Time Out of Joint by Philip K. Dick, originally published back in 1959, still holds up surprisingly well today. Like a lot of PKD stories, he skillfully spins a tale that you can’t help but get sucked into. Intriguing happenings, weird out-of-place things that are somehow totally at home in the story.
The story itself revolves around Ragle Gumm, who lives with his sister and brother-in-law and earns his keep by winning a competition in the newspaper every single day, without fail and without questioning it. He lives in an idyllic community at the end of the 50s, where nothing much out of the ordinary really happens.
Until, of course, things start getting weird. He finds scrap pieces of paper where objects should be. A phonebook with numbers to telephone exchanges that don’t exist… and his world slowly begins to unwind. Everyone knows who he is. Why shouldn’t they? He’s world-famous for solving puzzles.
From there, things just keep getting weirder and weirder as the plot reveals itself and we find out what is truly going on. Don’t think because you’ve seen comparisons to The Truman Show, you know what’s going on. You don’t.
You’ll need to take some of the material with a view in mind of when this was written. Female characters seem mostly superfluous to the goings-on, as a lot of science fiction (and no doubt other genres of the time) are guilty of.
Narrated by Jeff Cummings, who I thought did a decent job. Not my favourite ever performance by a narrator but certainly not the worst. Some of his voices were a little too close occasionally for me, but otherwise, he did an okay job.
All up, always happy to grab a PKD book and give it a listen, and this is certainly no exception.