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Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world’s long-standing cham Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world’s long-standing champion of newspaper puzzle contests. It is only after a series of troubling hallucinations that he begins to suspect otherwise. And once he pursues his suspicions, he begins to see how he is the center of a universe gone terribly awry.


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Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world’s long-standing cham Time Out of Joint is Philip K. Dick’s classic depiction of the disorienting disparity between the world as we think it is and the world as it actually is. The year is 1998, although Ragle Gumm doesn’t know that. He thinks it’s 1959. He also thinks that he served in World War II, that he lives in a quiet little community, and that he really is the world’s long-standing champion of newspaper puzzle contests. It is only after a series of troubling hallucinations that he begins to suspect otherwise. And once he pursues his suspicions, he begins to see how he is the center of a universe gone terribly awry.

30 review for Time Out of Joint

  1. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Below the Surface of Things Under the Hydrogen Bomb No one takes the immaterialist philosophy of the 17th century Bishop Berkeley seriously today - that being is a result of being perceived. But perhaps we should. Isn’t this what quantum theory suggests, that only when something is noticed or measured does it become definite? And, at a more quotidian level, isn’t Berkeley’s kind of immaterialism the foundation of advertising in all its forms, from retail selling, to political campaigning, to the Below the Surface of Things Under the Hydrogen Bomb No one takes the immaterialist philosophy of the 17th century Bishop Berkeley seriously today - that being is a result of being perceived. But perhaps we should. Isn’t this what quantum theory suggests, that only when something is noticed or measured does it become definite? And, at a more quotidian level, isn’t Berkeley’s kind of immaterialism the foundation of advertising in all its forms, from retail selling, to political campaigning, to the generating of national feeling? The only thing real is what is perceived to be real by enough people. In Time Out of Joint, Dick explicitly takes the dear bishop at his word. But then Dick picks at a particularly loose thread. For Berkeley’s theory to work not only does everyone need to have the same perceptions, but the perceptions of each individual have to be consistent. Any dissonance among people or within anyone’s mind is problematic. Such dissonance causes doubt, and therefore inquiry, and eventually comparison of perceptions and judgments of which are right and which erroneous. Such is the perennial problem in any totalitarian state which attempts to control perception. Even the slightest lapse in propagandistic discipline will lead to trouble. Despite their self-perception, Americans in the 1950’s lived in an arguably totalitarian state. Their perceptions of freedom was their reality. The uniformity of opinion, the banality of life, the striving to get on, the universally concealed envy, attachment to celebrity, and the vague anti-intellectualism were all part of what they meant by freedom. The shared fear of Communism and the H-bomb was a unifying perception created and sustained by government propaganda. Bishop Berkeley had been right, and America proved it. But who watches the watchers? Who influences the influencers? Who sets the agenda for the agenda-setters? Perceptions spread like Chinese whispers, subtly evolving as they get passed on. And they’re inevitably circular; they get passed back to those who initially generated them. The big problem that the totalitarian state has is not insurrection but believing its own press. At that point its society loses touch with anything outside itself; it becomes psychotic. Those who suspect things are not as they seem consider it is they who are psychotic. As one of Dick’s characters says to himself, “We have a hodge-podge of leaks in our reality... A drop here, a couple of drops over in that corner. A moist spot forming on the ceiling. But where's it getting in? What's it mean?” Exactly: the beginning of the end. Eventually the dam has to break and reality rushes in. Bishop Berkeley hadn’t considered death very seriously - the ultimate reality which certainly doesn’t depend on perception. Postscript: Time Out of Joint was published in 1959. Exactly 30 years later, an episode of the television series, The Twilight Zone, entitled ‘Special Service’ had a suspiciously similar plot but no credit to Dick. Almost a decade later, the film The Truman Show was produced based on the episode. The film emphasised the sci-fi aspects of the script, making it even more like Dick’s story. Once again no credit was given to Dick. One is entitled to suspect some nefarious literary activities - right in line with the theme of Time Out of Joint. It was also produced in the same year in which the book is set. An irony about ironies? And in case you missed it just a little further below the surface: Ragle is Elgar backwards. Elgar’s 14 Enigma Variations each portray a person. Worth investigation by some young intellect with time on their hands.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Philip K. Dick's Time Out of Joint may very well have influenced the producers of the film The Truman Show. Orson Scott Card may also have gotten some ideas for Ender's Game. PKD tells this one close to the vest for the first half of the book, slowly developing the action and leaving some M. Night Shyamalan type clues along the way for the reader to pick up. This was published in 1959, one of his earlier novels and an observant reader of PKD will notice a more subtle approach than some of his la Philip K. Dick's Time Out of Joint may very well have influenced the producers of the film The Truman Show. Orson Scott Card may also have gotten some ideas for Ender's Game. PKD tells this one close to the vest for the first half of the book, slowly developing the action and leaving some M. Night Shyamalan type clues along the way for the reader to pick up. This was published in 1959, one of his earlier novels and an observant reader of PKD will notice a more subtle approach than some of his later, Kafkaesque absurd and over the top science fiction vehicles. But even this early some ubiquitous themes emerge such as latent conspiracy theories, paranoia, mirror image delusions of grandeur and references to mental illness and self destruction. Also present are familiar classical, biblical and psychological references. Published and marketed along with his SF canon, but written during the period of his mainstream efforts and less "far out there" than many of his works. My only criticism is that it takes a while to get where it is going, but this is good, vintage PKD.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Gaya

