The final book in Philip K. Dick’s VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer brings the author’s search for the identity and nature of God to a close. The novel follows Bishop Timothy Archer as he travels to Israel, ostensibly to examine ancient scrolls bearing the words of Christ. But more importantly, this leads him to examine the decisions he made during his life and how they may have contributed to the suicides of his mistress and son.
This introspective book is one of Dick’s most philosophical and literary, delving into the mysteries of religion and of faith itself. As one of Dick’s final works, it also provides unique insight into the mind of a genius, whose work was still in the process of maturing at the time of his death.
©1982 Phillip K. Dick (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
It is a story of resurrection. Sometimes the PKD books that were based on earth and that dealt with modern social issues, instead of those that dealt with ephemeral hard core sci-fi, were his best. This is one of those books, which is more about ethereal, earthbound, social existence, and in as much this book examines PKD's later spirituality, and it resonates with the gnosticism that he exhibited in his later writings, it does so without the disorganized, manic, Geschwind type, madness of his other later writings. This book is reminiscent of "Confessions of a Crap Artist" written in the 1960's by PKD, which is one of my favorite books by him even though it had only a slight sci-fi edge to it, but the examination in that book of someone with schizotypal personality disorder, and the examination and resurrection of sorts in this book of someone with hebephrenia is where I make the connection, and it is where the theme of resurrection comes in. This book is a treasure, and I hope you mine it and enjoy it they way I do. Also, I really enjoyed the reader. She did a great job.
Just didn't have the usual Philip K Dick cerebral twisting genius, could have though because there were interesting elements. Doesn't seem much to relate to the first book in the series which I enjoyed.
From 1980 to 1994, I was a local columnist for The Outlook, the daily newspaper in Santa Monica.
This was Dick's last novel and contains zero science fiction.
PKD always wanted to be a literary novelist but had to write scifi for the $. Finally at the end of his life he had enough money via film rights sales of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (Blade Runner) to write what he wanted. Then he died shortly after seeing the rushes for Blade Runner. So he never got to experience being a famous Hollywood writer. Maybe just as well.
Anyway onward, Transmigration is told in the first person by Angel Archer, a very cynical woman done by the narrator (Joyce Bean) in a pitch-perfect voice.
The novel presents a medium cool portrait of the San Francisco scene in the 1970s with Bishop Pike (Timothy Archer) and Alan Watts (Edgar Barefoot) as major characters.
Two of my favorite lines come toward the end when the Watts character tells Angel she should not come to his lectures for his words of wisdom but for the sandwiches he offers for the students when the talk is over. "Someday perhaps you'll come for the sandwich. But I doubt that. I think you will always need the pretext of words." The other is when Angel promises to take care of Bill, her schizophrenic friend, when he gets out of a psychiatriic hospital. Angel tells him "I will see you as you were; I will not give up. You will remember the ground again."
"... remember the ground ..." somehow that seems like something we all need to do at this very weird present moment.
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