- Time Out of Joint
infobox Book |
name = Time Out of Joint
image_caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Philip K. Dick
language = English
J. B. Lippincott Company
release_date = 1959
media_type = Print (
pages = 221 pp
isbn = NA
"Time Out of Joint" is a
novelby Philip K. Dick, first published in novel form in the United Statesin 1959. It was also serialised in the British science fiction magazine"New Worlds Science Fiction" in several installments from December 1959 to February 1960.
The novel epitomises many of Dick's themes, with its concern about the nature of reality, and ordinary people in ordinary lives having the world unravel around them. The title is a reference to what
Hamletsays to Horatio after being visited by his father's ghost, and learning that his uncle Claudius murdered his father; in short, a shocking supernatural event that fundamentally alters the way Hamlet perceives the state and the universe ("The time is out of joint; O cursed spite!/That ever I was born to set it right!" [I.V.211-2] ).
Several of the novels themes and ideas were used for the basis of the award-winning
1998 film, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey, about a man who discovers that his entire life is an elaborate soap opera.
novelopens, its protagonistRagle Gumm believes that he lives in the year 1959in a quiet American suburb. His unusual Professionconsists of repeatedly winning the cashprize in a local newspapercompetition featuring the following question: "Where will the little green man be next?". However, at intervals some object around him, such as a drink stand in the local park, fades away into nothingness, leaving behind only a small slip of paperwith the nameof the object printed on it. Other mysterious events occur, including references to objects that would be anachronisms in 1959 and the mention of the name Ragle Gumm by people who have no apparent reason to do so, including military air pilots. Confusiongradually mounts for Gumm; one of his neighbours, observing this, starts worrying: "What if Gumm were becoming sane?". In fact, Gumm does become sane, and the deceptionsurrounding him (erected to protect and exploit him) begins to unravel.
Gumm eventually learns that the idyllic neighborhood he lives in is a construct designed to protect him from the frightening
factthat he lives on a then-future Earth(" circa" 1998) that is embroiled in a colonial warof independencewith the Mooncomparable to England's war against the American Revolutionaries. Gumm's is the only consistently accurate method for predicting where nuclear strikes will be aimed, in that his puzzle-solving skills have saved untold thousands of lives over the years by enabling antimissile deflection. The town provides a psychological safety blanket that allows him to perform this task without understanding his dire responsibility. Having learned the truth, Gumm defects to the Lunar colonists, deciding that the values and perceptions of the Earthlings are a mistake. There is an indication that the war might end as a result.
Ding an sich, a concept mentioned in the story.
Ender's Game", a 1985 novel with a similar premise
* [http://www.philipkdick.com/works_novels_timeoutofjoint.html Summary at official PKD website]
* [http://pkdickbooks.com/SFnovels/Time_out_of_joint.html "Time Out of Joint" cover art gallery]
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