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VALIS and Later Novels (VALIS Trilogy #1-3)

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  496 ratings  ·  49 reviews
In 2007, "Philip K. Dick: Four Novels of the 1960s" became the fastest selling title in The Library of America's history. The 2008 companion volume, "Five Novels of the1960s & 70s," broke series records for advance sales. Now comes a third and final volume gathering the best novels of Dick's final years, when religious revelation, always important in his work, became a ...more
Hardcover, 849 pages
Published July 30th 2009 by Library of America (first published 1984)
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Four Novels of the 1960s by Philip K. DickCollected Works by Flannery O'ConnorPoetry and Prose by Walt WhitmanNovels and Stories, 1920-1922 by F. Scott FitzgeraldMississippi Writings by Mark Twain
Library of America
18th out of 137 books — 15 voters
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinDune by Frank HerbertThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickChildhood's End by Arthur C. ClarkeThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
SF Masterworks by Orion Publishing Group
14th out of 58 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,206)
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i've really come to love PDK, but this collection? a bunch of human-shaped exposition machines blasting out humorless profundities like so many breezy farts whooshing out of a loose anus.

but the transmigration of timothy archer is something else entirely: it dispenses with the sci-fi elements and windy assthoughts, and turns out to be a pretty affecting piece on belief and loss.
I know. I know. I gave most of the individual novels ( Valis Trilogy + A Maze of Death) 4 stars, but gave all four 5 stars. The math doesn't add up, but shit man, that is the whole dilemma of life. Just accept it, bro.
Tom Bensley
My reviews of each book in the collection:

A Maze of Death


The Divine Invasion

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

Damn. This is a good collection of books. For me, Philip K Dick is one of those authors who leaves me dissatisfied every time I finish one of his stories. Same thing happens with Flannery O'Connor, Roberto Bolaño, Tao Lin, H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Pynchon. It's like, each of their works is getting at something intriguing, but it never really gets there. Which forces me to read m
Sci-fi meets theology--

This is the last volume of PKD collection by the Library of America, and after reading all three LOR volumes and thirteen novels included in them, I can say he's one hell of an interesting author, though not all his works are mind-blowing.

In PKD's final phase as presented in this third LOR volume, he turned to everything religious and theological, starting with VALIS, followed by The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Of the so-called "VALIS trilogy,
Ian Mathers
Actually, I've never read this particular volume; this rating is more for the SFBC-exclusive edition of The Valis Trilogy my dad got in the 70s that he never read and I first tried to get through when I was around 12. It would have to wait until later in my teen years for me to actually understand Dick's writing enough to finish it off, but those three novels (the ones in this edition minus the perfectly fine but unrelated A Maze of Death) make for a brilliant, beautiful, occasionally mad and tr ...more
Jon Frankel
It wasn’t until this year that I finally sat down to read the Valis trilogy: Valis, The Divine Invasion, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. It is easy to see why these books made him a popular author. But any idea that they are in some way radically different from what came before is wrong. They were not written to be a trilogy, though they narrate in different ways the same event, Philip K. Dicks encounter with a new reality, or descent into madness. He never made up his mind about it, a ...more
Robb Bridson
I can see why some think these later novels by Dick were ingenious. I can also see how someone might hate them.

The first story A Maze of Death was great, more sci-fi dark comedy than philosophy essay. I highly enjoyed it and think most sci-fi fans would.

VALIS was a bit different.
It's quasi-autobiographical and more philosophy and theology than story.
I liked it because I relate to it. No, my madness never went as far as Dick's, but I understand the sort of craziness that goes with spiritual seeki
Ryan Masters
This volume includes four of PKD's last novels.

The masterpiece in this volume is VALIS. A semi-autobiographical account of Dick's psychotic break/theophany in 1974 that led to a theological trip unlike anything else in literature. Impossible to really summarize in a review, but brilliant and sad/funny and engaging. Unprecedented.

Two other works in the volume, A Maze of Death and The Divine Invasion, are interesting but not nearly as groundbreaking and masterful as the title novel.

I'd already rea
Clinton Macquire
Dick's later period of religious themed sci-fi is probably unlike anything you've ever read. It seems like the ramblings of someone trying to come to terms with an unexplainable situation, someone desperately searching for answers in a way that only Dick's imaginative brain can, forming complex stories and weaving in theological ideas. I was impressed that The Transmigration of Timothy Archer's protagonist was female, as after reading all books in this three-volume collection, I noticed Dick has ...more
Life is too short for tedious "is he insane, or is he speaking to God" novels. Maybe a shot of psychedelic drugs would have helped.
Questo testo raccoglie tre libri di Dick, con il comune denominatore della religione, della filiosofia, e a volte di Valis.

