Ubik by Philip K. Dick

A few months back I picked up a first edition hardcover of Philip K. Dick’s Ubik for 50 cents. I finally read it, yesterday. It is typical, full of mind-bending Dickisms, so worth a read. Spoilers past the hoo-ha.

Okay, so it starts off full of telepaths, precogs, telekineticists, you name it. There is some sort of competition between those folks and their antitheses, folks who nullify their powers. A bomb goes off and a talented group of people find themselves in a world that is slowly regressing into the past, it stabilizes at about 1939. Then they start dying off, horrible, withering, inertial deaths. It turns out they are all in half-life, a sort of cryogenic existence that enables real live folks to talk to them every once in awhile. Another half-lifer is eating their souls, This weird substance calle Ubik can save them for a period of time. Meanwhile in the real world their boss is trying to get them all in a safe place. But even at the end you’re not sure if the boss is even alive or not.

The book is totally chaotic, and while not Dick at his most original, it is definitely him at his most deft.