Ubik [Page 107]



Joe Chip leaned back in the boss chair and thought about what had just happened. Was it possible? Him, a resonator repairman, CEO of the whole company?

On his desk was a note from Pat Conley:

‘Hey Joe, I just want to let you know that, even though I haven’t done much in the first 106 pages, I plan to use my power in a big way starting from now. If anything bad happens to you, if anything dramatic comes along then I’ll just skip back to the past and make sure it doesn’t. Cool?


Joe re-read the note and smiled. Everything was going great all of a sudden. But what about Runciter? Was he still on the phone line? Would he want his office back?

He picked up the phone and heard static. Runciter was gone. Great. Well, not great, but okay. Runciter was a good guy, but it’s not like he was the most amazing person who’d ever lived.

Give it a year, thought Joe. Then I’ll be the new Runciter.

The door opened and the wisp-form of Wendy Wright appeared.

“Wendy! You’re alive!” shouted Joe, shuffling off the repairman jacket.

“I hope so.”

“But…last night…you looked like…”

“A mummy? Yes, I noticed that too. Suppose it was…entropy?”

“Yeah, entr-…” Joe paused. “You wanna have sex?”

“With you?”

Joe stood up and started taking off his belt. He wasn’t usually this forward but the pink vibes from his newly-fixed resonator were telling him things might just go his way.

Continue reading

The First 106 Pages Of Ubik


There was once a theory put forward by cultural theorist Skadoj Capper [1871-1812], that all you needed to read of a book was were the first 106 pages. What happened on page 107, unimportant. All other pages, including the ending, unimportant. Most disagreed, but Capper stayed adamant. The only thing that annoyed him was a book less than 106 pages long. Like Automatic Assassin. Or The Brothers Kolinski. These books he would not read.


Ubik [106 pages]


1. Joe Chip is introduced in the third chapter, struggling to enter his own apartment. Why the third chapter? Is he not the main character? Yes, but the world must be accounted for first. Then emetised.

World > characters

2. The old Fitzgerald trick is utilised in Chapter Two – instead of following Runciter from the end of Chapter One into the beginning of the next chapter, we are put into the headspace of the moratorium mausoleum owner, who thinks about irrelevant things for two pages before Runciter re-invades the narrative. Then we switch back to that mind. Why?

 – it establishes a world separate from the main characters’ world
 – it gives Runciter a chance to take a break from the narrative
 – it suggests time follows its own track, not the characters
 – the mausoleum owner has no reason to exist as an ‘investigated individual’ in this world so, following the theme of the text, he must exist in that exact way.

Continue reading