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I had a whole lot of fun with Ubik. It’s not very often that you get to read a book set in the future that is in our own past; how did the author think things would have been by then?
As I read Ubik I thought of my own childhood and the reruns of The Jetsons. Ubik and The Jetsons both date from the 1960s, technology was moving faster than people could imagine: you could watch a quartet of mop-tops from the UK perform in New York City from the comfort of your chesterfield in Illinois, we put a man on the frickin’ moon. There wasn’t anything we couldn’t accomplish!
It is shocking to see how peoples’ vision of the future differed from the reality of what actually happened. Spaceflight is still something only for a select groups of governments – or perhaps the ultra-rich. It’s hard to imagine a colony on Mars, when a robot breaks an axel and is useless. We are far from where they imagined we would be.
Dick’s story, while dated, was fun. The characters were interesting, the plot was out there. Above all else Ubik is still entertaining. Was that Dick’s intention? I think he wanted a bit more, unfortunately, the novelty of his vision of the future versus my reality of the past took center stage.
I loved the Ubik advertisements at the beginning of each chapter: as long as they are used only as directed.