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The Divine Invasion

(VALIS Trilogy #2)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  7,547 ratings  ·  429 reviews
In The Divine Invasion, Philip K. Dick asks: What if God — or a being called Yah — were alive and in exile on a distant planet? How could a second coming succeed against the high technology and finely tuned rationalized evil of the modern police state?

The Divine Invasion "blends Judaism, Kabalah, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity into a fascinating fable of human existence"
Paperback, 238 pages
Published July 2nd 1991 by Vintage (first published June 1981)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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Will Byrnes
Apr 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Philip K. Dick - image from the LA Times

There is the usual time-tripping here. Pay attention. It is like a LOST episode, and indeed probably inspired some of the concepts used in that estimable show. You need to keep track not only of where you are in space, but in time. The Divine Invasion (no, not a John Waters film) posits a scenario in which god, Yahweh, was essentially booted off planet Earth after the unfortunate events at Masada. Now resident in an alien hill and renamed Yah, (so much c
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lest God Forget

One of the central issues in Christian theology is the way in which the divine and the human can plausibly be combined in Christ. Once it was decided dogmatically that Christ was divine, the theological discussion turned to his two ’natures’ existing in one person. The resolution of this then raised the question of whether the two natures implied two ‘wills’. The controversy subsequently cascades into a series of doctrines and heresies. Monotheism was supposed to simplify things.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Divine Invasion is a sci-fi alternate reality version of the second coming of Christ, told as only Philip K. Dick could.

More serious than VALIS and one his more serious works overall, PKD demonstrates his deep erudition of the Bible. Fundamentalists may be put off, and the reader looking for pure science fiction may be overwhelmed with his frequent references and quotes from the Bible, but this is an important work and one that must be read by a true student of PKD.

Dick also weaves a firm
This is kind of like when an old friend calls up and says he wants to see you, and you're like ‘Great! Come round!’ because he's smart and interesting and funny, and you sit around the table and open a bottle of wine, looking forward to an evening catching up, and he looks at you all excited and says he's got something absolutely amazing to tell you – and you're all, ‘Oh yeah? What is it?’ and he leans forward with his eyes shining and says:

‘I've found Jesus!’

And you kind of grin, but then you r
This happens to be my third read and like the one that immediately precedes it, it's well worth the extra effort.

Absolutely amazing is only a part of what it is. It's also a complicated exploration of comparative religions, a roaring tale of a battle between God and the Devil, and it's also about totally re-writing reality because it's all a hologram... or is it?

It has the Living Torah, it has the Kabbalah, it has Zoroastrianism and Maat and the Fairy Queen and Palas Athena. It has a brain dama
mark monday
"Is there essentially one matrix world from which people derive differing perceptions? So that the world you see is not the world I see?"

synopsis: the Earth that is under the shadow of Satan, religion and government its twin rulers; the father who is not His father lies dreaming, of a singer; the mother who was a virgin is dead, assassinated; the Father who is God has lost the battle, driven from Earth; He who is the son of God, conceived on a planet far away, He who shall become God, fo
The Divine Invasion: A dense gnostic allegory about salvation
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Before his death, Philip K. Dick wrote several books about suffering, redemption, and the divine in the contexts of Christian Gnosticism, Jewish Kabbalism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, anamnesis, and the dualistic nature of the ultimate divine being. After writing two books that explored his personal religious experiences in 1974, Radio Free Albemuth (written in 1976 but not published until 1985)
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, american, 2013, fiction
“I chose God over the material universe.”
― Philip K. Dick, The Divine Invasion


Book 2 of Philip K Dick's VALIS Trilogy (Gnostic Trilogy [God Trilogy]), 'The Divine Invasion' is a funky PKDesque exploration of good and evil, God and Belial, gnostic truth, etc. In this short novel, Emmanuel (God) is smuggled back to Earth via the womb of a Jewish woman with MS. She is accompanied by Herb Asher, a DJ protagonist of sorts (Jesus as a DJ's son) who marries Rybys (read Mary) to assist getting her and
JSA Lowe
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
DAMN Philip K. Dick you have got some PROBLEMS, a great many of them with women. And you're so fucking brilliant and so messed up and weird. Did you realize there is ZERO feminist criticism of you? That's about to change, my new dead crazy fucked-up friend. ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, 2017
I liked it, although I was confused a good part of the time and a stronger background in religious matters would have helped. But still, great classic PKD scenes and dialogue.

I'm enjoying the audio of the PKD novels I've listened to so far, and Dick Hill did a great job with this one.
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When has the government ever told anyone the truth?” (p.76)

The Divine Invasion was published in the same year as VALIS. It is the second book in the VALIS Trilogy, although there is only a brief mention of VALIS in the story. Like VALIS it addresses religion and philosophy, but it’s not as tightly structured or plotted as the first book. In fact, some parts of The Divine Invasion feel like they belong to a completely different story. According to Jonathan Lethem, one of the editors of Dick’s Ex
Apr 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
the internal battle for reality, the good vs. the evil, the light vs. the dark, children vs. goats -
its a throwdown for all of humanity. its intergalactic and its terrifying, its your soul and its winner take all. Sunday, sunday, sunday - BE THERE!!!
Tom Bensley
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I feel sorry for Philip K Dick. I mean, before he died. It's probably a good thing he didn't live to see Hollywood steal all of his ideas and completely debase and dumb them down to make crappy forgettable movies, not mentioning his name anywhere for their inspiration.

