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Time Out of Joint

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  10,842 ratings  ·  661 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 255 pages
Published May 14th 2002 by Vintage (first published April 22nd 1959)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  10,842 ratings  ·  661 reviews

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Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american, sci-fi
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dan Schwent
Jul 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-books, 2016
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
Mar 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pre-80s-sf, sci-fi
“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
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
Dec 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why didn't I start reading Philip K. Dick ages ago?!?!

Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gregg_press-own
"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

"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
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.

Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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.
Jaime Nelson
Apr 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick



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
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Bob Fingerman
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who are sci-fi curious but don't necessarily like sci-fi.
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 "
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, sf-masterworks
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
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Printable Tire
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Eddie Watkins
Jul 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-fiction
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
Jose Moa
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dick, science-fiction
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 ...more
Nov 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most paranoid PKD story novel written to that point. It's a, 'the world is not what I think it is,' type of story. 'It's all fake; made up just for me... but why?' Very few can write paranoia like this. Had PKD been a script writer during the fifties, he would have come up with really compelling Film Noire. This story may have inspired the the Truman Show and Edtv.

Interesting was that, stylistically, it read more like a mainstream novel than scifi... Or was it the other way round?
Taneli Viitahuhta
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Arguably, Dick's first great novel, it is a paranoid wonder of dual realities and false identity. This is the novel I would pick for someone who never read any of Phillip K. Dick's works. This is a re-read. The first time I read it was in the late 70s and I still found myself surprised in every turn and turn.
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.
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more

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