PDA

View Full Version : Ubik & The Long Hard Road Out of Hell



Alexandra
03-31-2010, 01:55 PM
Not long ago I've noticed a certain parallel between Philip K. Dick's Ubik and Manson's Long Hard Road Out of Hell.
Coincidental or not, I find it very interesting that both of the aforementioned books end with strikingly similar sentences:



"Unfortunately for them it's just the beginning."
TLHROoH

"This was just the beginning."
Ubik




Technically not identical, but the parallel is obvious. More importantly, both stories share the same theme of struggling to escape from Hell, living in a nightmare. Though I want note that Ubik's plot itself vaguely resembles TLHROoH and that both should be viewed as similar only in a loosely metaphorical way.

Finally, what also deserves to be mentioned is that Ubik was published in 1969.

S.D.
03-31-2010, 02:33 PM
Thank you for this Alexandra, it is an excellent observation, and Ubik is a fantastic book. Manson has noted several times in interviews that Philip K. Dick is one of his long-time favourite authors, that comment certainly isn't limited to comparisons between Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? and Mechanical Animals (Quite the literal reference there!) or Blade Runner.
It's been about six years since I last read Ubik, I think I gave my copy of it to someone and never saw it again, so hopefully the library will have it, I'd like to refresh and compare with The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell as you have. Is there more you can elaborate on between the two, I can see how the perception of time relates to Valentine's Day and the concept of re-birth that runs through Manson's book and Antichrist Superstar.

Even being reminded of the final line from The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell raises an interesting point; "Just The Beginning" as the last word is essentially another evocation of "This Is Where It Starts, This Is Where It Will End" or "When One World Ends, Something Else Begins", et al. Most of us will have read the book more than once, but I guess looking at it much later makes things a litle clearer when there was less context for a familiar idea earlier on.
The first word of the book is "Hell", also, which could be interpreted as the "End" [Endtimes] at the beginning once again. I Have To Look Up Just To See Hell is another example, it's like saying Heaven and Hell are synonymous, that no matter what point you think you're at, it's always "The High End Of Low", the beginning and the end are always the same point (god, omnipotence, the Ouroboros). Even in Arma...Geddon, a title about the end of the World, it's "Fuck, eat, kill, do it again" - The Vacuum Of Infinite Space Encompassing.

ThreeEyedGod
03-31-2010, 04:14 PM
Pink Floyd's The Wall has similar concepts as well.

The Empirical Guy
03-31-2010, 11:37 PM
Cool stuff Alexandra and S.D


Pink Floyd's The Wall has similar concepts as well.

That had concepts? I thought it was just a (shitty) acid trip on film.

Alexandra
04-01-2010, 08:39 AM
Manson has noted several times in interviews that Philip K. Dick is one of his long-time favourite authors

Thank you for that bit of information, I must have missed it, because I couldn't recall him ever mentioning Philip K. Dick. Yet it's right here, in the Media/Interviews section. I should read more carefully...


Is there more you can elaborate on between the two, I can see how the perception of time relates to Valentine's Day and the concept of re-birth that runs through Manson's book and Antichrist Superstar.

I didn't find anything obvious besides what I've already pointed out. As for the perception of time and re-birth, I agree. Those are interesting observations I haven't considered myself. The most prominent theme in Ubik is obviously how deceptive our reality is and how we take everything for granted, but also commercialization, life/death and time travel. Most of which Manson brought up in his work, but in a different manner.
I'm planning to read TLHROoH again, because it wasn't until I got to the final sentence that I noticed the possible connection between those two books. I did, however, find a few parallels relating to other parts of Manson's work when I was reading Ubik, but I'll come back to this later.

As soon as you mentioned Antichrist Superstar, I thought of Minute of Decay. This is likely to be a mere coincidence, since "From a dead man... greetings" is a sample from Nineteen Eighty-Four and I've also taken it out of context but it slightly reminds me of the messages Runciter sent to his (then deceased) employees, trapped in half-life:

In crayon, or purple ballpoint pen ink, the words read:
JUMP IN THE URINAL AND STAND ON YOUR HEAD.
I'M THE ONE THAT'S ALIVE. YOU'RE ALL DEAD.
LEAN OVER THE BOWL AND THEN TAKE A DIVE.
ALL OF YOU ARE DEAD. I AM ALIVE.While it was, in fact, Runciter who was dead, as the reader finds out by the end of the book. (And that's just one way of interpreting the ending...)

Anyway, back to the parallels I found. What caught my attention was the subtle yet thought-provoking remark Philip K. Dick made on money. At one point the characters finally realized that time was flowing backward, mainly through finding obsolete coins:

"Isn't Walt Disney's head supposed to be on the fifty-cent piece?" Sammy said.
"Either Disney's," Al said, "or if it's an older one, then Fidel Castro's. Let's see it."
"Another obsolete coin," Pat Conley said.I like how it's money that indicates what times one lives in. The way I interpret it, money can be treated very lightly by some, as if it were a source of joy, or used as a dangerous tool providing absolute power by others. A tool making tools of people? It's one of the most destructive forces in the modern world, just as extreme political movements were in the past. In the man's own words:

"There's nothing more fascist now than money."
ShockHound interview


I think that the juxtaposition of Walt Disney & Fidel Castro resembles the Mickey Mouse & Nazism one really well.



Pink Floyd's The Wall has similar concepts as well.

Could you explain what you mean? I'm curious.

Kairo
04-06-2010, 04:31 PM
the wall- rock star who becomes a dictator in his own mind
marilyn manson and his podium act