    Time Out of Joint is one of Philip K. Dick’s earliest novels (1959). For a science fiction story of that period, it is quite unusual and ahead of its time. The first half of the book is a sort of picture of America’s “Golden Age”: the blissful, apparently harmless and relatively uneventful life in a middle-class suburb, somewhere in California. Apart from the everyday tittle-tattle and ordinary cuckoldry between neighbours, there is nothing much going on. Except for that weirdo whose day job is Time Out of Joint is one of Philip K. Dick’s earliest novels (1959). For a science fiction story of that period, it is quite unusual and ahead of its time. The first half of the book is a sort of picture of America’s “Golden Age”: the blissful, apparently harmless and relatively uneventful life in a middle-class suburb, somewhere in California. Apart from the everyday tittle-tattle and ordinary cuckoldry between neighbours, there is nothing much going on. Except for that weirdo whose day job is to take part in his local newspaper’s quirky competition, “Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?”. Not only does this raise a few eyebrows, because isn’t it odd for an adult man to stay at home all day like a housewife, instead of going to the office or factory, like everyone else? (Which is probably a metaphor for living as a writer.) But also, isn’t it suspicious that this guy wins the cash prize again and again in that newspaper contest? Meanwhile, there is an ominous threat hanging over the heads of these common post-war middle-class men and women: the ever-present menace of a nuclear holocaust with the Communist Bloc. More disturbing still, as the story progresses, cracks and leaks start to appear on the polished and glossy veneer of that stereotypical American microcosm. The protagonist begins to experience mild anomalies, hallucinations, becomes obsessed with the metaphysical theories of George Berkeley and Immanuel Kant, notices that total strangers know him by name, and that he can’t seem to be able to leave his town despite his best efforts. As might be expected with Phil Dick, while keeping his writing style factual and unadorned, he twists events in a way that ultimately puts in doubt the very (deceptive) nature of reality: “The whole world, he thought, can be seen through. I am on the inside looking out. Peeking through a crack and seeing – emptiness.” (p. 162) The story irresistibly throws his protagonist (and the reader) down an uncanny, paranoid rabbit hole. In the last section of the novel, however, PKD suddenly puts the brakes, pulls back and reverses to a rational, tedious sf explanation that is supposed to help us make sense of the preceding plot. Of course, said “explanation” feels far-fetched and like a sort of storytelling coitus interruptus. I suppose the author could have made his book more intense and mysterious by trimming it down to the length of a novella, and leaving a few things unresolved. In literature, as in everything else, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Be it as it may, Time Out of Joint is a seminal novel for the rest of PKD’s career and subsequent works of fiction involving conspiracies and simulated realities. Think, in TV series alone, of The Twilight Zone, The Invaders and, more recently, Dark Mirror.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    While the rest of the world toils at their jobs, Ragle Gumm stays at home, his sole source of income a daily newspaper contest called "Where will the little green man appear next?" When odd things start happening, Ragle thinks he may be having a nervous breakdown. Is he or is it something much more sinister? Of course it is something more sinister. This is a Philip K. Dick novel. A Dickhead at work has been after me for years to read this. After mindbending reads like The Great Forgetting, Dark Ma While the rest of the world toils at their jobs, Ragle Gumm stays at home, his sole source of income a daily newspaper contest called "Where will the little green man appear next?" When odd things start happening, Ragle thinks he may be having a nervous breakdown. Is he or is it something much more sinister? Of course it is something more sinister. This is a Philip K. Dick novel. A Dickhead at work has been after me for years to read this. After mindbending reads like The Great Forgetting, Dark Matter, and The Mirage, the road I was on was leading to Dick anyway so I gave this a shot. First off, the things I didn't care for: The prose was really bland and the pace was a little slow for a 250 page book with huge type. As for the rest of it, I liked it quite a bit. I wish the Goodreads summary and the back cover blurb hadn't spoiled the big twist, though. (view spoiler)[ Time out of Joint reads like an exceptionally paranoid Twilight Zone episode. Most aspects of Ragle Gumm's life are staged in order to keep him pacified and focused on "Where will the little green man appear next?" It's a conspiracy of massive proportions that safeguards America at the cost of Ragle Gum's day to day life. When I picked up the book, I had no idea it would wind up being about a war between Earth and its colonies on the moon. Ragle Gum gradually pieces together what's really going on and tries to get the hell out of town. A lot of reviewers mention the Truman Show and it is about like that, only much crazier. (hide spoiler)] While I didn't think it was awesome, I did enjoy Time out of Joint. It's a literary ancestor to books like The Great Forgetting and Pines. Three out of five stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind people think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify Can you help me occupy my brain?” Cheers, Ozzy! That is Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, of course. Fits the bill for me! I have a copy of Time Out of Joint languishing in my house for over ten years. I have no idea where it came from, I am pretty sure I never bou “Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind people think I'm insane because I am frowning all the time All day long I think of things but nothing seems to satisfy Think I'll lose my mind if I don't find something to pacify Can you help me occupy my brain?” Cheers, Ozzy! That is Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, of course. Fits the bill for me! I have a copy of Time Out of Joint languishing in my house for over ten years. I have no idea where it came from, I am pretty sure I never bought it. Is that weird? No, I guess not. I could tell you how I suddenly decided to read it after having ignored it for ten years, but that would be a spectacularly uninteresting anecdote so I will leave that out. Normally I try to avoid reading a book’s synopsis before reading it (more fun that way) but on this occasion, after reading 40 or so pages of Time Out of Joint I really had no idea where dear old PKD is going with this one. If this wasn’t a PKD I would have dumped it by then but Dick is always worth persevering with. For synopses fans, Time Out of Joint is ostensibly set in 1959 (the year of this book’s first publication), it is the story of Ragle Gumm, a man who makes a living from the cash prizes from a “Where Will The Little Green Man Be Next?” competition in a local gazette that he always win. His name is always shown in a special box on the gazette’s competition winners page as nobody else I even come close. Gumm is not a happy man, though (PKD’s protagonists never are), he always has a feeling that something is “off” about his world. Matters come to a head one day when a soft-drink stand disappears right in front of his eyes, to be replaced by a bit of paper with “SOFT-DRINK STAND” printed on it. OK… Soon Gumm starts to feel like he is, for some reason, the center of the universe, but not in a good way. Many reviews of Time Out of Joint mention that the book’s plot is similar to The Truman Show, a 1998 film (Jim Carrey’s best, IMO) which this book predates of course. Certainly there is a strong element of that. Gumm live in an artificially constructed suburban town in an artificial 1959. A more recent book that is thematically similar to Time Out of Joint is Alastair Reynolds’ clever noir crime/space opera mashup novel Century Rain where the protagonist also believes he lives in 1959.* Time Out of Joint is a clever, mind-bending and thought provoking book. Dick’s favorite theme of questioning the nature of our reality is wonderfully put to use here; as is his customary stilted dialogue. I like the book but, unfortunately, the execution leaves a little to be desired. PKD is not yet at the height of his powers at this time and the narrative and expositions can be a bit of a mess, there are also some superfluous scenes which I feel he should have left out, as they dragged on the narrative’s pacing unnecessarily. I would still recommend it though, better than a poke in the eye any day! 4 3.5 stars. ___________________ * A coincidence? Doubtful. That Reynolds may have been inspired by PKD is not hard to imagine, what SF author never read anything by Dick? Time Out of Joint also predates Heinlein’s better known classic The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress which—surprisingly—shares some similarities with this book. Interesting/Fun quotes “He never went down to the crosswalk; he always crossed in the middle of the block, directly to the café, even if he had to wait at the curb minute after minute. A point of honor was involved, an element of manliness.” “It’s clear to us that you believe what you say. But don’t you see what you’re doing? Because you believe everyone’s against you, you force everyone to be against you.” “Central problem in philosophy. Relation of word to object ... what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we live in words. Our reality, among words not things. No such thing as a thing anyhow; a gestalt in the mind. Thingness ... sense of substance. An illusion. Word is more real than the object it represents.” I have no idea what that last quote means, LOL!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susan Budd

