Off-beat, surreal, sacrilegous, sordid, and almost no robots involved, at all. Its a twisted hallucinogenic tale of improvised dogma based on science..Show More »-fiction constructs. Its like a Phillip K. Dick version of scientology. Reminded me of Fuceault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
Valis is like Naked Lunch meets Life of Brian. Very sublte humor. Who knew irreverent science fiction could be so much fun?
Trippy, gnostic exploration of good/evil & God/man
Book 2 of Philip K Dick's VALIS Trilogy (Gnostic Trilogy [God Trilogy]), 'The Divine Invasion' is a funky PKDesque exploration of good and evil, God a..Show More »nd Belial, gnostic truth, etc. In this short novel, Emmanuel (God) is smuggled back to Earth via the womb of a Jewish woman with MS. She is accompanied by Herb Asher, a DJ protagonist of sorts (Jesus as a DJ's son) who marries Rybys (read Mary) to assist getting her and her unborn God-baby smuggled safely to Earth, and Elias (Elijah) the one who prepares the way. They have to get past Cardinal Fulton Statler Harms, Chief Prelate of the Christian Islamic Church (C.I.C.) and their counterpoint - the Scientific Legate (S.L.) and all the rest of Satan's bureaucracy.
As science fiction, the Divine Invasion is so far left of funky that it isn't on the map. It is definitely NOT what your typical teenage, pimply reader would expect from pulp Sci Fi. But in many ways it is messy genius. Well, maybe genius after a psychic break, and way too much religious exploration and hit after hit after hit of LSD. IT is weird, off beat and leaves you the reader in a trippy religious, dream-like, loop.
I'm going to have to chew over this one a bit more. Transmigration of Timothy Archer was brilliant in parts, very engaging, but there were also pieces..Show More » that just didn't quite fit. I'm willing to give PKD a lot of credit for attempting, so late in his life, a 'mainstream novel'. Ultimately, however, I couldn't quite swallow the whole book (oh me of little faith). I'm not sure if it was a dissatisfaction with it not living up to my expectation(s), or having too much of the novel actually exist there AND me just wanting more. I think part of it was Dick set the reader up. He wanted to yank the reader left, and then yank the reader right, then trip the reader, so we can see what it is like to live in his head as he is trying to make sense of his own mortality and faith.
I love that each of his three Valis/God/Gnostic books: Valis, The Divine Invasion, Transmigration of Timothy Archer are so different. For me, the structural and style differences in these books allowed PKD creative room to explore his big religious themes: God, faith, salvation, love, fate, compassion, the search for identity, knowledge, etc, from as many sides and angles as possible.
Bishop Archer describes the book's central quandary when he says:
"My point," Tim said, "is that if the Logia predate Jesus by two hundred years, then the Gospels are suspect, we have no evidence that Jesus was God, very God, God incarnate, and therefore the basis of our religion is gone. Jesus simply becomes a teacher representing a particular Jewish sect that ate and drank some kind of – well, whatever it was, the anokhi, and it made them immortal."
PKD doubles down when Bishop Archer finds out that the anokhi is a psychedelic mushroom out of which the Zadokites made a broth and a bread. The Zadokites drank the broth (blood) and ate the bread (body). Thus, Dick essentially turned early Christianity into a secret mushroom cult. So, in this novel Jesus (and his apostles) becomes dope dealers and smugglers. Throw into this reincarnation, mysticism, drugs, a ton of 70s music, cars, Berkeley, etc., and you get the raw and messy PKD working hard to both mess with your head and sort it all out. I'm still trying to decide what he really wanted to do, and what he actually ended up doing to me.