The Image of Women in Philip K. Dick’s Ubik

I’m very close to completing the first draft of my Methods course paper rewrite on Philip K. Dick’s 1969 novel, Ubik. Instead of talking about the metaphysical implications exposed by Dick’s idea of half-life, I switched tracks and I’m now writing about the image of women in the novel. I’m beginning with Joanna Russ’ 1974 essay from Vertex titled, “The Image of Women in Science Fiction.” It’s a very on-target piece of Second Wave Feminism theorization about the representation of women in SF. Russ’ take on it at that time is that there are no women in SF, just images of women. For my presentation, I’m specifically writing about Ella Hyde Runciter, and the different ways she’s presented in the second and sixteenth chapters (the one after first, and the one before last). I’m closing with a discussion about Dick’s mathematical error in chapter four in counting the female inertials in Runciter’s office. I have high hopes for the paper, which I’ll be presenting in class on Thursday. One thing I don’t like about he presentation is that we have to do it standing up. I’ve been to six conferences, and never once have I had to stand. If I’m going to talk for twenty minutes, I’d like to be comfortable.

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