    This is my third of Dick’s six 1950s novels. The other two were The Cosmic Puppets and The World Jones Made. On the surface, Time Out of Joint reminds me of The Cosmic Puppets. Both are linear narratives, both are set in the 50s, and most importantly, both pose questions about the nature of reality, playing with the idea that things are not what they appear to be. The novels differ primarily in how they resolve their mysteries. This is where Time Out of Joint misses its mark. Some of the most in This is my third of Dick’s six 1950s novels. The other two were The Cosmic Puppets and The World Jones Made. On the surface, Time Out of Joint reminds me of The Cosmic Puppets. Both are linear narratives, both are set in the 50s, and most importantly, both pose questions about the nature of reality, playing with the idea that things are not what they appear to be. The novels differ primarily in how they resolve their mysteries. This is where Time Out of Joint misses its mark. Some of the most intriguing ideas from the early part of the book just drop out of sight at the end. What I most enjoyed in the book was the philosophical speculation about the nature of reality and the meaning of words. When Ragle initiates a conversation with his brother-in-law about philosophy, he cites George Berkeley ~ the Idealist philosopher who proposed that nothing actually exists except as ideas in the mind of God. “How do we know that piano exists?” says Ragle and Vic replies “I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s just a bunch of words” (49). Vic’s dismissal of Berkeley’s metaphysics as “just a bunch of words” inspires further speculation by Ragle. “Central problem in philosophy. Relation of word to object . . . what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we live in words. Our reality, among words not things. No such thing as a thing anyhow; a gestalt in the mind. Thingness . . . sense of substance. An illusion. Word is more real than the object it represents. Word doesn’t represent reality. Word is reality. For us, anyhow. Maybe God gets to objects . Not us, though” (50). But there are theological undertones as well. “In the beginning, he reflected, was the word” (40). Later Ragle repeats the words of St. John. “’Under everything else,’ Ragle said. ‘The word. Maybe it’s the word of God. The logos. ‘In the beginning was the Word‘”(170). The religious theme in this book is not pronounced like it is in The Cosmic Puppets. In fact, it doesn’t seem particularly relevant to the story at all, but it is clearly something that infuses Dick’s writing even when it is not essential to the story. Junie calls Ragle a “sacred spirit” (157). Towards the end of the book, after Ragle discovers the truth, after the veil of illusion is lifted, he says: “I’m the savior of this planet” (202). But Ragle is not really Messianic like Jones is in The World Jones Made. The philosophical foundation of Time Out of Joint is the Platonic distinction between the true nature of reality and the illusion that we usually mistake for reality. Once Ragle sets out to discover the truth, it is Immanuel Kant that he cites. Kant’s philosophy distinguishes between the world of our perceptions and the world as it truly is. “The Ding an sich, as Kant said” (170). All this escalation of philosophical intensity leads to big expectations, but when the truth comes out, it’s anticlimactic. It’s a good enough idea in and of itself, but it only barely ties in with the philosophical speculation that precedes it. The slips of paper, for example, make little sense other than to heighten the mystery. They suggest something metaphysical that just isn’t there. Also, a practical matter ~ wouldn’t it have been easier to just build a soft-drink stand than to brainwash people into seeing one? But this novel has its strengths as well and the greatest strength is the character of Ragle Gumm. In the setting of 1950s suburbia, Ragle lives with his sister and brother-in-law, making his living by participating in a daily newspaper contest which he always wins due to his remarkable ability to perceive patterns and solve puzzles, an ability akin to the precognition featured in other Dick novels. As the mystery gradually unfolds, Ragle questions his sanity. “I must be crazy, he said to himself. I’m the man who’s supposed to have fought in a war. I’m forty-six years old, supposedly an adult. Yes, he thought. And I’m a man who lies around the house scrounging a living by filling out Where Will the Little Green Man Be Next? Puzzles in a newspaper contest. While other adults have jobs, wives, homes of their own. I’m a retarded—psychotic. Hallucinations. Yes, he thought. Insane. Infantile and lunatic. What am I doing, sitting here? Daydreams, at best. Fantasies about rocket ships shooting by overhead, armies and conspiracies. Paranoia. A paranoiac psychosis. Imagining that I’m the center of a vast effort by millions of men and women, involving billions of dollars and infinite work ... a universe revolving around me. Every molecule acting with me in mind. An outward radiation of importance ... to the stars. Ragle Gumm the object of the whole cosmic process, from the inception to final entropy. All matter and spirit, in order to wheel about me” (105-106). Considering Dick’s own struggle with mental illness, this is a theme in his work that interests me. But there’s more than insanity going on here. Ragle may suspect that he is hallucinating, that he is paranoid, but he also questions his life choices. He questions his status as an adult. While other men work, he drinks beer, does puzzles, and canoodles with the neighbor’s wife. He describes his occupation as “scrounging a living.” He calls himself “infantile.” I wonder if this aspect of Ragle’s self-criticism is based on Dick himself. Either way, Ragle is a character that appealed to me right from the start. Perhaps it’s because of his self-doubt. Perhaps it’s because he feels like he isn’t living an adult life, even though he’s doing the best that he can. Perhaps it’s because he sees himself as infantile and insane even as he imagines himself to be the center of the universe. His delusions of grandeur coexist with his inferiority complex. But whatever the reason, I felt a connection with him.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Why didn't I start reading Philip K. Dick ages ago?!?! WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL MY LIFE Why didn't I start reading Philip K. Dick ages ago?!?! WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL MY LIFE

