Ubik was the first novel I read by Philip K. Dick (thanks to the young Dr. Kessel), and it's still my favorite. All the reality-bending metaphysical narrativity that Dick is known for is pumped up to 11 in Ubik, and the reader is left on progressively shaky feet as the book slides towards its entropic conclusion.
And so I was jazzed to see that the always-cool Subterranean Press is publishing Dick's own screenplay adaptation of the novel, which I've only heard about in rumors or reverent whispers, in August of this year. Tim Powers -- who was in Dick's inner circle, along with James Blaylock and KW Jeter -- has written a new foreword, and has this to say:
Dick included far more parenthetical description and interpretation than can be standard for screenplays, and so we have here his considered, after-the-fact portraits of Glen Runciter, Ella Runciter, Joe Chip, Pat Conley, and Ubik itself. And too, with a facility that's scarce among novelists, he smoothly adapts his story to the wider, deeper ranges of the film medium. The Ubik 'ads' are much more effective as actual intrusions than as chapter headings, the soundtrack becomes a central element (and makes us wonder what music Dick would have chosen to complement some of his other novels), and he presents the dysfunctions in time and perception even more effectively when he imagines them enacted on a movie screen. In some ways, in fact, it almost seems as though we're getting a purer version of Ubik—something closer to the original conception than the text of the novel.
As I've just inexplicably received an economic stimulus check from the US Treasury (even though, when I paid my taxes, I was informed that I didn't qualify), methinks I'll celebrate by snagging this book.