Philip K. Dick/Time out of Joint

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Philip K. Dick's novel Time Out of Joint was originally serialised in the British science fiction magazine New Worlds science fiction

The hero, named Ragel Gumm, lives in a quiet, early 1960s American suburb. His unusual occupation consists of repeatedly winning the cash prize in a local newspaper competition `Where will the little green man be next?' However, he has a problem: every now and then, some object around him, like a hot-dog stand in the local park, fades away into nothingness, leaving behind only a small slip of paper with the name of the object printed on it. There are other mysterious aspects: children exploring the basement of an old, ruined house nearby find a pile of magazines. One features an actress, apparently well-known, who Gumm has never heard of, named Marilyn Monroe.

Confusion gradually mounts for Gumm, and the plot then moves to one of his neighbours observing this, who starts worrying `What if Gumm were becoming sane?' In fact, Gumm does become sane, and the deception around him (erected to both protect and exploit him) is unravelled.

The novel epitomises many of Dick's novels, with its concern about the nature of reality, and ordinary people in ordinary lives having the world unravel around them.

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