Author: Philip K. Dick
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary from Goodreads…
Glen Runciter is dead. Or is everybody else? Someone died in an explosion orchestrated by Runciter's business competitors. And, indeed, it's the kingly Runciter whose funeral is scheduled in Des Moines. But in the meantime, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering - and sometimes scatological - messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping in ways that suggest that their own time is running out. Or already has.
Philip K. Dick's searing metaphysical comedy of death and salvation is a tour de force of panoramic menace and unfettered slapstick, in which the departed give business advice, shop for their next incarnation, and run the continual risk of dying yet again.
The Good, The Bad, and the Krazyness…
So, I’m taking a Sci-Fi literature class this semester and this was the first book on the list. I don’t know why I took the class because I really don’t read pure sci-fi stuff. But the class was titled “When Good Worlds Go Bad” so I had to give it a shot. While I can see how many people will probably love this book it just wasn’t my cup of Ubik. Perhaps it was because I didn’t use as directed like the book implies I should do.
Right at the beginning, Philip K. Dick tosses you into a brand new world with no idea what’s going on. There are many new words that you have no clue to their meaning but don’t worry, things do get explained eventually. Maybe it’s the “eventually” that got to me. Things in this book seemed to happen either too slow or too fast.
I did enjoy the plot though. After an explosion, time seems to regressing and our (anti?)hero, Joe Chip, must struggle to find out what is happening before it’s to late. It’s amusing to watch character from a technologically advance world (1992) fall back to the old days of biplanes and motorized cars.
The characters seemed a little underdeveloped and there were so many that it was hard to keep them all straight. Maybe that’s why the author almost always used their full names when referring to them. Everything was very distant and there was a lack of connection to the characters. Joe, as I’ve stated earlier, seems to be a bit of an antihero. He has a good job in a top company but he’s always broke and in debt. Though he is a bit of a slob he is loyal to his boss and is determined to figure out whats causing the world to regress. Normally this seems like a recipe for success but it fell short for me. Chip is an interesting character but, like the rest of them, felt underdeveloped.
The world is probably the most interesting thing about this book. It’s a world of psi’s and anti-psi’s. Everything costs money: opening your front door, turning on the shower, getting the news, and everything is run by automated machines with attitude, which is probably the funniest thing about this book. All in all, I won’t read it again but I can appreciate it.
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