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.