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    "Time Out of Joint" was first published by Lippincott in hardcover - 59-7775, in 1959, running 221pp, and sold for $3.95, when they were going to start a science-fiction line. Dick’s fee was $750. Mr. Dick says of the book in an interview with Charles Platt - " I wrote TIME OUT OF JOINT in the 1950s, before I had even heard of LSD. In that book a guy walks up to a lemonade stand in the park, and it turns into a slip of paper marked Soft Drink Stand, and he puts the slip of paper in his pocket. Fa "Time Out of Joint" was first published by Lippincott in hardcover - 59-7775, in 1959, running 221pp, and sold for $3.95, when they were going to start a science-fiction line. Dick’s fee was $750. Mr. Dick says of the book in an interview with Charles Platt - " I wrote TIME OUT OF JOINT in the 1950s, before I had even heard of LSD. In that book a guy walks up to a lemonade stand in the park, and it turns into a slip of paper marked Soft Drink Stand, and he puts the slip of paper in his pocket. Far-fucking-out, spacey, that's an 'acid experience'. If I didn't know better I'd say that this author had turned on many times, and his universe was coming unglued -- he's obviously living in a fake universe. What I was trying to do in that book was account for the diversity of worlds that people live in. I had not read Heraclitus then, I didn’t know his concept of idios kosmos, the private world, versus koinos kosmos, which we all share. I didn’t know that the pre-Socratics had begun to discern these things. There’s a scene in the book where the protagonist goes into the bathroom, reaches in the dark for a pull-cord, and suddenly realizes there is no cord, there’s a switch on the wall, and he can’t remember when he ever had a bathroom when there was a cord hanging down. Now, that actually happened to me, and it was what caused me to write the book. It reminded me of the idea that Van Vogt had dealt with, of artificial memory, as occurs in THE WORLD OF NULL-A where a person has false memories implanted. A lot of what I wrote, which looks like the result of taking acid, is really the result of taking Van Vogt seriously! I believed Van Vogt, I mean, he wrote it, you know, he was an authority figure. He said, people can be other than whom they remember themselves to be, and I found this fascinating. You have a massive suspension of belief on my part." Note: This is not a library copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    "In a civil war", Ragle said, "every side is wrong. It's hopeless to try to untangle it. Everyone is a victim." Written in 1958 when Phil was just 30, and published in '59, this is the earliest of his novels that I've read. He may not have always shown it over the course of his 45-novel career, at least in part because he wrote some of those novels in two-week amphetamine binges, but Time Out of Joint reminds me that not only did he have brilliant ideas, but that by this early point in his career "In a civil war", Ragle said, "every side is wrong. It's hopeless to try to untangle it. Everyone is a victim." Written in 1958 when Phil was just 30, and published in '59, this is the earliest of his novels that I've read. He may not have always shown it over the course of his 45-novel career, at least in part because he wrote some of those novels in two-week amphetamine binges, but Time Out of Joint reminds me that not only did he have brilliant ideas, but that by this early point in his career he was also a real craftsman who knew what he was doing with a story. There's an elegant simplicity to this novel, yet it somehow managed to keep surprising me. Phil's novels often take place in alternate realities or future societies, so I found something pleasingly disconcerting about the suburban, late-50s milieu with which this one begins. I enjoyed the character of Vic, who works in the produce section of a supermarket and walks to a diner across the street for coffee on his breaks. I enjoyed Vic and his wife Margo's go-getting neighbor, Bill Black, who's always stopping by the house, conversant in all the cultural topics of the day including the theories of Freud, almost too conversant really...and of course there's a marital infidelity or two, or quasi-infidelity, the kind that Phil would often use in his future novels, whether they took place in a suburb on earth or a Martian mining colony- put people in close quarters for too long and things are going to get weird. And then there's Margo's brother Ragle Gumm, definitely one of the most ridiculous character names Phil ever came up with, who lives a quiet, circumscribed life dedicated to a strange, isolating little hobby- not unlike writing science-fiction stories for peanuts, maybe. Things are going well, more or less, until the day Vic instinctively reaches for a light cord in the bathroom that isn't there, and has never been there. It's hard to say much more about Time Out of Joint without giving away its secrets, but in my view it's about the power of fantasy, and how the tragedy of one's present strengthens the appeal of whatever fantasies one's society allows. It's about how fantasy becomes all-encompassing, and isn't always a conscious choice. But at the risk of moralizing, I think it's also about fighting back against fantasy, about remaining conscious in one's own time and place, no matter how unpleasant. That there's something ennobling about the truth. Phil had a lot of sympathy for the impulse to escape, but I think he also understood that fantasy isn't as individual a thing as it might seem. It's social and political as well, it has causes and consequences beyond ourselves, and the people who seek power in this world depend on the rest of us becoming so appalled by the present that we turn inward, with the help of our gadgets. And as I think David Foster Wallace once said, the technology is just going to keep getting better and better.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stian

    What a strange book. I wonder if this is where the creators of 'The Truman Show' got their inspiration. A really kooky story about an ordinary guy who thinks he's living in the 1950s and just doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary little town. But is he? Well, it's Philip K. Dick. Of course he isn't. It's all some really weird crap and nothing really makes any god damn sense -- at least not until the ending, but even that is just crazy stuff. What a strange book. I wonder if this is where the creators of 'The Truman Show' got their inspiration. A really kooky story about an ordinary guy who thinks he's living in the 1950s and just doing ordinary stuff in an ordinary little town. But is he? Well, it's Philip K. Dick. Of course he isn't. It's all some really weird crap and nothing really makes any god damn sense -- at least not until the ending, but even that is just crazy stuff.

  11. 4 out of 5

    TheReadingRunner

    “Relation of word to object . . . what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we live in words. Our reality, among words not things. No such thing as thing anyhow; a gestalt in the mind.”. . Time out of Joint is a sci-fi novel written in 1959 by Philip K. Dick and like many of his other books, it also explores themes of psychological mind trips and constant hopping back and forth through hoops of reality. . The bulk of the plot is a spoiler, so to say as little as possible about this book: A man called Rag “Relation of word to object . . . what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we live in words. Our reality, among words not things. No such thing as thing anyhow; a gestalt in the mind.”. . Time out of Joint is a sci-fi novel written in 1959 by Philip K. Dick and like many of his other books, it also explores themes of psychological mind trips and constant hopping back and forth through hoops of reality. . The bulk of the plot is a spoiler, so to say as little as possible about this book: A man called Ragle Gumm lives an ordinary life next door to some great neighbors and in a seemingly ordinary town in the same house with his sister and his brother in law. He makes a living, oddly, by winning big prizes from newspaper competitions. Ragle starts searching for answers when a soda-pop turns into a slip of paper with Soda-pop written on it before his eyes, and he slowly notices other objects turning to slips of paper. He sets out on a journey for the truth along with his brother in-law and the curtains slowly unravel as the pieces of the puzzle are put together. . The title of the book is a reference to Shakespeare’s Hamlet : "The time is out of joint; O cursed spite!/That ever I was born to set it right!" [I.V.211-2]). . This book was really enjoyable to read and I was very satisfied with the ending. Would recommend!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    4.5 stars. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cbj

