June 14, 2007

Introduction to the end of Philip K Dick

"We knew that apostolistic Christians armed with stunningly sophisticated technology had broken through the space-time barrier into our world, and, with the aid of a vast information-processing instrument had basically deflected human history"

"We" are three characters:

- Kevin, who serves a supporting role
- Horselover Fat, the main character, who experiences suicidal depression, what he thinks is an encounter with God, and writes a book for the new New Testament
- Philip K Dick. He begins as narrator describing Fat, drops into first person to reveal that he is in fact Fat, goes back to third person objective description of Fat, breaks into first person analysis of Fat's theories, reveals that he is in fact Philip K Dick, discusses events involving both him and Fat, quotes dialog involving Fat, Phil, and friends, and is later petrified when confronted in conversation with the fact that he and Fat are the same.

This book sports the most complex relationship of character and narrator I've ever seen. Perhaps to highlight this artistic triumph, Dick describes a movie in which an artist appears in a movie under his stage name, in which the character's name is his real name, and which he both wrote and directed. It's a great analog to the book itself.

The first half is hardly science fiction. I could barely follow the theology, philosophy, and psychology. It presents the massive theoretical model for Dick's universe, and references works and religions I've frankly never heard of.

Amidst the narrator's analysis of Fat come glimpses of a sci-fi explanation for all of religion. And then Dick, his holographic-self Fat, and Kevin go to see the movie. It meshes with Fat's description of his godly encounter, and we launch into the sci-fi half of the book.

Valis by Philip K Dick

Written at June 14, 2007 6:20 AM
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