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The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick

The Divine Invasion

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: VALIS Trilogy (2)

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Genialer Grundgedanke ( )
  ufkls | Jun 20, 2017 |
Philip K Dick describes the ultimate, perfect technology with which to manifest a book - the hologram:
"After dinner he [Emmanuel, nick-named Manny] spent some time with the holoscope, studying Elias's most precious possession: the Bible expressed as layers at different depths within the hologram, each layer according to age. The total structure of Scripture formed, then, a three-dimensional cosmos that could be viewed from any angle and its contents read. According to the tilt of the axis of observation, differing messages could be extracted. Thus Scripture yielded up an infinitude of knowledge that ceaselessly changed. It became a wondrous work of art, beautiful to the eye, and incredible in its pulsations of color. Throughout it red and gold pulsed, with strands of blue.
"The color symbolism was not arbitrary but extended back in time to the early medieval Romanesque paintings. Red always represented the Father, Blue the color of the Son, and gold, of course, that of the Holy Spirit. Green stood for the new life of the elect; violet the color of mourning; brown the color of endurance and suffering; white, the color of light; and finally, black,the color of the Powers of Darkness, of death and sin.
"All these colors could be found in the hologram formed by the Bible along the temporal axis. In conjunction with sections of text, complex messages formed, per-mutated, re-formed. Emmanuel never tired of gazing into the hologram; for him as well as Elias it was the master hologram, surpassing all others. The Christian-Islamic Church did not approve of transmuting the Bible into a color-coded hologram, and forbade the manufacture and sale. Hence Elias had constructed this hologram himself without approval.
"It was an open hologram. New information could be fed into it. Emmanuel wondered about that but he said nothing. He sensed a secret. Elias could not answer him, so he did not ask.
"What he could do, however, was type out on the keyboard linked to the hologram a few crucial words of Scripture, whereupon the hologram would align itself from the vantage point of the citation, along all its spacial axes. Thus the entire text of the Bible would be focused in relationship to the typed-out information.
"'What if I fed something new into it?' he had asked Elias one day.
"Elias had said severely, 'Never do that.'
"'But it's technically possible.'
"'It is not done.'
"About that the boy wondered often.
"He knew, of course, why the Christian-Islamic Church did not allow the transmuting of the Bible into a color-coded hologram. If you learned how you could gradually tilt the temporal axis, the axis of true depth, until successive layers were superimposed and a vertical message - a new message - could be read out. In this way you entered into a dialogue with Scripture; it became alive. It became a sentient organism that was never twice the the same. The Christian-Islamic Church, of course, wanted both the Bible and the Koran frozen forever. If Scripture escaped out from under the church its monopoly departed.
"Superimposition was the critical factor. And this sophisticated superimposition could only be achieved in a hologram. And yet he knew that once, long ago, Scripture had been deciphered this way. Elias, when asked, was reticent about the matter. The boy let the topic drop." (69-71)
  Mary_Overton | Nov 17, 2016 |
Whether you enjoy him or not, I think that it'd be difficult to argue that our dear, departed Philip K. didn't write some of the most jarringly original novels that ever made it to print. From a certain perspective, "The Divine Invasion" covers a lot ground that will be familiar to PKD fans: psychic meddling, conspiracies, an obsession with multiple realities. (Really was there ever a writer who got more millage out of the idea that life could be but a dream?) Even so, "The Divine Invasion's inclusion of overtly religious and supernatural elements sets it apart from most SF: this isn't Asimov imagining a religious pseudo-future for science; the author's interest in religion-as-such seems genuine and well-informed. It's obvious that Dick spent a lot of time with some very arcane texts and little-known heresies while writing this one. Folklore, Gnostic musings, and obscure Jewish creation stories abound here, but they're more than just window dressing. The fact that they're essential to the book's plot sometimes gives one the impression that PKD's doing his darndest to invent a genre that might be termed "hard fantasy." Esoteric as a lot of this might seem, much of "The Divine Invasion," which also has its share of interstellar space travel and cryogenic suspension, comes off as shockingly immediate. A two or three decades worth of spooky little kids in horror movies didn't quite prepare me for the decidedly unnerving spectacle of two ten year olds, Manny, our Christ analogue, and his mysterious, playfully seductive friend Zina discussing the fate of the universe in a run-down special-needs school.