    I think the makers of The Truman Show may have copied the idea of a person's life as a staged TV series from this book. Dick had so many ingenious ideas during his career as a writer. The idea for this book might be the best one that Dick ever had. But it is not his best book. It is not as funny as A Scanner Darkly or Valis - both of which came later. And the social commentary is not as incisive or trenchant, like in his later work. But there are instances in the book which give us an idea of wh I think the makers of The Truman Show may have copied the idea of a person's life as a staged TV series from this book. Dick had so many ingenious ideas during his career as a writer. The idea for this book might be the best one that Dick ever had. But it is not his best book. It is not as funny as A Scanner Darkly or Valis - both of which came later. And the social commentary is not as incisive or trenchant, like in his later work. But there are instances in the book which give us an idea of what is to come. This is one of the earliest of Dick's novels that I have read. The book is about Ragle Gumm, an unemployed middle aged man who lives with his sister, her husband and their small kid. Ragle is a local celebrity in his small American town on account of the fact that he keeps winning a newspaper contest that requires extraordinary skills in mathematics. When he is not working hard at the contest, he is swilling beer and lusting for his neighbors wife. But Ragle senses that something is not right with his existence. Small clues lead him to question the very nature of his reality and what he believes to be true. Ragle could be at the centre of a sinister plot by the government to hide the truth about space travel and its benefits from the citizens. Through Ragle Gumm, Dick is trying to say that even the most talented among us can be fooled into leading a mundane existence by the government or some higher authority. The government lays down the rules and it tries to keep us engrossed and captivated by playing on our basest instincts like the male sexual drive (in the novel, Ragle Gumm wants to marry and settle down with the beautiful but dumb Junie, his neighbors wife). Dick uses small snippets of conversation to build character. And also to foreground the important themes of the novel. For example look at this exchange between two supermarket employees: "Aren't you a Democrat?" he asked. "From the South?" "Not any more. Not since I moved up here. This is a Republican state, so I'm a Republican." He offers us scenes from small town American life to underscore the absurdity of our mundane existence. But ultimately, Time Out of Joint is a novel that emphasizes the marvel of space travel (or migration and travel) as one of man's most primitive instinct. According to Dick: "It had nothing to do with minerals, resources, scientific measurement. Nor even exploration and profit. Those were excuses. The actual reason lay out-side their conscious minds. If he were required to, he could not formulate the need, even as he experienced it fully. No once could. An instinct, the most primitive drive, as well as the most noble and complex. It was both at once." A very entertaining and intriguing novel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stuart

    This is one of PKD's earlier and lesser works. The protagonist discovers his mundane existence is a actually an elaborate hoax that covers up a much darker reality. Frankly, the author has explored this idea with much better results in later books, so that the book almost reads like a cheap knock-off of PKD himself, which was probably unavoidable since he wrote so many books just to pay the bills. I'd stick to his more famous works. This is one of PKD's earlier and lesser works. The protagonist discovers his mundane existence is a actually an elaborate hoax that covers up a much darker reality. Frankly, the author has explored this idea with much better results in later books, so that the book almost reads like a cheap knock-off of PKD himself, which was probably unavoidable since he wrote so many books just to pay the bills. I'd stick to his more famous works.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Nelson

    Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick THE TRUMAN SHOW meets THE MATRIX Synopsis It’s 1959. Ragle Gum lives with his sister and her family. He’s having an affair with the woman next door. He’s the champion of the newspaper contest, “Where Will the Little Green Man be Next?” Oh yeah, and he’s going sane. It starts with what he thinks are hallucinations—a disappearing soft drink stand, leaving nothing in its place but a piece of paper labeled SOFT DRINK STAND. But then he hears pilots talking about h Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick THE TRUMAN SHOW meets THE MATRIX Synopsis It’s 1959. Ragle Gum lives with his sister and her family. He’s having an affair with the woman next door. He’s the champion of the newspaper contest, “Where Will the Little Green Man be Next?” Oh yeah, and he’s going sane. It starts with what he thinks are hallucinations—a disappearing soft drink stand, leaving nothing in its place but a piece of paper labeled SOFT DRINK STAND. But then he hears pilots talking about him over the radio and he finds a phonebook from a place that doesn’t seem to exist. And now his brother-in-law starts to notice the signs as well. They decide to skip town, but the town doesn’t want them to leave. There’s always something in the way—a cop, a flat tire, a line at the bus depot that never ends. When they finally do get out, they learn that it’s not 1959. It’s 1998. And all they want in the whole world is for Ragle to keep plugging away at the “Where Will the Little Green Man be Next?” puzzles. Review Although I like the movies that are based on his novels (Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, Paycheck), this is the first Philip K. Dick book that I have read. The first thing that caught my eye was the title. Ooo, a Shakespeare reference, and Hamlet at that. The next thing that appealed to me was the synopsis on the back cover. I know I already compared The Hunger Games to The Truman Show, but that’s because of the reality TV element. Time Out of Joint is like The Truman Show because it’s a town revolving around one guy, an illusion to keep him where he is. But it’s not about celebrity like in The Truman Show. It’s about Ragle cracking codes and seeing patterns in what he thinks is a harmless newspaper puzzle. I actually think that the movie makers admitted that they were inspired by this book. I can’t help but love this idea. I also, many years ago, wrote a story of two people who could not find a way out of their town. It’s a What is reality? thing. Kind of like The Matrix (There is no spoon) if you took out all the flipping…and the second half of the movie. The foundation of this book is very sophistic. Philosophy comes up again and again, and it’s no wonder why. There’s a theory that everything is made of language. The only difference between the table and the chair is caused by us naming them as separate. If we named the left side of the hand one thing and the right side something else, they would be two different things rather than both be hand. So, when Ragle sees that his world exists as he sees it only because there are little pieces of paper that name things, he realizes that words are concrete and things are not. He even goes so far as to point out that In the beginning was the Word. This is what the world is made of. Dick approaches the story very slowly, always with both feet in reality. Halfway through the book, there’s disappearing buses and freaky radio transmissions, but there’s also lasagna and bowling. It’s all so commonplace and not the over-the-top action movies that his stories eventually become. Despite that it moves at a leisurely pace, I am sucked in the whole time. It’s never boring. Part of what keeps my attention is the characters. I really do like them, Ragle in particular. There’s nothing all that unique about any of them, but Dick makes you care about them. The book is written in omniscient third person, so we get into each and every one of their heads, sometimes head-hopping all over the place. It’s mildly jarring, but not too bad. It causes wonderful dramatic irony. He does something I really admire: he tells us misinformation depending on what character we are close to. He relies on us to know that the character is misunderstanding the situation. I find that too gutsy to attempt because I’m afraid that it will confuse the readers. But he pulls it off marvelously. He’s also a great observer. He takes those little moments that happen to everyone but that people don’t consciously think about, and uses them as part of the plot. For example, Vic walks into his bathroom and gropes around for the hanging pull cord for a few seconds before remembering it’s a light switch in the bathroom. It’s always been a light switch. dick tunes into all those little paranoias that we get. It’s actually the opposite of what you read about nowadays. Usually, you read about someone who thinks everyone is following them, but it turns out they’re paranoid and the writer has taken you along for the ride and made you believe the character’s delusions. However, here, strange things really are happening to the protagonist, but he insists through most of the book that it’s his psychosis and that he really is just losing his mind. That’s refreshing. I did read in the afterward that Dick suffered from some kind of psychosis. He said at one point that a supremely sane consciousness entered his mind or somesuch. Do you have to be crazy to write crazy, I wonder? I want to talk a little bit about Dick’s view of the future. It’s weird having the distant future be 1998, but I guess I’ve always liked the 50’s view of what the present would look like, more than what now’s view of what the future will look like. I guess it’s because they haven’t conceived of things like computers yet. The future to Dick involves an altered language and fashion statement, kerosene cars, and plastic chips for money. But mostly, it’s very similar, just as 1998 was similar to 1959. There were still sofas and paperback books and diners. It’s not completely foreign, so he’s realistic enough. It’s funny to see this estimated view of 1998 because it’s like an alternative reality. In 1998, we still had metal and paper coins, but we do have word processors and DVDs, things that Dick never considered putting in his future. Having the futuristic part be so strange to the reader really puts us in the characters’ shoes. I can’t understand the dialogue of the teenagers of 1998. They speak in pigeon English. They operate on different laws and conventions. This is better than if Dick (writing in the 50’s) wrote about people who thought they were in 1900 and then found themselves in 1950. That would have a different feel because the readers would be able to both sympathize with the characters and correctly interpret what they experience. But Dick’s created a new world only understood by him (if that). There’s no dramatic irony here. The ending gets very political. It felt very Dickian despite not having read his work before. Always with the irony, that man. To me, it’s astonishing to see Dick’s insight. I know he’s writing this in the 50’s, but it feels like it was written by someone with knowledge of the last fifty years, someone who can look back at 1959 and see it objectively. It’s almost as if he is an author from a time out of joint.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    A book that could have inspired both Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (anticipation of anticipation of rockets) and the Truman Show (community set up around one man). While I give it points for anticipating a couple generations early the narcissism of the 21st century, the absurdity of American Exceptionalism, the shallow falseness of community on FB, etc., it was in the end just too damn slow. Most of the narrative was underwater. There was no rush. There were no prose daisies to pick as I picked th A book that could have inspired both Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (anticipation of anticipation of rockets) and the Truman Show (community set up around one man). While I give it points for anticipating a couple generations early the narcissism of the 21st century, the absurdity of American Exceptionalism, the shallow falseness of community on FB, etc., it was in the end just too damn slow. Most of the narrative was underwater. There was no rush. There were no prose daisies to pick as I picked through the pages. It was good just not great. It was PKD, just not great PKD.

