get to do just that, speak for himself. So I'm going to let him do that here.
SFR: Why do you think your books have sold so well in foreign countries, and not as well in America?

DICK: Well, the first answer that comes to mind is “Damned if I know.” Perhaps it’s the general attitude towards science fiction in European countries, accepting it as a legitimate form of literature, instead of relegating it to the ghetto, with the genre, and regarding it as sub-standard. The prejudice is not there in France, Holland, England, and Germany, and Poland that we have in this country against science fiction. The field is accepted, and it doesn’t have anything to do particularly with the quality of my writing, it has to do with the acceptance of the field of science fiction as a legitimate field. Bear in mind that many, many of the English writers wrote science fiction: Ian Foster, of course we always think of George Orwell, Huxley, and it’s just natural. It wasn’t a step down, into the gutter for them to do it, and it would be here. If Norman Mailer were to write a science fiction novel — an inter-galactic novel — I doubt if he would. Saul Bellow wrote me recently, and he said he is writing science fiction, and he of course in a very fine writer, so maybe the ghetto walls will break down here. But I think it is the fact that they have a high regard for science fiction there. And I think also one of the reasons — especially in France — is that they’re aware that it’s a field of ideas. The science fiction novel is a novel of ideas, and they’re interested in the ideas. There’s an intelligentsia in Europe among the students that appreciates the ideas. You don’t have the equivalent intelligentsia here. We just don’t have that interest in books of ideas that they have there. They appreciate the philosophical and other types of ideas in science fiction, and look forward to science fiction novels. They have a voracious appetite for them.

SFR: That would probably be the same reason, then, why science fiction books sell so well on college campuses.

DICK: Sure, yes, absolutely. I got a letter from a German editor. There are science fiction political organizations — right-wing and left-wing — there, too, that there’s no equivalent for here at all. One of them, the left-wing one, voted me a vote of solidarity, and I thought that was neat. It was something like the Workers and Peasants for Science Fiction Gameinschaft. And it was clear to me from the letter that we just have nothing like that here, a kind of political science fiction groups, where they see them in terms of the sociological and political ideas and the effects on society of the 1984 type of novel — the dystopian novel. They take those dystopian novels very seriously there, they really do. I think another thing in the fact that the American people are apolitical. The dystopian novels don’t really signify anything to the American people, because the American people are so politically naïve that the dystopian novels don’t seem significant to them, you know what I mean? They don’t have the relevance to them that they would have to the European people.

SFR: The Americans seem to get more out of things like Tolkien.

rest is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/ubik-by-philip-k-dick/ ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
It seems to me that Dick is one of those authors who has to speak for himself. The fact that the internet is littered with forum groups trying to figure out what the ending of Ubik means attests to that.

Although back in the sixties and seventies, Dick was not the commodity he is now, nonetheless a lot of interviews exist where he does get to do just that, speak for himself. So I'm going to let him do that here.
SFR: Why do you think your books have sold so well in foreign countries, and not as well in America?

DICK: Well, the first answer that comes to mind is “Damned if I know.” Perhaps it’s the general attitude towards science fiction in European countries, accepting it as a legitimate form of literature, instead of relegating it to the ghetto, with the genre, and regarding it as sub-standard. The prejudice is not there in France, Holland, England, and Germany, and Poland that we have in this country against science fiction. The field is accepted, and it doesn’t have anything to do particularly with the quality of my writing, it has to do with the acceptance of the field of science fiction as a legitimate field. Bear in mind that many, many of the English writers wrote science fiction: Ian Foster, of course we always think of George Orwell, Huxley, and it’s just natural. It wasn’t a step down, into the gutter for them to do it, and it would be here. If Norman Mailer were to write a science fiction novel — an inter-galactic novel — I doubt if he would. Saul Bellow wrote me recently, and he said he is writing science fiction, and he of course in a very fine writer, so maybe the ghetto walls will break down here. But I think it is the fact that they have a high regard for science fiction there. And I think also one of the reasons — especially in France — is that they’re aware that it’s a field of ideas. The science fiction novel is a novel of ideas, and they’re interested in the ideas. There’s an intelligentsia in Europe among the students that appreciates the ideas. You don’t have the equivalent intelligentsia here. We just don’t have that interest in books of ideas that they have there. They appreciate the philosophical and other types of ideas in science fiction, and look forward to science fiction novels. They have a voracious appetite for them.