Il primo libro, Valis, è di gran lunga il peggiore.
Parte malissimo, lento e soporifero, tra divagazioni misticiste, filosofiche e religiose che fanno addormentare. Non dubito della conoscenza in questo campo di Dick, tutto sembra ben documentato e ben ponderato, ma è di una noia unica.
Nel finale, con l'arrivo del film, le cose migliorano un poco ma non è sufficiente questo a
Keith Jones
I first tried to read VALIS years ago, and the experience went a lot like my first attempt to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Basically, I threw the book across the room. No, not literally, but I was surely tempted to do so. It was only a couple years after first giving up on Do Androids Dream that I finally read it, but it was many, many years after first putting it down that I finally read VALIS. And, the reading experience? Well, I had read a lot more PKD since then and was much bet ...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
Just finished the fourth novel in this collection, "The Transmigration of Timothy Archer," and I found this story similar to VALIS in some ways but the focus was more on the loss that entails when those around you that you love start 'offing' themselves. The whole thing was poignant with sadness, yet we still had the profound explorations of philosophy and religion and human nature that is the hallmark of these late novels. It has been somewhat difficult to slog through these novels in this coll ...more
Nov 27, 2009 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Simulacra, androids and digital impostors
Recommended to Alan by: The voices in my head, and Jonathan Lethem
I will not pretend to be an expert on Philip Kindred Dick, his life and work. Others have said more and better things than I'll manage here. But I will say that this scholarly edition of Dick's later novels (comprising A Maze of Death; VALIS; The Divine Invasion; and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer) will, if closely read, make you feel like an expert. Shorn of their lurid covers and surrounded by sober bibliographic and biographical information, these novels still stand both as great storie ...more
David James
The third and final Library of America collection of the great science fiction writer finds Philip K. Dick trying to reach beyond the genre writing he'd been confined to by publishers. "A Maze of Death" is the only novel that fits the standard Dickian mold, with reality turning in dark and disturbing ways and a twist ending worthy of an old EC Comic. VALIS is an account of Dick's mental breakdown and the spiritual vision he believed he gained from it. While there is a bit of sci-fi patched into ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 31, 2010 Joseph rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: atheists, theists
The biggest assumption about an all knowing God is that such a deity is also an all telling God. Based on the events surrounding his drug-induced breakdown, [Author: Philip K. Dick] explores a God who doesn't tell all - not even enough. It's one blast from a pink beam and then gone.

As raw as the opening chapter of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was funny, VALIS is a painful, challenging read that offers the audience no relief until the very end.

Three other novels are included in this volume
frisco - فریسکو
Non è una trilogia: questo è un intero mondo.
Si incastrano considerazioni metafisiche sullo spazio/tempo, gnosticismo, giudaismo e Messia. Philip K. Dick si dimostra sempre più postmoderno con protagonisti che forse sono lui stesso o forse sono altri personaggi che parlano di lui, e pagine in cui ti rendi conto che non riesci a staccarti da un libro che descrive un film mai esistito.

Ho già cercato di esprimere questo concetto nella recensione di "Scorrete lacrime, disse il poliziotto" e spero di
Kurt Zisa
A must read for any Phillip K. Dick fan but be warned that this is where the author started to dive off the cliff of sanity. Thought provoking collections that are not as fluid as his previous works. Nonetheless, a great inside look into the mind of man losing his sanity.
Lesley Battler
But nothing can cancel the reality of one night in the revivifying fire of PK Dick, when for once, if only once, you were blasted outside the monotony of your life, all the way through the jello institutions you don't understand except what the old men from Ghent, suffocated by their own density, want you to believe.
Warning: Sci-fi blasphemy ahead. I was so bored I gave up on this volume halfway through.

The first story, "A Maze of Death", started off mildly interesting, sort of a futuristic "Ten Little Indians" with a Dickian reality-might-not-be-what-you-think-it-is tilt but the bizarre religous themes felt tacked on, distracting, and pointless.

In the second story, "VALIS", drugged-up losers endlessly regurgitate loads of philosophical and religious bullshit and occasionally attempt suicide. I stuck with
Death Maze

Good book, its refreshing in a way because the whole time you think, something is wrong with this situation and in the end, there was something wrong. Sometimes Dick will just leave the strange to be strange.