  17. 5 out of 5

    spikeINflorida

    An early PKD novel, TIME OUT OF JOINT is not as trippy, surreal, or fractured as his later works. Yet some of the author's trademarks are in evidence here such as smoking cigars, snappy shoes, uncivilised civil war, disconnected discussions, and copious amounts of paranoia. The story contains strong echoes of the movie The Truman Show. I wonder if R.A. Henlein borrowed a story subplot here for his eponymous The Moon Is A Harsh Mistriss. This book isn't recommended for readers not familiar with P An early PKD novel, TIME OUT OF JOINT is not as trippy, surreal, or fractured as his later works. Yet some of the author's trademarks are in evidence here such as smoking cigars, snappy shoes, uncivilised civil war, disconnected discussions, and copious amounts of paranoia. The story contains strong echoes of the movie The Truman Show. I wonder if R.A. Henlein borrowed a story subplot here for his eponymous The Moon Is A Harsh Mistriss. This book isn't recommended for readers not familiar with Philip K. Dick.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Although many people say this book inspired the film "The Truman Show", Expect far more than that in this book. Ragle Gum is not merely another Truman Burbank. He is contained in a world of illusion not for the purposes of keeping others entertained, he has something dreadfully important to do, something somehow wrapped up with the daily puzzle he solves in the newspaper. This book is about turning around the perception of the protagonist (Ragle Gum) and that of the reader again and again. Is Rag Although many people say this book inspired the film "The Truman Show", Expect far more than that in this book. Ragle Gum is not merely another Truman Burbank. He is contained in a world of illusion not for the purposes of keeping others entertained, he has something dreadfully important to do, something somehow wrapped up with the daily puzzle he solves in the newspaper. This book is about turning around the perception of the protagonist (Ragle Gum) and that of the reader again and again. Is Ragle going psychotic and paranoid with his suspicion that reality doesn't quite seem to make sense that everything seems to be constructed for his benefit? Or is he instead actually recovering his sanity? And then when he penetrates through to another layer of reality, is what he was doing critically important to save lives or is he merely furthering the cause of tyranny? I'm treading dangerously close to spoiling the plot but I feel that I've held back from crossing that line by being suitably vague and also because I think a reader of average intelligence will see most of the plot turns coming well ahead of time. Doesn't quite mess with your head as much as some of his later novels so is perhaps a good place to start as a PKD newbie. Still well worth a read for more experienced PKD fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bob Fingerman

    Philip K. Dick -- not nearly loved enough when he was alive (except maybe by the French) and now rightly revered for his genius -- wrote scads of books, but this title seldom makes it to his pantheon (which would include The Man in the High Castle; The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep; and Ubik, all chosen recently by Jonathan Lethem for Dick's entry in the prestigious The Library of America edition). Maybe it's not trippy enough. Dick certainly laid on the " Philip K. Dick -- not nearly loved enough when he was alive (except maybe by the French) and now rightly revered for his genius -- wrote scads of books, but this title seldom makes it to his pantheon (which would include The Man in the High Castle; The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep; and Ubik, all chosen recently by Jonathan Lethem for Dick's entry in the prestigious The Library of America edition). Maybe it's not trippy enough. Dick certainly laid on the "who am I/what am I/where am I/why am I?" plenty in his more famed novels, and Time Out of Joint delves into those waters a bit, but less psychedelically. The tale of Ragle Gumm, a seeming deadbeat who lives with his sister and brother-in-law, and does nothing much besides lie around solving a puzzle called "Where Will the Little Green Man be Next?" in the daily paper, T.O.O.J. plies its Dickian sleight of hand. I don't want to spoil anything, but when slips of paper begin replacing everyday items, look out. I dust it off and reread it every few years, so clearly it works for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nick Imrie