SFR: That would probably be the same reason, then, why science fiction books sell so well on college campuses.

DICK: Sure, yes, absolutely. I got a letter from a German editor. There are science fiction political organizations — right-wing and left-wing — there, too, that there’s no equivalent for here at all. One of them, the left-wing one, voted me a vote of solidarity, and I thought that was neat. It was something like the Workers and Peasants for Science Fiction Gameinschaft. And it was clear to me from the letter that we just have nothing like that here, a kind of political science fiction groups, where they see them in terms of the sociological and political ideas and the effects on society of the 1984 type of novel — the dystopian novel. They take those dystopian novels very seriously there, they really do. I think another thing in the fact that the American people are apolitical. The dystopian novels don’t really signify anything to the American people, because the American people are so politically naïve that the dystopian novels don’t seem significant to them, you know what I mean? They don’t have the relevance to them that they would have to the European people.

SFR: The Americans seem to get more out of things like Tolkien.

rest is here: https://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2019/08/12/ubik-by-philip-k-dick/ ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
When I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 5 years ago, I approached it the wrong way. That novel is full of plot holes & other inconsistencies, and while I appreciated the mood, I ended up being bothered by its mushy core. I decided to not make the same mistake for Ubik, and see if a go-with-the-flow attitude would yield another reading experience.

Being who I am, I still ended up writing down numerous inconsistencies, but indeed, they did not really bother me. Maybe that is because Ubik simply is a much better novel, I don’t know: I’d have to reread Androids, and that’s not going to happen.

A bit before I started Ubik, I read a review on Calmgrove that determined my reading experience this time. It hinted at Serious Levels of Depth, and that provided the novel with lots of my credit upfront. It made me go down another rabbit hole this time: in search for truths about life & death.

For the uninitiated: Ubik is a strange novel, in which Dick draws back the curtain numerous times, only to close it a bit later on. It involves time travel – or not?, strange temporal digressions, merged states of half-life, a conflict between two psychic mutant factions, a trip to the moon and capitalist consumerism satire. An American-made Kafka: light in calories, and with a dose of cigarettes, X-Men & half-baked religion.

(...)

Full review on Weighing A Pig ( )
  bormgans | Jun 9, 2020 |
PKD is an author with some genuinely original ideas, that have stood the test of time.

Ubik is one of those books where he uses ideas that he has developed in other stories, such as pre-cogs, and blends them with a cryogenic lab that keeps people’s minds alive. Add to that an untimely murder on a Luna station, and PKD grasps your reality in this book and flips it. Just as you think you have understood it, and are grasping time regression, he flips it again.

Some of the time you are not sure what is going on, but the ending is very clever, as he leads you to one conclusion, and then springs the unexpected on you.

I like the little adverts for the ubiquitous (Ubik get it?) substance at the beginning of every chapter; remind of the snake oil adverts of old. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick, Philip K.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bishop, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boca, LaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniels, LukeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dorémieux, AlainTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Espín, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frick, JohanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jones, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langowski, JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laux, RenateTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lem, StanislawAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moisan, ChristopherCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagetti, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podaný, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rauch, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robertson, IanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, Kim StanleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Michael MarshallIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Ich sih die liehte heide
in gruener varwe stan
dar suln wir alle gehen
die sumerzeit enpahen.

I see the sunstruck forest
In green it stands complete. 
There soon we are all going, 
The summertime to meet.
Dedication
For Tony Boucher
First words
At three-thirty A.M. on the night of June 5, 1992, the top telepath in the Sol System fell off the map in the offices of Runciter Associates in New York City.
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Haiku summary
Sick? take a UBIK

Hollister’s team are blown up

Will it all make sense?

(DarrylLundy)

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