EJ Morgan's(aka Jami) "A Kindred Spirit" is an odyssey of sorts. Philip K. Dick and Bishop James Pike are superimposed guides on this incredible and sometimes hilarious journey. The hero is Niki, a journalist in Iowa who decides to take a leave of absence(a huge move) and embark on a more or less spiritual quest along with Pike and Phil. Niki ends up with a bunch of oddball characters in Albuquerque and the "land of enchantment." Koteen, a Native American shaman who lives in Arizona is especially moving and memorable. AKS is wry, dense, thought-provoking, and a great Phil Dickian journey. The book reads like a tapestry or maze with many layers which all come to a head in New Mex.
An interesting connection is Bishop Pike's mysterious death in the desert surrounding Phil's "2-3-74" experiences, something I hadn't heard before... AKS is dense but very readable which may be due to Phil's "hand"A Kindred Spirit in the composition. Packed with everything from Gnosticism, Native American rituals and ceremonies, seances, serendipities, and a smathering of interesting folks, AKS is a fun-filled ride, a romp. AKS comes full circle in its end with the healing of Niki's "ghost sickness" and the key which readers have all been waiting for... Read it and take the journey. Another chapter in the life(and afterlife) of PKD.
Dan Allen, author "Shasta and Me," musician, Denver.
This is a really fine novel. E.J. Morgan has written a first-rate story of a woman on a spiritual quest in 1982. Her protagonist, Niki Perceval, is hardly aware that she is on the road to enlightenment; all she really wants is to get out of Iowa. Lucky for Niki she has, all unbeknownst to her, a spiritual guide in the form of Philip K. Dick who resides in the afterlife and who is on a quest of his own. Of course Philip K. Dick fans will have an extra interest in this book. And Morgan treats Phil with respect yet also with great humor, fully aware of his very human foibles. But the heart of the book is Niki, a fully realized human being with whom one feels immediate empathy. It is her story and her book. She is a person the reader would love to know, and indeed will know quite well by the end of the novel. The 1982 zeitgeist is perfectly depicted in amazing detail. Niki's fictional journey unfolds within a good deal of actual events which gives the book a peculiar sense of being "real." I highly recommend "A Kindred Spirit." For PKD fans certainly. For anyone interested spiritual matters, too. And for anyone who wants to read a well-crafted, life-affirming and really quite funny story.
I must admit the author is a long-time friend but even so her grasp of the history and foundations of so many world religions amazed me! Combining a love of sci-fi (or at least of Phillip K. Dick), and her Dad's prophecy was a brilliant way of showing us what is real. My journey in reading AKS started with the author's soft touch description of Conservative co-worker, Bruce, when she said "he only knows how to deal in the tangible-if you can't see it, it's not there". There is a lot of Bruce in this reader, so I knew I was heading into an interesting, funny, frolic of a book. I particularly liked this comment in the book: "people perceive their religious experience differently. We all have our filters." Obviously some of the most profound insights were in her final pages:
"It's an inner journey, all about perception" "It's up to us to find Peace" "We are all seeking clarity and peace" "Peace and Love is what's really real"
She wrote a book with a great message along with sections that made me laugh out loud. She nailed it.
I felt some trepidation when I first opened this book, since it uses my husband as a main character, but I was delighted by the story that it told.
It's a fascinating read, a real page turner, and yet it gives you plenty to think about. The author manages to blend story with philosophy so seamlessly that you barely notice that you're being edified, as well as entertained.
These days I usually put down a book after the first ten pages or so, but I could not put down A KINDRED SPIRIT.
This vision quest through magic, early Christianity and the mid-twentieth century is fun, thought-provoking and sometimes frightening.
Jami Morgan's A Kindred Spirit is a loving homage to the late, great SF writer Philip K Dick. Here you'll encounter the man himself, in spirit form, trying to compel young reporter Niki Perceval on her own spiritual quest. The novel reads like a magical mystery tour of PKD's themes - so you'll find pink beams of light, gods in the gutter, psychedelic experiences and a whole lot more besides. It's apocalyptic, it's metaphysical, but most importantly it's a whole lot of fun. A Kindred Spirit is perfect for those who are familiar with PKD's novels and are looking for another spin of the cosmic wheel of fortune. I highly recommend it.
I've read this fine novel from e.j. Morgan and this is an engaging and even important book in the understanding and incorporation of the life of Philip K. Dick that Jami Morgan twists into this amusing and engrossing tale. For a longer review, please go to: [...]
My favorite Philip K. Dick book is Valis and when I began reading this novel I used that book like a guide post in following along with the path of the main character who has an apt surname of Perceval. There were other narrative stylings like using the names of Philip K. Dick stories in the text and a code on the back of the book which I have little idea how to solve. But the further I read into the novel, the less I noticed these because I became involved in the plot.
The novel follows the physical and spiritual journey of Nikki who guided by the sprit of Philip K. Dick goes to New Mexico and California to find the missing manuscript that was in Dick's safe when his house was broken into. I loved the meshing of fact and fiction in this book and the scenes of Philip K. Dick's death and the break-in of his house are written beautifully.
The level of detail in the book makes it seem very dense and also gave me the sense that this is an autobiographical novel or at least one which describes parts of the author's life which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. The elements used from the author's life make the book seem very realistic when the strange events are happening to the main character but also box the writer into getting on the page exactly what happened to them which I think bogged down the novel.
The novel was a slow start for me and then picked up when Nikki was deciding to start her journey and then bogged down again until she was in New Mexico and picked up more and more coinciding with her revelations. I also think the first part of the novel concerning Dr. Gribbin didn't need to be included. I believe the need to get everything down like it happened caused these areas of slow narrative where there are many questions, few answers for the reader and fewer for Nikki.
Overall, the book is well worth the purchase and the time that it takes to read it. I recommend this but more so only after reading Valis especially because it takes on much more meaning connected to that work and Dick's later two novels. There was real depth in the end of the novel and not a cop out or sleight of hand that I was afraid may occur. I didn't feel cheated by the ending.
I want to love this book but I only really like it a lot and I'm very glad that I read it. My preference on the length of books is about 200 pages and this one (over 300 pages) had some parts that I think could have been cut to streamline the narrative. I'm glad that she wrote it even though it is geared in some ways at a specialized audience and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to read it.