What’s a ubikcan?

This blog is named after the famous novel by Philip K. Dick, Ubik. The novel features a can of Ubik as shown on the cover (illustrated below).

While it’s clear what a can of Ubik might be, what Ubik is itself is not so clear. A strong clue of course is given on the cover, where the language evokes that of the Bible: “I am.” But it’s doubtful that Ubik is only the I am. Notice that this blog is not named after Ubik itself, but the idea or conceit of a can of Ubik. It’s certainly not a way of saying “I am God” but who knows, it may be a way of saying “I am.”

“I am Ubik.
Before the universe was I am.
I made the suns.
I made the worlds.
I created the lives and the places they inhabit; I move them here, I put them there.
They go as I say, they do as I tell them.
I am the word and my name is never spoken, the name which no one knows.
I am called Ubik but that is not my name.
I am.
I shall always be.”

Which is reemphasized in Dick’s last novel:

“And God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God.”…

The first Hebrew word is anokhi or anochi and it means “I”–as in “I am the Lord thy God.”

Another Jewish writer, Hermann Cohen wrote:

God answered him thus: “I am that which I am. So shalt thou say to the children of Israel: “I am” has sent me to you…. the name of God is “I am that which I am.” This signifies that God is Being, that God is the I, which denotes the Existing One.

(From The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, pp. 63-4.)


  1. Ubikan,

    I just have a quick question for you but couldn’t find an email so had to resort to this. I am a progressive blogger. Please email me back at barbaraobrien@maacenter.org when you get a chance. Thanks.


    Comment by Barbara O'Brien — June 1, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

  2. May I suggest that you post your question?

    Comment by ubikcan — June 2, 2010 @ 6:13 am

  3. Hey there, since I’m currently unable to dish out 350$ to buy the collected PKDS from some source or other, I thought I pop my question in here:

    “Stratosphere Betty”. Is that short story included, and if so, would there be a chance for me to read it? I’m in the middle of a project covering PKDs published output (fiction) and I’d like to include this story.

    Is there any other fictional material in the PKDS that’s unavailable elsewhere?



    Comment by Tommi — May 22, 2011 @ 2:50 am

  4. The Science Fiction Bookclub in London England will be discussing Ubik in September 2011.
    Any and all are welcome.


    Comment by Sci-Fi Bookclub — June 27, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  5. Hi Ubikcan,

    You mentioned in a post from some years ago that you had the complete collection of the PKDS Newsletter. I’m doing my Masters Thesis on Dick and can’t get access to the newsletter – although I actually only need one section of issue 13 (concerning the cancelled prologue for Eye in the Sky). Would it be possible for you to send me a scan or picture of the relevant pages? It would be hugely appreciated.


    Comment by Ciarán Kavanagh — August 26, 2015 @ 7:33 am

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