Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Valis,one of the last books PKD ever wrote, offers an intensely personal (and weird!) look into the complexities of Dick's mind. His is a mind intent on discovering the true nature of religion and it's manifestations in the real world. Valis is a theology that attempts to find common ground among the world's religions by suggesting the existence of a higher power that sends it's message to Earth through the gods and leaders of the world's religions. This is just the beginning as Dick offers all sorts of explanations for what we perceive as our surroundings and the universe from information as living plasmate that penetrates every person to an ongoing battle between the forces of good (Valis) and an evil empire that has existed since the beginning of time. If you think this sounds crazy, then you're right. It is!

Based on personal experiences that happened to Dick in March of 1974, Valis is much more than a science fiction story. It is a complex view of the universe that appears to come from the mind of a deranged mental patient, obsessed with helping victims who can't help themselves and is intent on killing himself. The twisted part of Valis is that it makes more and more sense as the book goes on, drawing the reader into this insane way of thinking. While there are delusional hallucinations throughout Valis, much of Dick's world view is derived from ancient wisdom and religious beliefs. He draws many references from pre-Christian mysticism and Greek Gnosticism. Just as is Radio Free Albemuth, the reader often wonders which parts of Valis are Dick's real-life experiences. Valis is written in Dick's first person voice as he narrates about Horselover Fat, his alter-ego. His schizophrenia plays a major role in this novel, representing Dick's lack of faith as he searches for God. Further dissolving the distinction between truth and fiction, Dick discusses his own novels and his writing career as the events unfold.

Divine intervention, extraterrestrial communication and conspiracy theories all serve to lay the foundation for the insane world that is Valis. Journey inside the schizophrenic mind of PKD and Horselover Fat as they attempt to find answers to the questions of human existence, the benevolence of god and the future of the universe. In the end Dick asks the ultimate question, "Truth or fiction?".