22 Dec 2015

Category: book

Tags: book, fiction, okay, scifi

Philip K. Dick is widely regarded as one of the top tier science fiction writers of all time. At the same time, he seems to have a bit of bimodal influence on people: either you love him or you do not understand what the hype is all about. I guess I should not have said that and then followed it up with the fact that I am somewhere inbetween these two extremes. I thought Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep? was quite good, but I think Ubik is only okay. I wouldn't go out of my way to read this particular story by PKD, but I also would not call it bad by any stretch of the imagination. Ubik was definitely unique, funny, thought-provoking, and exciting.

Most science fiction writing that is considered good is considered as such because of the ideas not the writing per se. Sometimes I come across a book that is supposed to be classic in the genre, but I feel like that moniker was given only because of the novelty rather than the prose. The small sample of PKD that I have read so far leads me to believe that he his writing can be top notch along with the novelty of his ideas, however it is not always so. I felt that Ubik had moments of quality writing, but overall it lacked a certain flow due to poor pacing and an odd style. I am pretty sure it was intentially confusing, that was part of the story, but beyond that it was still not that great of writing.

I would recommend this book to any science fiction fan, but I would caution you not to judge PKD solely by this work. I have yet to read a lot of his stuff, but my understanding is that this is not on the top of his totem pole. That being said, it is more of a short story than a novel, so you would not be hard pressed to grind this out in a day or two.

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