    My edition of 'Time Out of Joint' has a great essay at the back by Lou Stathis. He describes Dick's difficult existence as an author: poverty-stricken, writing weird idiosyncratic books that were of interest to no publishers, and intermittently cranking out stock SF to pay the bills, dosed up to the eyeballs on amphetamines in order to produce works that he despised. When you've read that then the structure of 'Time Out of Joint' makes a lot more sense. One of Dick's earlier works, it's essential My edition of 'Time Out of Joint' has a great essay at the back by Lou Stathis. He describes Dick's difficult existence as an author: poverty-stricken, writing weird idiosyncratic books that were of interest to no publishers, and intermittently cranking out stock SF to pay the bills, dosed up to the eyeballs on amphetamines in order to produce works that he despised. When you've read that then the structure of 'Time Out of Joint' makes a lot more sense. One of Dick's earlier works, it's essentially three very different kinds of books stitched together. The first third is the sort of book that will later come to epitomise Dick's work: mysterious and paranoid. About a third of the way through it suddenly transforms into a very serviceable suspense-thriller as our hero races to outwit his more powerful, shadowy enemies. You may think to yourself, 'Hey, this is The Truman Show!' (One of the great pleasures of reading Dick is that he is so inventive but weird that his ideas often get picked up and distorted into films, so as you read you find yourself suddenly recognising it: 'Hey, this is Blade Runner! Wow, this is Total Recall!') Then the third part of the book is a standard Campbellian SF: all tidied up and rationally explained in long infodumps, or at least, those parts that can be rationalised away are explained, those that cannot are never mentioned again. Fundamentally, this makes for an unsatisfying book. If you like Good Hard SF then the first third is confusing and ill-explained. What's up with things dissolving into bits of paper? It makes no sense. Every character takes turns holding the idiot-ball, most especially the government employees who are supposed to be managing the fake world that Gumm is trapped in, but somehow forgot the Gumm's not allowed to have a radio because he will hear them talking about him! If you like the strange and mysterious musings on ontology then the neat little wrap-up at the end is an infuriating bait and switch, as everything that was intriguing is boxed-up and thrown away. You can see PKD racing to get the whole thing over and done with as he totally abandons any attempt at finesse. Characters from earlier re-emerge through enormously implausible co-incidence so that they can deliver their monologues and disappear again. But if you like PKD, then the whole thing is very interesting. This books shows its working more than most, so you can almost see the cogs in PKD's mind turning as he puts it all together. Like the scarecrow people on the bus seen by Vic, the structure of the book is poking through the story. The other PKD standard is, of course, his fairly ropey sexual politics. Relationships between men and women are rather antagonistic, with the annoying females nagging and missing the point and generally getting in the way. Poor old Junie (beautiful but stupid) reaches the point of parody: everybody else in the story has realised that something is very wrong with the world, that Gumm is somehow at the centre, that reality is crumbling, that people are not what they seem, but Junie, bless her heart, is still running around wailing: 'What about MEEEEEEEEE? Ragle, love me!' Eh, I mean, it's not the point of the book and it's by no means a big enough problem to ruin the work, it's just kind of a bummer. I get this a lot with golden era SF: 'Great story, interesting ideas, shame about the poor representation of women.' The relationships between men, on the other hand, are great. There's a very touching brotherly affection between Vic and Ragle, especially the understated nobility of Vic's decision to go with Ragle and discover the truth, no matter the cost to himself. It's a beautiful and bitter-sweet scene where Vic and Ragle discover the truth and what that means about their relationship to each other.

  21. 4 out of 5

    amaya

    We were at the library today for some hours, and I was milling about looking for books on my 'To-Read' list; in the absence of 'The Man in the High Castle', I decided to give this one a go - and I wasn't disappointed. Though it started a bit slowly, it picked up soon enough and then just whizzed by. It didn't take me long to finish, and it was difficult to put down. It's difficult to summarise without giving too much away, so I'll try to keep things basic - because even the description on the bo We were at the library today for some hours, and I was milling about looking for books on my 'To-Read' list; in the absence of 'The Man in the High Castle', I decided to give this one a go - and I wasn't disappointed. Though it started a bit slowly, it picked up soon enough and then just whizzed by. It didn't take me long to finish, and it was difficult to put down. It's difficult to summarise without giving too much away, so I'll try to keep things basic - because even the description on the book itself, to me, ruined some of the surprise (though did manage to keep some things hidden). Ragle Gumm lives with his sister, brother-in-law, and their son Sammy. The year is, for all intents and purposes, 1959, and they lead a simple life: Margo, a home mum who dabbles in a little civic activism; Victor, her husband and local grocer; Ragle, an apparent lay-about who, in actuality, spends his days earning income by completing newspaper puzzles; Sammy, school-aged and ever intrigued by technology. Their immediate neighbours are the Blacks, Bill - tidy, invasive, and neurotic - and his wife, Junie - a provocative, wistful, and shallow woman who fancies herself eternally sixteen. Only a few other characters round out the novel, but that's about all that's needed. Ragle, with his daily warm beer and propensity toward pattern-seeking, gradually suspects that things aren't as they seem in their little picturesque town. At times, his struggle recalls the more modern 'The Truman Show', and it's a curious thing to try and discern what's real and what's illusory. Is Ragle simply hallucinating, sinking under the weight of his own paranoia, his mind drifting ever closer to the gravitational pull of insanity? Is he caught in a dystopian nightmare, finally seeing over the well's edge only to find himself again at the bottom with only a whisper of recollection? Or is it something else entirely that we can't begin to imagine? Take a couple hours out of your day to find out; it's worth it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    This is my new favourite PKD novel. It is quintessential Dick in that it revolves around the life of a quite ordinary person unravelling before there eyes. It begins ordinarily enough in small American town in the 1950's (when it was written), but from the beginning leads inexorably to its ultimate conclusion, which is an entirely different reality. If you happened to read it, not knowing this, it might even strike you for the first fifty or so pages as an oddly gripping account of a beer swilli This is my new favourite PKD novel. It is quintessential Dick in that it revolves around the life of a quite ordinary person unravelling before there eyes. It begins ordinarily enough in small American town in the 1950's (when it was written), but from the beginning leads inexorably to its ultimate conclusion, which is an entirely different reality. If you happened to read it, not knowing this, it might even strike you for the first fifty or so pages as an oddly gripping account of a beer swilling, Hawaiian shirt wearing, middle aged man who lives with his sister and her husband, making a living as the longest running winner of a newspaper competition called 'Where Will the Little Green Man Be Next?' But an element of intrigue emerges, anyway, which doesn't even begin to hint at the colossal revelations Gumm is going to stumble into it. He has a recurring hallucination, in which an element of his world suddenly vanishes in an earth shattering display and is replaced by a simple strip of paper baring the name of what had existed - 'SOFT-DRINK STAND'. He gathers something is wrong, but he doesn't know what - and man, neither did I until the final pages. Brilliant novel - cannot recommend highly enough.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Printable Tire