The plot of "The Divine Invasion" is, in places frustratingly twisty, and, this being PKD, you the author's not too keen to give the question "is this really happening" a straight answer. I suspect that many committed PKD fans will have to read this one more than once to figure out exactly what's going on. Still, at the heart of the book there's a serious theological debate about the potential character flaws of the Old Testament God and the role of play in His creation. The theology in this one is almost entirely Jewish: Jesus barely gets a cameo appearance here. But as the novel nears its end, Dick makes a convincing case that evil tends to be dead serious: a distinct lack of a sense of humor is one of true evil's hallmarks. Of course, that's you could say that that's a typically Phildickian argument, but it's one worth taking away. I should track down the first book in this trilogy next, just to catch up. ( )
2 vote TheAmpersand | Nov 3, 2016 |
During the run of Lost, some fans and reviewers listed books that somehow related to Lost, either directly or tangentially. This classic book was one of them. This book was merely an example of how bad science fiction could actually be. This book was similar to stories by Vonnegut - some of the worst stories in sci-fi history. Praised for their satire and humor, they merely relied on shock value, crude scatological language, and sexual references. One word - trash. ( )
  kewaynco | Apr 10, 2016 |
After a fatal car accident on Earth, Herb Asher is placed into cryonic suspension as he waits for a spleen replacement. Clinically dead, Herb experiences lucid dreams while in suspended animation and relives the last six years of his life.

In the past, Herb lived as a recluse in an isolated dome on a remote planet in the binary star system, CY30-CY30B. Yah, a local divinity of the planet in exile from Earth, appears to Herb in a vision as a burning flame, and forces him to contact his sick female neighbor, Rybys Rommey, who happens to be terminally ill with multiple sclerosis and pregnant with Yah's child.

With the help of the immortal soul of Elijah, who takes the form of a wild beggar named Elias Tate, Herb agrees to become Rybys's legal husband and father of the unborn "savior". Together they plan to smuggle the six-month pregnant Rybys back to Earth, under the pretext of seeking help for Rybys' medical condition at a medical research facility. After being born in human form, Yah plans to confront the fallen angel Belial, who has ruled the Earth for 2000 years since the fall of Masada in the first century CE. Yah's powers, however, are limited by Belial's dominion on Earth, and the four of them must take extra precautions to avoid being detected by the forces of darkness.

Things do not go as planned. "Big Noodle", Earth's A.I. system, warns the ecclesiastical authorities in the Christian-Islamic church and Scientific Legate about the divine "invasion" and countermeasures are prepared. A number of failed attempts are made to destroy the unborn child, all of them thwarted by Elijah and Yah. After successfully making the interstellar journey back to Earth and narrowly avoiding a forced abortion, Rybys and Herb escape in the nick of time, only to be involved in a fatal taxi crash, probably due to the machinations of Belial. Rybys dies from her injuries sustained in the crash, and her unborn son Emmanuel (Yah in human form) suffers brain damage from the trauma but survives. Herb is critically injured and put into cryonic suspension until a spleen replacement can be found. Baby Emmanuel is placed into a synthetic womb, but Elias Tate manages to sneak Emmanuel out of the hospital before the church is able to kill him.

Six years pass. In a school for special children, Emmanuel meets Zina, a girl who also seems to have similar skills and talents, but acts as a surrogate teacher to Emmanuel. For four years, Zina helps Emmanuel regain his memory (the brain damage caused amnesia) and discover his true identity as Yah, creator of the universe.

When he's ready, Zina shows Emmanuel her own parallel universe. In this peaceful world, organized religion has little influence, Rybys Rommey is still alive and married to Herb Asher, and Belial is only a kid goat living in a petting zoo.

In an act of kindness, Zina and Emmanuel liberate the goat-creature from his cage, momentarily forgetting that the animal is Belial. The goat-creature finds Herb Asher and attempts to retain control of the world by possessing him and convincing him that Yahweh's creation is an ugly thing that should be shown for what it really is. Eventually Herb is saved by Linda Fox, a young singer whom he loves and who is his own personal Savior; she and the goat-creature meet and she kills it, defeating Belial. He finally discovers that this meeting happens over again for everyone in the world, and whether they choose Belial or their Savior decides if they find salvation.

1 vote bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679734457, Paperback)

n The Divine Invasion, Philip K. Dick asks: What if God--or a being called Yah--were alive and in exile on a distant planet? How could a second coming succeed against the high technology and finely tuned rationalized evil of the modern police state? The Divine Invasion "blends Judaism, Kabalah, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity into a fascinating fable of human existence" (West Coast Revew of Books).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)

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What if God--or a being called Yah--were alive and in exile on a distant planet? How could a second coming succeed against the high technology and finely tuned rationalized evil of the modern police state? --P. [4] of cover.

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