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Valis
Author:
Pub Year:
Source:
Read: 2018-05-12
Last Update: 2018-05-12

Five Sentence Abstract:

The story starts off slow, building the characters sufficiently, although I personally do not connect with any of them. There are drugs (of all kinds) and passing mentions of The Grateful Dead and Timothy Leary, set before a bleak, if not insane, backdrop of suicides, cancer, and death. Subliminal messages come to the characters in the form of movies, and music, and lasers, culminating in the revelation of a mind controlled 2 year old, that just might be God. It is heavy on alternative/Eastern philosophy/religion, quoting ancient texts extensively while the characters attempt to make sense out of what is happening. Reality is questioned, time is distorted; are we living in a hologram world of pure information or is our fearful cast bat-shit crazy?

Thoughts:

The first part, up to chapter 9, seems totally random to me, with no real story, told in a 1st AND 3rd person view. If nothing else it developed the characters.

You can't really be sure where it is heading, but it feels like it is going somewhere. The rambling nature seemed to give a feel of schizophrenia, the "insanity" of Horselover Fat.

There is tons of theology, quotes from all kind of ancient texts, an off the wall exegesis, and generally more insanity feeling beliefs bandied about. While there is a heavy emphasis on Christianity, it is mixed judiciously with Eastern concepts; something we see prevalent in the New Age movements promotion of Buddhism , Hinduism, and like ilk. This comes in front of a backdrop of suicide, depression, and cancer. At this point the whole thing really began to feel quite tedious.

Interestingly enough, there is a line where it is shown that The Grateful Dead got Gloria (who commits suicide) to use drugs as well as an honorable mention of Tim Leary. If Phillip K. Dick wasn't "in on it" (Changing Images of Man etc) then he surely had his finger on the pulse of what was happening.

The promotion of drugs and pseudo religion/philosophical absurdities makes me think he was part of the cultural change that started, in earnest, in the sixties.

It begins to pick up, the story starts coming together in chapter 9, where VALIS is introduced. Well, "come together" might be too strong a statement. It simply makes the insanity of the background, the characters, more sensible, if any of it can be called sensible.

!! SPOILER ALERT !!

VALIS is some kind of god/technology that controls minds. There is a movie, produced by musicians, that alludes to subliminal messages being deployed via media. Of course it is couched in science fiction, with pink laser beams transmitting data into your head, giving you cancer, but it doesn't seem a stretch to see it as a fictionalized MK Ultra.

It was interesting to see that a young child (2 years old) was a "vessel" for VALIS. Was this to show that the mind control is being targeted toward children?

While it is not even concluded, there are ample discussions of time disruptions and the fact that the world is made up of only information; what appears before us is merely a hologram. This is consistent with the holographic universe theory (nonsense IMHO) of today.

The end was more interested than the beginning, it moved faster, but still, I did not really like the rambling nature of the story, although I can see the effect, insanity, it was trying to produce. The narrator, Horselover Fat in the 3rd person and Phil in the 1st, was insane. Really this wasn't very hidden, there are less than subtle hints in the first half that make it a foregone conclusion in my mind.

!! END SPOILERS !!

In my opinion it was not a great story, but at least it was better than the last Dick novel I read, Simulacra. If you are knowledgeable when it comes to MKUltra and similar programs it will be interesting to read, otherwise, if you are only looking for a sci-fi story, skip it.

Exceptional Excerpts:

Glora [sic] was not even committing her irrational act rationally. Thank you, Tim Leary, Fat thought. You and your promotion of the joy of expanded consciousness through dope.

'But that's why I started on drugs,' Gloria said. 'Because of the Grateful Dead?'

How much else is there in VALIS that we didn't pick up on? Pick up on consciously. There's no telling what it's doing to our unconscious minds; the goddam film may be—' Kevin grimaced. 'Firing all kinds of information at us, visually and auditorily. I've got to make a tape of the sound track of that flick;

Notes:

Table of Contents

Chapter 01
Chapter 02
Chapter 03
Chapter 04
Chapter 05
Chapter 06
Chapter 07
Chapter 08
Chapter 09
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Chapter 01

page 2:

page 5:

page 7:

Chapter 02

Chapter 03

Chapter 04

page 32:

Chapter 05

Chapter 06

Chapter 07

page 84:

Chapter 08

Chapter 09

page 130:

chapter 10

chapter 11

page 147:
page 153:
page 159:
page 164:

“Everything is taped,” Mini said. “Sophia is surrounded by audio and video recording equipment that automatically monitors her constantly. Not for her protection, of course; VALIS protects her

chapter 12

page 172:










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