Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer” as Want to Read:
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (VALIS Trilogy #3)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  4,439 ratings  ·  170 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
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
Jul 31, 2007 Jamie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
Oct 23, 2008 Darryl rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 25, 2008 Rachel rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
Daniel Parks
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
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)
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
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
"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
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is the final volume in the Valis trilogy—previously there was Valis [volume 1] and The Divine Invasion [volume 2]. There is also Radio Free Albemuth but it is not strictly part of the trilogy—there may be some debate about this. The sense that this is a trilogy could be debated as well. The books do not overlap narratively and the only element that does is the concept of VALIS.

VALIS stands for, Vast Active Living Intelligence System. The ‘system’ stands for
Paul A.
To understand this novel and VALIS i think it is important to:

- Have gnostic concepts.
- Know about Philip Dick´s 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 i
Zulu Adams
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
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.
La última novela de uno de los grandes de la CF. Un relato muy rico en subtancia, citas eruditas, filosofía y personajes desequilibrados. No sólo por la locura, que al que más, al que menos, toca inevitablemente (Como saben, eso viene desde el autor y puede ser el reflejo de cualquier realidad, de todos modos) sino también por la perturbadora brillantez o el amor que tortura y destruye el balance. Es paradójico que uno de los personajes más lúcidos, menos perdidos en la lectura de los hechos, se ...more
This is an interesting PKD book in many ways. The problems and questions are not for some other world or time, no in this book PKD allows the reader to see the dark corners of the authors soul. Through the female protagonist Angel Archer, PKD asks questions of what it is to be. His answers are at times provoking,at times confused, but they always lead to more questions rather than answers. His researched thoughts were undeniable in there earnestness. As I did not like VALIS, I found this, the su ...more
Sep 05, 2014 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Ben
Dick’s last novel, and in my opinion one of his better ones. The story is told by a woman, Angel Archer, who becomes inadvertently responsible for the romance between Timothy Archer, an Episcopal bishop and her father-in-law, and Kirsten Lundborg, a disturbed woman with a schizophrenic son, Bill. Eventually Angel’s husband, Jeff Archer, the bishop’s son, commits suicide, and so does Kirsten.

Early in the novel, Jeff starts doing research on Albrecht von Wallenstein, a general during the thirty ye
Bruno Alves da Silva
(Acessível em

O último livro da “trilogia VALIS” não era originalmente o planejado. Infelizmente, Philip K. Dick faleceu de um derrame antes de dar continuidade ao seu rascunho do que planejava ser o último volume do trio, The Owl in Daylight. Entretanto, seu último livro escrito - The Transmigration of Timothy Archer – possuía uma certa ligação simbólica e temática com os dois anteriores, a despeito de não ser exatamente conectado. Enquanto VALIS e The D
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer’s narrator, Angel Archer, makes the following comment in Chapter 1:

Several people explained to me once that subliminal messages had been inserted in all the programs aired in the Bay Area around 1973, almost certainly by Martians.

This wry line likely refers to another of Philip K. Dick's novels, Valis, whose protagonist wrestles with the meaning of secret messages encoded and sent to him in late night radio broadcasts. (Dick experienced the same radio messag
This is the last book that PKD ever wrote and the conclusion of the VALIS trilogy. It is a bit different than the first two books, but again deals with religion and philosophy. Bishop Timothy Archer is a man who believes whatever he reads, even if it contradicts what he finished reading two minutes ago. He is haunted by the suicides of his son and mistress, which are fleshed out in depressing detail throughout the book.

Transmigration is narrated by the female voice of Angel Archer, the wife of J
My knowledge of Philip K. Dick is limited. I've read only two of his novels: In Milton Lumky Territory, an early work from the 1950s, and this novel, the last one he wrote, published shortly after his death in 1982. Though PKD is famous for his science fiction novels (the most famous example being Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the basis for the movie Blade Runner), I can't recall having read any of his SF.

I expected The Transmigration of Timothy Archer to be SF (not only does my library h
This is pkd's last book, and when compared with his usual fare, unusual. He seemed to be going for two things here; one was to repackage ideas from exegesis (with multiple characters doing the telling), and another was in a sense to apologize for some of the things he had been saying. The 3/5 score is due to the fairly rough reading of some of the exegesis-style material, but this book is no doubt interesting to pkd fans.

Perhaps the 'apology' should be explained first. The character timothy arch
Erik Graff
Feb 08, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dick fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
This novel of half-baked ideas is more closely associated with Dick's own life than any other I've read to date. The Tim Archer character is indeed based on Bishop Pike, a liberal Episcopal Bishop whom I listened to a great deal on the old Jerry Williams radio talk show during high school and who was actually a friend of Dick's. Pike also had an affair. Pike also had been involved in spiritualist activities after the death of his son precipitated a series of poltergeist-like events. For this and ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick
  • Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick
  • What If Our World is Their Heaven?: The Final Conversations
  • Nova Express (The Nova Trilogy #3)
  • The Crystal World
  • Experience: A Memoir
  • The Embedding
  • The Computer Connection
  • Fourth Mansions
  • Frontera
  • The Masks of Time
  • On Wings of Song
  • The Dreaming Jewels
  • A Snowball in Hell
  • My Idea of Fun
  • Juniper Time
  • Automated Alice (Vurt, #3)
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. He briefly attended the University of California, but dropped out before completing any classes. 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 Memo ...more
More about Philip K. Dick...
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A Scanner Darkly The Man in the High Castle Ubik Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Share This Book

“No single thing abides; and all things are fucked up.” 188 likes
“Just because something bears the aspect of the inevitable one should not, therefore, go along willingly with it.” 93 likes
More quotes…