The Divine Invasion Mass Market Paperback – January 1, 1982
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This book drops references to western hermeticism and assumes a modest background in Kabbalah and Greek mythology. It reminds me of a Charles Williams (CW) novel, in how supernatural forces enter ordinary life (ordinary _future_ life at least -- with space colonies, flying cars, and vibro-lutes). CW goes through an impressive effort to stick to a _message_ of Christian orthodoxy, despite a _medium_ of the occult. PKD has no such attachment to orthodoxy, but this frees him to present the Good News in entirely new ways. He uses the _language_ of Christian orthodoxy (among other "doxies"), to convey its hopefulness, without doctrinal attachments.
It's SLIGHTLY more coherent, SLIGHTLY more palatable than VALIS, but still pretty strange meat at the end of your fork here. He was taking his personal experiences and manias and spinning the wildest, most imaginative tales out of them. He has real insight into the nature of religion and into the truths that helped to create these myths, and that makes the book interesting.
On a technical level, this is probably one of his stronger works. Anyone familiar with PKD will acknowledge that for his skills as a storyteller, he was terrible when it came to putting together elegant paragraphs or poetic sentences, as well as he's tendency to write poorly executed dialogue/character interactions. "The Divine Invasion", while not perfect, shows tremendous improvement in Dick's abilities.
Violence: from what I recall, there is only one truly violent scene in the book, and it's essentially a flashback of a car accident.
Sex: Nothing extreme, but it's obvious that Dick liked dark-haired women with large breasts.
If you're a fan of Philip K. Dick, science fiction, or religion, "The Divine Invasion" might be just the book you were looking for.
This book, while set in the far future, does continue the specific themes introduced in _Valis_, and reference is made back to some of the specific characters. You see, this is the time when VALIS, the Logos, the greater face of God, or whatever name you choose to limit it by, breaks through into our "black iron prison" to reclaim it and banish the Empire and the black magician behind it.
I admit that the story takes 50 or 60 pages to get up to speed, but by that time the IDEAS that are the real value of P.D.K.'s writing begin to surface. For instance, the idea of the "Hermetic Transform" and how the microcosm and macrocossm can interpenetrate and become One- and how to God time can run backwards. Pretty deep stuff compared to most of the semi-literate pap that is published nowdays.
What really leaped out at me though was the fact that Dick wrote of the Torah as an interactive, holographic, computer code. It predicts the future because it is the blueprint for creation that even God refers back to. He wrote this in 1981- _The Bible Code_ wasn't published until 1997. Talk about being "ahead of the curve."
Top international reviews
I had high hopes for this and very much wanted to like the novel which was why I kept reading in the hope it would begin to improve in my eyes. I was hoping for the kind of profound philosophical observation of which Dick is clearly capable but found almost none of it. The only part that interested me was that was the idea that Belial merely enables us to see people in the world in the worst kind of way. That singular, small observation was pretty much all I thought worthwhile taking from the entire novel. Also of great frustration was the confused structure of the narrative, mainly the fact that a large part of the novel flips between the present in which God is returning to earth as a small child and one of the characters reliving his memories whilst his body is in cryogenic sleep awaiting a new spleen, which does no favours for the plot at all.