Ubik (1969) by Philip K. Dick

Ubik 1Are you bored with writing yet another Philip K. Dick book review? Do you sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between PKD stories? Do you worry that everything that can possibly be said about PKD has been written already, even by PKD himself? Well fret no more! Perk up your PKD blog posts with a quick game that everybody’ll love! With PKD Bingo, you’ll make your point in the half the time, and without all those extra words. Your readers will say, ‘Christ, I used to think your SF blog was only so-so. But now, wow! With PKD Bingo, I feel like I really know Dick!’ And remember, blackout winners will receive a lifetime supply of empty aerosol cans!

Ubik-page-001 (5)

Shucks. I didn’t win blackout. But here are some notes:

  • Ubik2Ubik, as a plot device, is the ultimate in Handwavium/Unobtanium matter.
  • The “Police Precinct And/Or Jail” box very almost got stamped, but Ubik saved the day. Boo.
  • “The Wife” in this particular novel is actually very important and not annoying or naggy at all. She also isn’t the wife of the protagonist, but the wife of his boss.
  • PKD’s sense of future fashion is far off the mark, but seriously, I’m surprised skirts haven’t become popular among men yet. Pants are the worst on a hot summer day.
  • The primary religious allusion is the Biblical story of “Balshazzar’s feast.” I’m pretty proud of this one, considering my Biblical illiteracy, but when someone like PKD writes a cliche like “the writing on the wall” (129), that’s an alarm bell for me. (Then there’s the repetition of “Sixty-two years” 134, 161.)
  • That said, reading The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick will totally destroy any cracked-out religious theories you have about Ubik because nothing is as bizarre as PKD’s own hierophantic revisionism of his work.

And yes, I will be playing BINGO in lieu of a review for every PKD book I read from now on. I suspect the unstamped boxes will be especially illuminating for each work. Feel free to play along at home. And remember… it’s safe when played as directed.


Check out Ironbombs’ latest for a real review. And check out Bookpunks for the next step in the PKD Exegesis Support Group.


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32 thoughts on “Ubik (1969) by Philip K. Dick

  1. I don’t want to read a real review (sorry Ironbombs) because this is one of his books that has spent more than ten years on my list waiting to be read. And I eagerly look forward to finally picking it up and finally devouring it. Hopefully I won’t be disappointed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rabindranauth says:

    Boo, I want my money back 😀

    Lol, that bingo card says all there is to say. I have to appreciate the mindfuck, though – he honestly had me confused as to WHO was real and who was in the Matrix, lol, Runciter or his staff.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thebookgator says:

    Will you hold my hand and make sure I stay hydrated if I play?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m writing a PKD review right now 🙂 I might use it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. graycope14 says:

    Wonderful Bingo card! I’ll never play number Bingo again. For a number of reasons, which I won’t go into here, my favourite square is “What her breasts are doing.” Redirected my thoughts to Rachael Rosen in ‘Electric Sheep’. PKD seemed to be fascinated with this, but I’m only commenting on 3 novels I’m familiar with so far.

    Great summary. I totally missed the Biblical allusions. Love his future fashion sense! After yours and the Admiral’s reviews, what is there left to say?…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel Rosen’s breasts inspired that box because that scene felt unnecessarily drawn out. We’ll see if this holds up with his ’50s novels. I have a feeling these traits will be less evident.

      I’m sure there is more to say, I am just being lazy. Surely you will review, right?

      Liked by 1 person

    • antyphayes says:

      I’ve read all of his short stories and about half of his novels and comments on “what her breasts are doing” are alarmingly common. Tight sweaters are often featured too.

      Liked by 1 person


    Did you invent this Bingo card? Please tell me you invented it. If you did you win all the things. If not, you still win them for bringing it to my attention because now I have a really fun way to laugh at PKD while reading him. It will save me some eye rolling I think. Even though I love him. Just. You know.

    I think Pat counts as the annoying girlfriend though. Even though she is one of the more interesting characters, mostly we just see Chip feeling weird in her direction and what the hell was that scene where she just starts undressing in his place?

    Going to go link this up in the support group index…

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s my invention 🙂 though I’b surprised if no one has come up with at least a PKD drinking game in fifty years. I almost marked that box bc of Pat, I mean she did SAY she was his wife, but I thought someone might argue that point. Now I feel like I should have marked it… Pat was such an odd character. I did like how Mrs. Runciter kind of saved the day. Ish.

      It’s hard to say anything’s for certain in this novel.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] Posts: Reading the Introduction, Signal or Noise? Thoughts on Pages 1-75, Ubik reviewed at Battered, Tattered, Yellowed, and Creased, Ubik sort of reviewed but mostly a hilarious PKD Bingo card at From Couch to Moon. […]


  8. I think all the characters in his fiction were playing this game all along,but they couldn’t win though.It’s a far more serious game in which some baleful entity such as Palmer Eldritch is calling the balls!


  9. Widdershins says:

    ROFL … Bingo Card. Is. Brilliant!!! 😀


  10. […] reviews of Philip K. Dick’s wonderfully bizarre novel Ubik, then please check out this one by the incredible couchtomoon, or this one over here by the astounding Admiral Ironbombs. If […]


  11. jameswharris says:

    If you want to get some idea of what PKD was like when he wrote Ubik, read I Am Alive and You Are Dead by Emmanuel Carrere. This biography does a great job of explaining PKD’s state of mind when he wrote many of his famous novels. For some reason Time Magazine pick Ubik as 100 All Time Novels. http://entertainment.time.com/2005/10/16/all-time-100-novels/ – it’s not my favorite PKD novel though.


  12. […] I’m not convinced PKD himself knew how this would play out when he began writing it. As Megan’s PKD Bingo hints at, his books have a heaping mess of personal tropes that he combines with common ideas to […]


  13. Joseph Nebus says:

    Ooh, the bingo card is magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think Ragel Gumm really did play it in “Time Out of Joint”.He thought he possessed uncanny luck in “picking the balls” the “caller” picked,but was just a pawn in a sinister game he couldn’t win.No wonder reality literally faded out in front of him.

    His characters frequently played it in one way or another where the “callers” were powerful forces who manipulated them,while they also played consumerist games to amuse their miserable lives or gain power.Either way,they couldn’t succeed.

    I think you should remember this when you play your game.Have fun,but be careful!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. […] front, I started the first 75 pages of The Exegesis of PKD (2011), then stopped to rush-read Ubik (1969), because references, then returned to The Exegesis to read PKD pretty much […]


  16. pbbpb says:

    Yeah, they may not be mainstream-popular, and for good reason, but should you really wish to forego slacks on a summer day, the Utilikilt is something that exists. It’s got pockets for everything but your self-respect, which the Utilikilt itself renders unnecessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. […] Need more PKD BINGO? VALIS Radio Free Albemuth UBIK […]


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