In the future world of 1992 and psychic spies, typical businessman Glen Runciter runs a business based on anti-psychics – people who can block normal psychic powers. After consulting with his dead (half-life) wife in cryogenic stasis, Runciter assembles a team to check on one of his lunar facilities, which includes technician Joe Chip, who can barely afford to pay his apartment door to leave his home, and Pat Conley, who becomes uncomfortably involved with Joe in an extremely short time-frame due to her ability to change the past.
During the lunar inspection, a bomb explodes, presumably planted by a rival company, and a near-dead Runciter is rushed back to Earth by the team to be placed in half-life with his wife. The surviving members of the team begin experiencing small shifts in reality, first when food spoils and kitchen appliances regress to previous models, and later when time itself deteriorates backwards, finally settling in what appears to be 1939. All the while, advertisements for Ubik are everywhere, including chapter preludes for the reader. The multi-purpose wonder product works perfectly when used as directed.
Ubik is a fantastic example of the best reality-bending worlds of Phillip K. Dick. The uncanny ability to erode reality out from under the readers’ feet makes for a thought-provoking reading experience that extends beyond the end of the book. This cerebral suspenseful mystery scifi is a must for PKD fans, and well worth a pickup for anyone interested in entering the strange and often confusing realities that can only be created by an exceptional scifi master.
“Friends, this is clean-up time and we’re discounting all our silent, electric Ubiks by this much money. Yes, we’re throwing away the blue-book. And remember: every Ubik on our lot has been used only as directed.”