Ubik: the Screenplay, by Philip K. Dick

I had never read anything by Philip K. Dick prior to this work, look and it isn’t even actually a novel. In any case, Mr. Dick was a major force in the science fiction field prior to his death in 1982; several of his novels have been made into major motion pictures. These include Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and Total Recall, as well as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which most of us know as Blade Runner. Apparently a lot of his stuff is strange, and one reason for that was his experiences with drugs and his fascination with metaphysics and the paranormal. Above all, though, he was a storyteller; he won several awards for his writing, including the Hugo Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. This screenplay was first published twenty years ago; Subterranean Press will be releasing a new edition in August of this year.

This screenplay was based on his 1969 novel of the same title. It concerns a man named Joe Chip, who is employed by a man named Glen Runciter. Runciter’s corporation uses people with peculiar psionic talents that mostly block the invasive talents as a security system for big companies. For example, the people from Runciter’s company can block telepaths from stealing company secrets. Joe works the machines to make sure that the employees of the company are actually accomplishing something. However, something awful happens, and there’s an explosion. Glen Runciter dies, and then Joe’s world starts falling apart — literally. The cigarettes are all stale; the cream is rancid and moldy; parts are falling off of things. Then the objects start regressing — cars turn into older versions; televisions turn into radios. What on earth is going on? And what is this Ubik product? Continue reading Ubik: the Screenplay, by Philip K. Dick