Pure insanity, with an appendix. Was this science fiction? Maybe he left you with enough questions to wonder.

The rest.

Okay I sat down and read the rest. I am impressed by much of it, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is sad in a way that you know the characters are going
So far a masterwork of a confessional. Paranoia and brilliance.
Jun 20, 2014 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
For the most part I liked three of the four novels, with the Transmigration of Timothy Archer the best. I think Transmigration shows exactly how great an author PKD really was. It isn't science fiction but a very deep and thought provoking book that should be read and appreciated by more people. I would have given this five stars but I thought Valis was just unreadable. I know that it is supposed to be one of his better respected works, but I felt it was just flat out boring. Maybe one day I wil ...more
Nicole Cushing
Just finished VALIS. There are three other PKD novels in this hardcover volume. I'll probably take a break to finish reading some other books I'm half-way through before moving on to the others.

There's no way to sum up VALIS in a sentence or two. If you read it, you just have to try to get a toe-hold in PKD's narrative and let him take you away. It's obvious from VALIS that he was brilliant and well-read, putting together Cosmologies from the east and the west in unpredictable ways. A lovely, pa
Little Icelander
La Trilogia di Valis, le ultime opere di Dick, l'apice estremo della sua paranoia. Le prime pagine di Valis, il primo dei tre romanzi, sono tra le cose più belle dell'autore. Poi si perde in centinaia di pagine di oscure elucubrazioni, riflesso di una mente malata ormai allo stremo. Only for fans!
Sep 30, 2013 Mary rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mary by: Katie
I only have read VALIS; but I am so confused and unsure about my feelings for that story, that I am not sure I want to read any more of the others. Having taken a trip through this man's mental breakdown, I feel like I just got off a bad drug trip. I am not sure if I was supposed to "get" something "deep" from this text; maybe after it sinks in a while I will better grasp the greatness of VALIS.
After reading the first ~50 pages and several reviews, I give up on this book. I think it's too crazy for me, I just don't feel like reading the involved mini-discussions about philosophy and faith and revelations. I don't have a feel for the characters, and the plot doesn't seem to be moving.

Maybe if I meet someone I trust who convinces me to go on, I might pick it up again some day.
Stuart Jewkes
Excellent collection from one of America's finest writers. Disorientating and vivid, these books are an exploration of the same experiences each with a different setting, allowing different aspects of theological speculation to bubble to the surface. Not the best place to start with Dick but possibly a collection of his finest work.
Jessica M
Jessica M is currently reading it
Aug 29, 2015
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Goodreads Librari...: ISBN 3453217276 2 22 Aug 22, 2012 03:22AM  
  • Il corpo e il sangue di Eymerich
  • Il ciclo delle Fondazioni
  • Novels & Stories 1963-73: Cat's Cradle/God Bless You, Mr Rosewater/Slaughterhouse-Five/Breakfast of Champions/Stories
  • Novels, 1926-1929
  • Novels, 1944-1953
  • Screwjack: A Short Story
  • Novels, 1955-1962: Lolita / Pnin / Pale Fire / The Lolita Screenplay
  • Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories / Letting Go
  • Travels With Charley and Later Novels, 1947-1962
  • Collected Essays and Poems
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, A Death in the Family, and Shorter Fiction
  • Dial M for Monkey
  • Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark
  • Historical Romances
  • Crime Novels: American Noir of the 1930s & 40s
  • Chandler: Stories and Early Novels
  • Collected Plays 1944-1961
  • Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence-Man, Tales, Billy Budd
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
More about Philip K. Dick...

Other Books in the Series

VALIS Trilogy (3 books)
  • VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)
  • The Divine Invasion
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? A Scanner Darkly The Man in the High Castle Ubik Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

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“Perhaps this is the bottom line to mental illness: incomprehensible events occur; your life becomes a bin for hoax-like fluctuations of what used to be reality. And not only that—as if that weren't enough—but you, like Fat, ponder forever over these fluctuations in an effort to order them into a coherency, when in fact the only sense they make is the sense you impose on them, out of the necessity to restore everything into shapes and processes you can recognize. The first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people. The madman experiences something, but what it is or where it comes from he does not know.” 3 likes
“The distinction between sanity and insanity is narrower than the razor's edge, sharper than a hound's tooth, more agile than a mule deer. It is more elusive than the merest phantom. Perhaps it does not even exist; perhaps it is a phantom.” 3 likes
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