5 stars. Thoroughly disorienting, bizarre, and familiar at the same time, Ubik weaves a thoughtful tale. In Philip K. Dick’s alternate 1992, perception is reality, but if perception is faulty, then reality must be as well. His vision of the future is one of horror of the distorted familiar, yet never loses the innate humor of modern culture; no matter how bizarre, his world is the logical caricature of our own. We can laugh at the idea of a coin-operated doorway, but there’s a little voice inside hoping that the idea never becomes reality!
The plot is metaphysical: psychic talents, employed by “prudence organizations” to maintain clients’ privacy, are subject to an attack and struggle to keep the company’s founder alive. At the same time, the world seems intent on sliding back into 1939. Those who are separated from the group are found dessicated. And their only hope is a product called Ubik, whose virtues and uses are hilariously touted at the beginning of each chapter.
Dick’s imagination as an author defies description, yet touches the primal chords of culture and life. Ubik is a book to be read many times, probably my favorite of this master of science fiction.