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The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (VALIS Trilogy #3)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,261 Ratings  ·  208 Reviews
The final book in Philip K. Dick’s VALIS trilogy, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer brings the author’s search for the identity and nature of God to a close. The novel follows Bishop Timothy Archer as he travels to Israel, ostensibly to examine ancient scrolls bearing the words of Christ. But, more importantly, this leads him to examine the decisions he made during his ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Mariner Books (first published 1982)
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Lyn
Apr 13, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first thoughts about The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was what a terrible shame, what a great loss that Philip K. Dick died so young.

His voice had matured in the 80s but his imagination and his speculative genius was still very much intact and vibrant as in the 50s. My second thought was (and I have wondered this same thought after reading other books by him) why in the world was he not more popular in his own time.

He was ahead of his time, way ahead of his time. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinc
...more
Stuart
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer: Explores madness, suicide, faith, the occult
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Philip K Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth (1985) and VALIS (1981) were strange but moving attempts to make sense of his bizarre religious experiences in 1974 when a hyper-rational alien mind contacted him via a pink laser from space. He then wrote The Divine Invasion (1981) and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982), both loosely connected titles in the VALIS TRILOGY, although
...more
Robert
Jan 31, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some notes upon finishing the book.

This is NOT the third book in the "VALIS Trilogy". It is what the author says it is in What If Our World Is Their Heaven, a literary novel that took more out of him to write than four SF novels. He had something to get out about life in general, and his experience with Bishop James Pike in particular, and this is it, a thing in itself. There is nothing here that requires the kind of suspension of disbelief demanded by genre SF. All is derived from conventional
...more
Jamie
Jul 31, 2007 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweekers
see Dick. See Dick run. See Dick write about the sacred quest to escape one's body and transcend the narrow human perception of experience through the ongoing search for the essential logos via the ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms while retracing the steps of the Christ. (pant)
Darwin8u
Aug 28, 2013 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I'm going to have to chew over this one a bit more. Transmigration of Timothy Archer was brilliant in parts, very engaging, but there were also pieces that just didn't quite fit. I'm willing to give PKD a lot of credit for attempting, so late in his life, a 'mainstream novel'. Ultimately, however, I couldn't quite swallow the whole book (oh me of little faith). I'm not sure if it was a dissatisfaction with it not living up to my expectation(s), or having too much of the novel actually exist ther ...more
Maureen
Oct 28, 2010 Maureen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favourites, novels
wow. well, this is pretty fresh in my mind, and it's been a couple of weeks. that doesn't surprise me though because the ideas that dick toyed with in his last cycle of books are to me the most compelling, indeed the most disturbing and challenging to my mind. dick's narrator angel archer is one of his most resonant, matter-of-fact, and yes, human. she is a rare accomplishment in terms of his development of a female character, though this may well be because she has his own very human voice, or ...more
Peter
Sep 17, 2015 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine what it would be like to meet Philip K Dick at a dinner party in the mid 70's. He seems to be the person who would dominate a conversation, but in a good way. Filled with ideas, stories, convoluted connections and theories. After a few drinks I'd think "This guy is a genius!". But then when I woke up the next morning, I'm not sure if any of it would make any sense, but still I'd invite him over again to hear what he had to say. What a character he must have been! What a loss that he died ...more
Fifthwindow
Jul 27, 2011 Fifthwindow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ferret
Jul 26, 2007 Ferret rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I was surprised by the tone of the book, which is not typical for Dick, when I started reading. But as I adjusted to it, I really started to like it. There is an honesty and a nakedness to Angel Archer's narration that is startling and difficult, yet simultaneously extremely charming. You can't help but love Angel, not in any sort of physical way but in a deep emotional way.

