Time Out of Joint

Time Out of Joint is probably not one of Dick\'s most well known books. It is, however, the book I chose this time. Why? Because "he thinks he\'s the centre of the universe" on the back cover sounded interesting. It felt like a very fresh idea to me, something I haven\'t encountered before in literature, or anywhere else for that matter. People often do think of where they live as the centre of the world, for example the name of China in Chinese means "centre country". But why would people think of someone else as the centre of the universe?
The main character of the book is Ragle Gumm, a man who has a talent of seeing patterns. You should know him. Everybody does. He isn\'t just the main character, he is the centre of his little world, a little town in western Wyoming.
The name or location of the town isn\'t important. There isn\'t much about any connection to the outside world, such as radios. Yes, there is public transportation, but it won\'t take you out of town. But then, why would anyone want to leave such a peaceful little town? Why would Ragle, when he\'s busy thinking about Where Will the Little Green Man Be Next?
In my opinion, one of the best ideas of the book is someone repeatedly saving people\'s lives, without knowing it, by taking part in a competition in which one has try to solve puzzles. Less stress, of course, if you\'re only afraid of getting your winning streak broken and losing a bit of money, instead of a nuke bombing.
The story of the book takes place this year, 1997, so I happened to choose good time to read the book. Most of the events appear to take place in the past, or more accurately 1959, when the book was written. That is just an illusion, along with many other things in the protective and restrictive environment in which Ragle lives.
Time Out of Joint has a fairly straightforward plot. Ragle first starts to suspect something is wrong, then tries to find some proof to back up what he suspects, then proceeds to do something to escape his current situation, and finally, in the end of the book, he gets to know exactly what has been going on. The story works well, is tight enough not to allow the reader to lose interest, and what is told is consistent. The book doesn\'t leave much room for complaint, but still, it\'s no Ubik.
Since I\'ve gotten started with reading Dick\'s work, the last of my four books for this course is also going to be written by him. Even though every subject matter doesn\'t appeal to everyone, I think I can quite safely expect a well written story, like Time Out of Joint was, no matter which one of Dick\'s novels I choose.


Time Out of Joint
by: Philip K. Dick