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Ubik

Written by: Philip K. Dick
Narrated by: Luke Daniels
Length: 7 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A mind-bending, classic Philip K. Dick novel about the perception of reality.

Named as one of Time's 100 best books.

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business - deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in "half-life," a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter's face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

©1969 Philip K. Dick (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What the critics say

"From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you'll never be sure you've woken up from." (Lev Grossman, Time)
"More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo." (Roberto Bolaño)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Reality Bending

Well, this one's a mindfreak. Of course, if you're familiar with Dick's _oeuvre_, you have a grip on what to expect, but Ubik is (arguably) his pinnacle. Be ready to have your perceptions challenged.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Stellar performance of a great book.

I loved it and was surprised that it ended so soon. It's a great story and I would like to hear more from Mr. Dick.

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  • Steve
  • 2016-07-10

A great performance of an SF classic

What made the experience of listening to Ubik the most enjoyable?

I first read UBIK nearly thirty years ago, and while I remembered a lot of the plot (including the final reveal), what I didn't remember (or hadn't noticed) is how well constructed the novel was. Dick took great pains to "play fair" and leave enough bread crumbs to figure out what was going on if you paid attention. I was also interested in how "dated" the technological references might seem, since UBIK takes place in a 1996 with a Lunar Colony established (and others implied); there are a few moments in which the tech references show their age, but they don't detract.

What other book might you compare Ubik to and why?

In some ways this novel seems to have been a response (or even a commentary) on Kornbluth and Pohl's "The Space Merchants," while also involving some stylistic similarities to Bester's "The Stars My Destination" and Fritz Lieber's short story "Coming Attraction." But that's probably only me; UBIK is a legit, one of a kind original.

Which scene was your favorite?

The first time that Pat uses her power to change the past with Joe Chip and his boss Runciter.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I don't have seven-hour sittings available, but it did well in big chunks of an hour or so at a time while I was driving.

Any additional comments?

Luke Daniels' narration is a real plus, and made the character of Al much more central in my listening than he was way back when I read the novel the first time. I thought he also caught the sadistic/playful nuances in the character Pat much better than I would have imagined. But, then, Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators.

41 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-03-17

Holy sh*t

Was listening to this book on a trip from California and let me tell you it is one of the most nail biting adventures I have ever listen. to Philip K Dick is a master at suspense and deception a must read. Just wait to the ending it's worth the whole ride

47 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew Kennedy
  • 2016-11-24

Incredible voice acting

This story is classic Philip K Dick. Definitely Philip K Dick at his weirdest. The voice acting in this performance is some of the best I have ever heard. The number of voices and characters in his repertoire is incredible. The wide variety of voices was particularly suitable for this story and it's whimsical, esoteric, and quirky details. This book is worth listening to for the voice acting alone, even though the story is a bit on the odd side.

45 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Ishida
  • 2017-07-15

Confusing

Just like the characters were unsure about what's happening to them, I was confused listening. Unlike a murder mystery or something of that sort, they were in a sci-fi then parallel world of people with varying/unknown skills and I had trouble keeping up. The last few chapter where everything was being explained was interesting.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Dublin, Ohio
  • 2016-06-12

Fantastic Performance

I read this book 24 years ago as a teenager. I grew up a Philip K Dick fan and truly loved this book. I hadn't read it since until recently, when audible offered it on sale, I thought it would be fun to listen to.

Wow! The narration of Luke Daniels makes this book so much fun to hear performed. Daniels brings the different characters to life with cleverly rendered voices. The book is as playful as it is mind-blowing.

I wish Philip K Dick were still around to hear his own work performed like this. I bet he would have loved it.

49 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • Sensible Shopper
  • 2017-07-01

I Wanted to Like It

This is one of those books that is either genius or well... not genius. Maybe I am just not smart enough to "get" it. I can admit that, no harm. In the beginning I wanted to like it, hell by the middle I just wanted to understand it. By the end I figured I must have somehow missed an important bit of narration that was the necessary key to unlocking the meaning of the book. It was confusing, emotionally fragmented and just downright baffling. I would give you a short synopsis of the story, but I never did figure out what the story was. Don't get me wrong... there were moments of sheer brilliance, glimpses of shining insight and a breath of deep and profound vision. And then, I was just back to being confused. Can't recommend this one.

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Alan
  • PLANO, TX, United States
  • 2016-08-29

I liked it, but I haven't figured everything out..

I liked the story, but it was very confusing as to why certain things were happening, and when it ended I thought it was rather abrupt and didn't understand. I used to enjoy sci-fi quite a bit in my younger days, maybe age has dulled my abilities to figure stuff like this out... Anyway, it was entertaining and engaging, but to my ears an old fashioned sci-fi novel. Its primary goal is to make you think, entertainment is just a by- product.

30 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Nothing really matters
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2016-07-21

Confusing. Convoluted. Too clever.

Ubik makes it onto some lists of recommended sci-fi novels so I was keen to finally read it. I enjoyed the beginning and was looking forward to a good sci-fi yarn. Despite the promising beginning the story just kept getting more and more and then even more convoluted.

Things hadn't cleared up significantly by the end, though I still had high hopes. Unfortunately, I found the ending was as mystifying as it was unsatisfying. I'm not a fan of deep and meaningful endings.

If you love high brow sci-fi you may like this book. Personally, I value a satisfying and engaging story over literary panache. If you are like-minded, you may want to consider giving this book a pass.

Luke Daniels does a fine job narrating, though.

35 of 42 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • T. McCloskey
  • 2017-02-15

Unfinished themes

Would you try another book from Philip K. Dick and/or Luke Daniels?

They are both very talented, I have never been disappointed with Luke Daniels, Iron Druid, Marko Kloos stories, and many more. PKD improved with time and his short stories seem more fleshed out.

Any additional comments?

This book started with some interest and humor. but by midway through it seemed to wander and ended rather abruptly leaving the reader to either do some serious linking of ideas or simply saying meh. I chose the latter.

35 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Staria Clark
  • NASHVILLE, TN
  • 2017-06-29

I tried...

I kept waiting for it to get better but I found it to a crappy story.

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • 2019-04-18

Great classic SF story, excellent interpretation

Great classic SF story, well-written and entreintaining as expected with PK Dick.
I was surprised for the excellent performance of the reader. Probably the best I have heard with a large number of characters very well interpreted. I was bluffed.