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Valis and Later Novels: A Maze of Death / Valis / the Divine Invasion / the Transmigration of Timothy Archer Hardcover – July 30, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530445
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Let me start off by saying this is not for people new to Dick: if you want to get one of the LOA volumes to see if you like him, get one of the first two volumes, four novels of the sixties or five novels of the sixties and seventies. This one is more for people who are already a fan and want to become acquainted with his later, weirder writings. A Maze of Death and The Divine Invasion are closer to his traditional stuff, but VALIS and Transmigration are much different. They're just as good as his other stuff, but not very good as starting points. However, if you've read and enjoyed him, it's very interesting to see his religious views (or lack of) in VALIS, and to see he can write something other than Sci-Fi with Transmigration.
I highly recommend buying this collection: It would be cheaper than buying the individual novels and because of the marvelous binding it will surely last.
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Format: Hardcover
Philip K. Dick spent most of his life relegated to cult status, often with most of his novels out-of-print. I remember trying to find his work in the 70's and 80's. Back then it seemed far-fetched, paranoid and dystopian in nature, but awesome just the same. Today a lot of his work seems drawn from the headlines of current newspapers and each year his work is held in higher esteem. Yes, we've reached the point of critical overload, where, if you haven't read some of his work, you should. Dick is essential reading for the 21st century.

I'm not sure if I completely agree with the previous reviewer about the need to start with one of the previous volumes. With few exceptions, you can't go wrong with any of Dick's novels. And none of the exceptions are present in any of the Library of the Americas volumes. Perhaps the best idea is to pre-order the box set. If you've never read him before, you are in for a real treat. I envy you. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
The three Library of America editions of Philip K. Dick's work contain all of his his best material, with only a few notable exclusions. Valis and Later Novels, however, just might contain his very best. Besides Maze of Death, published in 1970, the others are his three final novels before he died in 1982. Sometimes referred to as the Valis Trilogy, these three loosely connected novels represent a huge leap forward in terms of Dick's prose, as he was able to dedicate more time to these novels compared to earlier in his career when he was forced to pump out a novel every 6 months to make ends meet. These stories show him struggling with the events that shaped his life beginning in February of '74, in which he had a deeply spiritual "invasion of the mind," which Dick attributed at various times to God, aliens, the Soviets, and even a future version of himself.

Valis is Dick's attempt to explain what exactly happened to him in that time period. Structured within a semi-autobiographical framework, it is a mind-bending extrapolation of nearly everything going on in Dick's head at the time, and is considered by many, including me, to be his masterpiece. It even includes dozens of actual passages from the Exegesis, his reflections on the events of '2-3-74,' as Dick referred to it. Although people new to him may want to start with something else, every fan should read this and then proceed to be awe-struck. No other PKD novel has more of a "falling down the rabbit hole" vibe, not even Ubik or Three Stigmata.

The Divine Invasion takes these same ideas about God, or Valis, but structures them around a more traditional, futuristic framework. It asks the question, "What if God were living among us, as a human child?
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Format: Hardcover
I did not know about this author until recently. Dick combines an often cynical atmosphere in his stories with a little hope for a better world creeping in. He has a hope that some savior will save us from this corrupt world. His characters are often unhappy, but he adds a touch of sardonic humor to their situations. His settings are often in neurotic and narcissistic California.

I give 4 stars to A Maze of Death which has the theme of what is a dream and what is reality? Even though the characters live in a futuristic, high tech world, they still are not happy and they still have dangers and tragedies to deal with. These characters of the future have not improved their characters along with their technology.

I give Valis 5 stars because of its great, unforgettable character, Horselover Fat, which is Dick's mentally ill alter ego. I still find it amusing that Dick says that the one thing Horselover Fat should not do is help people because they will drag him down into their hole. Another funny statement was that he had befriended two bitches enamored with illness and death who are determined to drag other people who care about them into the grave with them. But towards the end of the story the clouds break up and glimmer of hope appears. But is this true hope or just madness?

I give The Divine Invasion three stars because it was only good in a few places and the plot jumps from two different scenes that eventually merge, which I found confusing at first. It is the failed sequel to Valis, in my opinion. I thought the humor fell flat, the theme was trite and hokey, and the cynicism too cold.
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