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.