UBIK and The Man in the High Castle-PHILIP K DICK – INSPIRATIONS ARD 514
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UBIK and The Man in the High Castle-PHILIP K DICK – INSPIRATIONS ARD 514

Ubik – a science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick. First released in 1969. The book was included in the list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1923, according to Time magazine.

The action of the novel takes place in the North American Federation, in the futuristic version of 1992, where the technology is so advanced that it allows civilians to fly to the moon, and psionic abilities are widely believed to be real. The protagonist, Joe Chip, works for the Glen Runciter corporation, which employs people with the ability to block certain paranormal powers (e.g., antipelepaths, which can stop a telepath from reading a client’s mind). Despite a high salary and a good position in the company (decides about hiring new inertia), he is indebted and unhappy. Runciter runs the corporation with his deceased wife Ella, kept in a half-life, allowing for limited communication with the world.

The term Ubik comes from the Latin word ubique, which means „everywhere,” and is the source for the English word ubiquitous, meaning being or appearing to be everywhere at the same time. This might be viewed ironically given that Ubik is a rare and highly desirable substance in the novel, but it could also indicate that Ubik is a form of life force.

Ubik also refers to the Platonic idea of ​​form, the great absolute that defines the essence of all things. As the world seemingly begins to regress in time, and with it all its objects (such as TV sets, refrigerators, and vehicles), that time becomes a periodic version of that object, so Chip notices that each one is approaching its original, simplest form.

The toilet is defined at the beginning of the last chapter of the book as follows:

I am Ubik. Before the world was, I am. I made the sun. I have created worlds. I have created living beings and the places they inhabit; I put them here and there. They go where I tell them, do what I tell them. I am the word, and my name is never spoken - a name no one knows. They call me Ubik, but that's not my name. I am. I will always be.

The Man in the High Castle – a 1962 science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, awarded the Hugo Prize in 1963. The work belongs to the genre of alternative history. Three parallel worlds intertwine in the novel: the world of Dick’s novels, the world created by the writer – Hawthorne Abendsen (the author of Utyje the Locust) – and – for a moment – our world.

The action of the novel takes place in the second half of the 20th century in an alternative world on the West Coast in the United States. After the defeat of the Second World War, this part of America found itself in the Japanese sphere of political influence. The world is ruled by the victorious Axis powers, while the representatives of the conquered nations mostly act as servants. The US is partially under German-Japanese occupation, the middle United States is a buffer zone dependent on both powers. Europe and Africa were conquered by the Reich, and the Russians (and other Slavs) pushed beyond the Caucasus. The popular (although banned in the Reich) book by Abendsen Utyje Locarańcza (in the orig. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the title comes from the book of Koheleta) presents an alternative history of the world in which the Axis countries lost (in 1948), Roosevelt did not run for the third time in the elections , Churchill still (in 1962) rules Great Britain and the US maintains trade relations with China, Chiang Kai-shek.

When writing the novel, Dick used the Chinese Yijing Book of Changes. Also the heroes of the novel – Frank, Juliana and Mr. Tagomi reach for it, making decisions. This element of the plot is the common part between the worlds, the book allows you to understand the surrounding reality. It is thanks to her that Juliana notices that she exists in an unreal world.

There is a theme of truth and falsehood in the novel, difficulties in separating them: counterfeit antiques appear, several people, appear under assumed names. The „High Castle” itself, where rumors say Abendsen lives, is just a convenient fiction. The truth can only be seen in an altered state of consciousness (sick Mr. Tagomi), and the Yijing also knows it – but only Juliana is inclined to believe that the world she lives in is not real.

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