Unlike Horselover Fat in VALIS, who is also a stand-in for Dick the way Angel is in this novel, Angel is honest with the r
...more
Eric
Oct 12, 2008 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, the third part of a trilogy beginning with Valis, was nowhere near as mindblowingly wacky as Valis. Rather it was bitter and full of denial. The common thread between Valis and Transmigration is that someone is confronted with the reality of the supernatural, life after death, the resurrection, and they turn their back on it. The major problem in Transmigration is the coldness of the narrator. It sucks to finish reading this book, because even when confronted with everything she has w ...more
T4ncr3d1
Terza e ultima variazione sul tema del divino che incontra l'umano, La trasmigrazione di Timothy Archer è anche l'ultimo romanzo compiuto di Dick, arrestato nella sua produzione letteraria da una morte prematura. Eppure salta all'occhio la singolare coincidenza: proprio lui, che tutta la vita aveva cercato di affermarsi come scrittore mainstream, senza successo, ripiegando quindi su una più renumerativa produzione fantascientifica, all'apice della sua ultima grande opera abbandona per sempre la ...more
Martin Hernandez
La obra final de Philip K. DICK es una bella declaración acerca de la espiritualidad y la pérdida de seres queridos. No contiene una sola frase que sea de ciencia ficción, todo lo contrario. Otra característica inesperada es que el narrador es un personaje femenino, siendo, hasta donde recuerdo, el único caso entre los escritos de DICK. La novela está bellamente escrita, es clara y directa, a diferencia de "VALIS" y "The Divine Invasion", con las que esta obra integra una trilogía. Al tiempo ...more
Darryl
Oct 23, 2008 Darryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Erin
PDK's swan song, as it turned out. It is also his most life-affirming book he ever wrote. Part biographical, part literary fiction and part paranormal mystery and 100% Masterpiece, this book is told from the perspective of a woman, something Dick had never done before. That he pulls it off so easily is a testament to the narrative powers that Dick possessed. Sadly, he died weeks after completing this outstanding book. The plot twist is particularly to die for.
James
Apr 26, 2016 James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A criticism often levelled at Dick is that his female characters are badly written, and it’s hard to deny it. Particularly in his earlier work, the female characters, when they exist at all, are an amalgamation of every dreadful trope regarding women in popular fiction. They are poorly developed, flimsy. They are nagging wives, whores, and addicts. The lecturer who took the SF module I did at uni (we read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which is a fairly tame offender) pointed to his succe ...more
Rachel
Jan 25, 2008 Rachel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English majors at Cal State
Shelves: literature
This book is totally different from any other PKD I've read. I'm not an expert on his writings, but this was comparitively not really weird enough, exciting enough, interesting enough, or sci-fi enough for me. The main character (narrator) was curiously absent and difficult to identify with. She just seemed invisible, like she could have been left out and the book would have been essentially the same. Timothy Archer was kind of an interesting character, but I had a hard time digesting all the li ...more
Jlawrence
May 06, 2009 Jlawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first and last chapters of this book are strong enough that they redeem some of the uneven writing and plotting of the middle. In fact, the first chapter is the single best piece of writing by PKD that I've been exposed to so far. I loved its female narrator, Angel Archer, as PKD always seemed to struggle to pull off fully nuanced female characters before, but Angel is a convincing, complexly-drawn personality. Also notable for being the most seemingly skeptical, 'down-to-earth' take on PKD' ...more
Daniel Parks
Apr 04, 2014 Daniel Parks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dick was struggling to understand something during this final period of his tragically brief life. As such, his work suffered from both too much and too little focus. His attempts to turn philosophical and existential musing into an entertaining work of fiction fall short of the mark with this one I believe (unlike VALIS, which I think anyone will agree is the best of his final "trilogy"). Still, as with everything the man wrote, there IS a great deal of entertainment value here, and this is an ...more
Elliot
Mar 14, 2016 Elliot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not quite my favourite PDK novel, however, it is one of his best written. In this book, PDK does something different.

In contrast to his usual hijinks of contrasting and muddying realities, he turns himself upside down. It is about a woman, instead of a man. It is about how humans thinks of the fantastic, instead of what the fantastic thinks of humanity. Discussions of - not living out - ideas. Everybody is tired from the high octane confusion of living.

The counterculture is dead. The orthodoxy
...more
Richard Behrens
May 29, 2015 Richard Behrens rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been nigh on 20 years since I read this book, and I feel as if I have just experienced it for the first time. Recently, I've been reading a lot about early (First Century) Christianity, so revisiting this Philip K. Dick classic helped me see it in theological context for the first time. I had read two books about Bishop Pike (the man Timothy Archer was based on) including one account of his disturbing death, and those helped as well. But even without the Christological and biographical ba ...more
Anuraag
Oct 13, 2014 Anuraag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most amazing coincidence is when you pick up a book which you not just wanted to read, but needed to, at that particular time and place. I picked up this book because the cover vaguely described it to be a book about "faith and belief". Keeping the hollow and naive description by the publisher aside, the fact that this was Dick's last ever published book, and a non- sci-fi at that, was enough to convince me to read it.

