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The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick
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Nov 18, 09

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bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in November, 2009

Dick, Philip K. THE DIVINE INVASION. (1981). ***. Dick experienced (suffered?) a psychic event on 2/3/74 that completely changed his thinking and his approach to life. In today’s terms, he would have become a rabid born-again Christian. His epiphany resulted in a significant change in his writing. Although he still wrote in the science fiction genre, his books become more and more about religion and his characters more and more like cardboard cutouts for religious figures. His last three books constituted a trilogy, of which this one was the middle one. The first one was VALIS (see blurb in Q3-09); the succeeding one, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. In this book, we learn that Yaweh is coming back to Earth to battle Belial. He has to sneak in, though, as the foetus of Rybys Rommey, a former occupant of a colony on a distant planet of a different star system. She is being taken to Earth – aside from the hidden reason of bringing Yaweh – to be treated for muscular distrophy while she is six-months pregnant with what will soon become Manny (Emmanuel). To facilitate matters, a neighbor of hers on the colony, Herb Asher, pretends to be her husband so that they can get through inspection at immigration. When she is examined at immigration, they find that even though she is pregnant, she is still a virgin. The forces that be on Earth catch wind of her arrival and do everything in their power to keep the foetus from being born. These forces include the various religious organizations that run the world. A government airship is sent out and collides with an airtaxi that the couple is taking to Bethesda Hospital and knocks it into a building. Herb is severely injured; his spleen is ruined and has to be removed. He is then placed into cryonic suspension until a replacement organ can be found. Rybys is killed, but they manage to save the baby. All of these adventures thus far are narrated with lots of supporting quotes from the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Rabbinical Commentaries, and vague references to pre-Christian works. Much of it comes across as a mass of psychobabble about religion and right vs. wrong. It’s a story about the contest between God, under various names, and his fight with Evil, also under various names. I get the feeling that Dick’s “event” was drug induced, and that his thinking became non-linear after that. Reading this novel should be required as part of the curriculum in the study of abnormal psychology.
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