    I'd have to rank this as one of my favorite Philip K Dick books so far- it felt like a really good episode of the Twilight Zone. Aside from centering on his most obvious theme, the illusion of a universal idea of reality, it was I think the first book to introduce the generic Philip K Dick protagonist, who is quite obviously a mirror of Philip K Dick himself- an arrogant, stubborn, down-on-his-luck proletariat with a persecution complex, someone with a bruised ego who nonetheless in a sort of Ay I'd have to rank this as one of my favorite Philip K Dick books so far- it felt like a really good episode of the Twilight Zone. Aside from centering on his most obvious theme, the illusion of a universal idea of reality, it was I think the first book to introduce the generic Philip K Dick protagonist, who is quite obviously a mirror of Philip K Dick himself- an arrogant, stubborn, down-on-his-luck proletariat with a persecution complex, someone with a bruised ego who nonetheless in a sort of Ayn Rand way knows he is right, and ultimately the center of the universe. Many of Philip K Dick's books so far have centered on this protagonist accepting his god-given gift of will to power and rising above the masses, who he believes are conspiring against him, and coming to terms and accepting the hype of his paranoid megalomaniac personal view of reality until by some sort of shear force of willpower the personal reality breaks free of supra-reality's restraints and becomes legitimate. There's something childish and immature about it all, but also something really heavy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I really liked this. In typical Dick fashion, for the first 60 or 70 pages you have no idea what direction the story is going in. You get a few hints, but they don't ammount to much, maybe like repetition of some terms or incongruencies in dialogue. And then, out of nowhere, you turn the page and BAM, there's the real plot, and there's the line you're supposed to follow. Apart from one moment in the book where I really felt like the dialogue/situation was forced in order to give the story the mo I really liked this. In typical Dick fashion, for the first 60 or 70 pages you have no idea what direction the story is going in. You get a few hints, but they don't ammount to much, maybe like repetition of some terms or incongruencies in dialogue. And then, out of nowhere, you turn the page and BAM, there's the real plot, and there's the line you're supposed to follow. Apart from one moment in the book where I really felt like the dialogue/situation was forced in order to give the story the momentum it needed, this was a highly enjoyable read for a SF fan like myself. I'm glad I didn't even the read the description of the book on here, because it gives everything away. Reading it tabula rasa made it much more enjoyable than if I would've known what it is about.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Watkins

    There's a soft spot in my brain for this early novel by P K Dick, probably his first full treatment of ersatz reality paranoia and the mental instability capable of seeing it for what it is. It reminds me of the movie The Truman Show (which I enjoyed) but is 6 to 8 times more involving and interesting. One great thing about the book is the lovingly detailed 1950's middle class neighborhood setting (less all the counterculture drugginess of his later books). I don't mind drugs or drugginess, but t There's a soft spot in my brain for this early novel by P K Dick, probably his first full treatment of ersatz reality paranoia and the mental instability capable of seeing it for what it is. It reminds me of the movie The Truman Show (which I enjoyed) but is 6 to 8 times more involving and interesting. One great thing about the book is the lovingly detailed 1950's middle class neighborhood setting (less all the counterculture drugginess of his later books). I don't mind drugs or drugginess, but the lack of them here actually heightens the paranoia and metaphysical terror as "reality" peals away.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jose Moa

    This is a early novel by Dick,written in 1959 ,where already appears a deceptive reality based in condicionament of minds,the reality as the model our brain makes of the world, and the power of goverments to control this;also the thin gap between sanity and madness in the paranoic case.As many people knows there is certain link between this novel and the Trumans Show movie,also in my opinión with the tale that appears in the book Alternating Currents by Pohl tittled A túnel under the world yet w This is a early novel by Dick,written in 1959 ,where already appears a deceptive reality based in condicionament of minds,the reality as the model our brain makes of the world, and the power of goverments to control this;also the thin gap between sanity and madness in the paranoic case.As many people knows there is certain link between this novel and the Trumans Show movie,also in my opinión with the tale that appears in the book Alternating Currents by Pohl tittled A túnel under the world yet with different plots

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jurgen_i

    Great novel by great author. Very good description of the idea of a disparity between subjective and objective reality. Reasonable structure of a book - it starts in a rather normal world, then it became more and more surreal, at the end it became normal once more. I liked this very much. Vivid characters, they are best at the moments of twisted reality - analyzing, fearing, not believing, confident. And, some interesting and clever ideas are present here.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taneli Viitahuhta

    Philip K. Dick is amazing. He got to the heart of American late capitalism and its schitzophrenic tangent so early on, it's almost incredible. Compared to Dick "great American writers" like DeLillo or Bellow look like imitators of the master with subpar plots and way too many pages. Early Dick is snappy and delivers his broodings on the split nature of society/reality with hooks that have you hanging solid. A classic. Philip K. Dick is amazing. He got to the heart of American late capitalism and its schitzophrenic tangent so early on, it's almost incredible. Compared to Dick "great American writers" like DeLillo or Bellow look like imitators of the master with subpar plots and way too many pages. Early Dick is snappy and delivers his broodings on the split nature of society/reality with hooks that have you hanging solid. A classic.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean Blake

    Time Out of Joint has a fascinating premise and when you're reading it you'll see the influence it had on The Truman Show, The Matrix and even Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. It's just a shame the final product lost its way towards the end of story as Philip K. Dick struggled to find the right balance between 50s suburban menace and warped reality. Time Out of Joint has a fascinating premise and when you're reading it you'll see the influence it had on The Truman Show, The Matrix and even Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. It's just a shame the final product lost its way towards the end of story as Philip K. Dick struggled to find the right balance between 50s suburban menace and warped reality.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    SF Masterworks 55: Ragle Gumm is an ordinary Joe living in 1950s America, except for 1 important fact, well 2; he lives with his married sister and her husband and he's nationally known for being the continuous daily winner of a incident plotting competition in the Daily Herald, with its' cash prize! What starts of as a perfect 50s scene slowly descends into suspense, paranoia and conspiracy as Dick shares his view of 1950's idyllic America of being only a facade with something else going on und SF Masterworks 55: Ragle Gumm is an ordinary Joe living in 1950s America, except for 1 important fact, well 2; he lives with his married sister and her husband and he's nationally known for being the continuous daily winner of a incident plotting competition in the Daily Herald, with its' cash prize! What starts of as a perfect 50s scene slowly descends into suspense, paranoia and conspiracy as Dick shares his view of 1950's idyllic America of being only a facade with something else going on underneath, just round the corner. An early example of how Dick's creativity and view went in completely different directions than the status quo of his peers. 6 out of 12.

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