Go read this if you have ever felt tormented by lack(or abundance)
...more
William
Aug 16, 2014 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my blog: In the first chapter of Romans, the Apostle Paul warns about the consequences of unbelief, saying that those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” risk the sure wrath of God.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man…And just
...more
Lumux Mid-Night
Good book. based of real life events of Bishop Pike an influential episcopal Bishop in the Bay Area circa 1960's. The one thing that ruined the book for me was a scene that takes place on the Bay bridge in which the character exchange some racist banter. It took me a while to get back into the book. Otherwise a good read, and refreshing to see a PKD character written from a feminine POV. I don't know, I guess PKD was a product of his times and the remarks made in the scene were acceptable then, ...more
Gerry Beane
I read this book based on a suggestion made by the ethno-pharmacologist/philosopher Terence McKenna in a lecture that was posted on You Tube. His suggestion was made in the context of a discussion about psycho-active mushrooms. In the book, Timothy Archer, an Episcopalian Arch Bishop reads about the discovery of some ancient transcripts in the Holy Lands. Based on translations, it appears to Archer that all of Christian teaching had been written a couple of hundred years before Christ. The impli ...more
Tom Bensley
Mar 05, 2014 Tom Bensley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Everything worth knowing can be found in a book" (VALIS and later novels, 729)

In a Philip K Dick book, absolutely. The man's knowledge was vast and incredible, especially about all things religion and philosophy. But it was also a desperate kind of knowledge. Without going too much into Dick's personal life, it's worth noting he had a few questions about, um, pretty much the nature of existence itself. Not like, daydreaming or light musings, though. Dick was seized by religious and philosophica
...more
Paul A.
Apr 22, 2014 Paul A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To understand this novel and VALIS i think it is important to:

- Have gnostic concepts.
- Know about Philip Dicks life.

If you do not have the above requisites probably you will get bored at the second chapter and you will hate ones of the greater writers of S XX.


This is not a SF writing, is more like the end of a quest, and it ends accepting the fact "I am that I am" and not Yah, just a human being. are we our ideas? Someone else's ideas? are we what we believe? or just we are what we are? This is
...more
Zulu Adams
Aug 05, 2014 Zulu Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This really should never have been lumped with the VALIS and The Divine Invasion as a trilogy. It makes little sense seeing as it doesn't really deal with VALIS, the entity of those two stories. It shouldn't even be called science fiction. It does deal with religious ideas but the whole story is set in the real world and there is nothing concrete that goes into the actual fantastical, other than a couple of characters coming up with wild theories - the narrator spends most of the book shooting t ...more
B.P.
May 03, 2015 B.P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had previously rated this at 5 stars, but upon second read had to downgrade the rating. Why? Because there are some really long and boring passages & some questionably sexist parts in the book. What Philip K. Dick succeeds in doing extremely well, is writing about loss, sadness, belief, faith and interpretation of madness. Those to me are very interesting themes.
Kat
Nov 13, 2008 Kat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of my very favorite books, since way back when I first read it in 97 or 98. Not really "sci-fi", and although it's technically the third book in the Valis trilogy, you don't need to read the others to read this, and there aren't any spoilers for the first two books, it's standalone. Deals with a lot of the emotions around people you love dying.
Paige Ellen Stone
I believe this is as close to "straight talk" that we readers will ever get from PKD. The description, plot summary, whatever, available here on Safari or on Amazon tells enough for potential readers to know. I believe this is as close as PKD comes to describing his "supernatural" experience. The book is brilliant and gets under the skin of the reader. It will stay with me for a long time. PKD does a great job of conveying his sense of human being and the choices we all face in terms of life and ...more
Jon Frankel
Jan 26, 2015 Jon Frankel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
BACK TO BERKELEY
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is the most conventional of the three Valis books. In it PKD achieves something he was after his whole life: a successful, serious, interesting, mostly controlled contemporary novel. It is a first person narrative, told by a woman named Angel who is married to the mentally ill son of the Episcopal Bishop of California, Timothy Archer. It is a distinctly California tale of crossed love, drugs and obsession, and is based on PKD’s friendship with
...more
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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Other Books in the Series

VALIS Trilogy (3 books)
  • VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)
  • The Divine Invasion

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“No single thing abides; and all things are fucked up.” 229 likes
“Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it.” 122 likes
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