Hello. I have finished "Ubik" just a few minutes ago. And I`m lost. I don`t know what I have read. I mean this book is great. Philip Dick knows how to tell a good story. But this was something that I can`t explain. At first I thought that this will be an ordinary sci-fi book. With a plot, which I should understand after a few pages. But it twists. I thought that I will read about an adventure in the future with people who had psychic powers. (that`s what the beginning is all about) But it suddenly changes to a little bit too dark story in some kind of a past time. And at the end, when everything became somehow clear. When only two pages were left. A hit in the lower stomach. Another twist. And after those few words at the end of the story I got really confused. I thought I understood what was going on through the whole story. But at the end I don`t really know what happened. And who even was the "main" character... Spoiler: Who was dead? Who was alive?
So, if you`ve read it, I would like to hear your opinion on the whole thing. If you haven`t read it, I highly recommend you to read it. (and then to tell me your thoughts)
Well, you're forgetting one key thing:
Philip K. Dick was out of his fucking mind. Nothing he writes makes sense. I mean, occasionally it does, but most of the time? Nope.
Well, didn`t know that he was like that. I`ve read his "Second Variety" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?". Both are pretty good. Yes, they are strange, but they do have logic in them. They both have a beginning, main part and ending, which are connected and make sense in the end. The stories have a clear finish. But "Ubik" is different. If you delete the last chapter, the whole story is making perfect sense. The team is dead. Runciter is alive. And Chip continues his fight in the half-life. But the last chapter. The last few words bring the confusion in. Why did Runciter see Chip on the money? After that my mind started making theories and had a short circuit.
You may find this quote from Philip's Ex wife helpful
Dick's former wife Tessa remarked that "Ubik is a metaphor for God. Ubik is all-powerful and all-knowing, and Ubik is everywhere. The spray can is only a form that Ubik takes to make it easy for people to understand it and use it. It is not the substance inside the can that helps them, but rather their faith in the promise that it will help them." She also interpreted the ending by writing, "Many readers have puzzled over the ending of Ubik, when Glen Runciter finds a Joe Chip coin in his pocket. What does it mean? Is Runciter dead? Are Joe Chip and the others alive? Actually, this is meant to tell you that we can't be sure of anything in the world that we call 'reality.' It is possible that they are all dead and in cold pac or that the half-life world can affect the full-life world. It is also possible that they are all alive and dreaming." It is altogether possible to take Glen Runciter's convictions that he himself is alive and that the others are in half-life at face value, given Joe Chip's ruminations on the organic values of his own world's pseudo-reality at the end of the penultimate chapter. The reinforcement of this limbo state's 'reality' by repeated use of Ubik, as well as its prolongment via widespread half-life, could allow it to cross over into true reality by being set up as its parallel: just as Glen Runciter was able to impose his presence on half-life by repeated contact with Joe. Part of the confusion of interpretation is down to the mystery concerning the means of survival and escape of Glen Runciter following the explosion on the moon
I'm a fan of Philip K Dick as well but sometimes he's a little beyond me. My take is that the team were the ones in Half-Life but they didn't know it so reality was warped for them.
Thank you for the quotes. These are very interesting thoughts. I thought about some of them but haven`t managed to choose one. I`m just torn apart by two possibilities and can`t decide which one is "right".
1 - Everyone is dead. But Glen has a stronger "mind/soul" and his Half-Life reality is not so warped. Because of this he even thinks that he is alive and can somehow save the "minds/souls" of his team in the Half-Life
2 - Only the team is dead, but somehow the changed/warped reality in the Half-Life "leaked" into the real reality. And that`s why Runciter saw the Chip coin.
P.S. One more thing. Can you please recommend me some of his works?
Well I see you've already read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep which is my favorite of Dick's but here are some of his others that I really liked.
A Scanner Darkly
Man In The High Castle
We Can Remember it For You Wholesale
The Divine Invasion
Those should give you a good start.
Okay, thank you very much for the recommendations.