But really, the guy didn't get the credit he deserved. He ate dog food and he only had time to write 200 pagers rather than the Infinite Jest-sized mega-beast I know he wanted to write. And then just as he was getting some money an
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi-geek
Philip K. Dick did exactly the right thing with his encounter with the divine (or psychotic break, depending on who you ask). He /kept writing/. Divine Invasion is the second of the VALIS tetralogy, which includes VALIS, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, The Divine Invasion, and Radio Free Albemuth. (RFA was published posthumously, but it still addresses the same themes. The Divine Invasion is probably the most coherent of the "VALIS series". VALIS was groundbreaking, and it shattered any pr ...more
Andrew Horton
May 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Now my favorite book in the so-called "Valis Trilogy," The Divine Invasion takes the heady gnostic concepts of Valis and truly presents them in an unabashedly "sci-fi" context - the infant Christ has been reborn on mars to a woman with M.S. after a divine conception, and must be smuggled back onto earth, which is completely under Satan's control via artificial intelligence and totalitarian government. And that's merely the setup for a book that ends up in a completely different place than you'd ...more
Travis Johns
Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People on busses.
... Dick can do better. While Valis was an incredible novel that fully explored Dick's enlightenment/mental collapse via a lifelong addiction to uppers and his views of the divine, electronic music and pink lasers, this book seems to be more os a scifi thriller that really fails to go anywhere, despite the fact that it's set on both intergalactic exploration outposts, as well as parts of NY and LA. The climax was weak, the whole concept of the divine as an illegal "alien" being aided by the phys ...more
Jun 22, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008-books-read
What utter crap. The first 100 pages or so of the book were somewhat coherent while the last 140 were nearly unreadable. This is a book about how God manages to reincarnate himself again through a new virgin birth. And then Philip K. Dick goes off the crazy end and starts writing in his sleep or something. Kudos to those who loved this book and thought it was great ... but were you high when you were freaking reading it?
Travis Todd
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
It's baffling to me that this is considered to be part of a trilogy with Valis and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. Sure, they all contain religious themes, and underlying each of them you can see the struggle of Dick to interpret his mystical experiences. But beyond that they have very little, if anything, to do with each other.
I consider The Divine Invasion to be much less satisfying than Valis. None of the characters come alive on the page. Emmanuel and Zina are profundity-spouting cip
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This story is an amalgamation of various religions and philosophies, along with a bit of science fiction and fantasy. God finds that he needs to be smuggled back to earth, in the womb of a virgin woman, Rybys. God's mission in returning to Earth is to battle against Belial, a sort of Satan in the guise of a caged animal at the zoo. Rybys is very sick, and is granted permission to return to Earth for medical treatments. However, Earth is ruled by tyrannical religious leaders who try their best to ...more
Em Grove
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Philip K. Dick books. It explores the theme of parallel universes that sneaks into most of his work, and gives a nail-biting account of Yahweh's, and creation at large's, struggle to survive in a world with harmful religious leaders and stifling bureaucracy. All of the characters really come to life for me, from the strong and grounded Rybys Rommey to the Scared-of-the-World Herbert Asher, who would prefer to live in his fantasies than reality, to the eerie and truly scary Bel ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
A potent and heady stew of Judaism, Kabalah, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity...all cooked-up from Phil's bizarre 1974 religious experience. Of the thirteen PKD novels I've read to date, THE DIVINE INVASION was the most difficult and least humorous. It is the second book in the Valis trilogy. Heavy on theologic and apostolic ruminations, it's an alternate reality version of Jesus Christ's return to Earth. Three stars for my favorite character Herb Asher and his zany wife Rybys Rommey and preache ...more
Regina Watts
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The weakest of the 3 VALIS books but still fantastic
Jimmy Ele
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: foundation
This book is great for the dialogue between the characters. PKD takes a little bit from the various religions of the world and creates a science fiction story based very loosely on the second coming of Jesus Christ (Peace Be Upon Him). The novel is brilliant in it's depiction of two alternating realities (or worlds) at the same time. One world being more real than the next, and in the end creating a sort of amalgamation of both. The book is very epic in its prose and dialogue as mentioned before ...more
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
As with the previous book in the Valis trilogy, I give this one five stars with a big ol' asterisk next to it. There are people who are going to hate this book and throw it across the room, and I totally get it. It is weird, not much makes total sense at first glance, and the plot is all over the place. If you know and care who Philip K. Dick was and if you are into the weird ravings of crazy people (Grant Morrison and Robert Anton Wilson come to mind as other examples), however, then you just m ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Meh. Not bad, but definitely not as good as VALIS. In that book, PKD seemed to care about the narrative just as much as he cared about pouring the kooky ideas out of his head. Not the case with this second book, unfortunately.
Jerry Pogan
Jun 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Sci Fi meets the absurdity of religious thinking. This book, to my mind, exposes the ridiculous logic that religion imposes on humankind. It is full of magical thinking and contradiction and meandering reality set in a futuristic space drama. The story follows Herb Asher a recluse living in isolation on a distant planet and Rybys a woman neighbor. They have been chosen to be the parents for the second coming. They must return to Earth for the birth of the child but then complications arise from ...more
Dan DalMonte
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This novel was a difficult read. It contains a lot of profound meditation on theological issues like divine omnipotence and the reality of evil. It is so abstract though and there is not much of a plot, just a lot of wordy and artificial dialogue. It is based on a mystical experience that Dick had and it seems like he didn't spend much time integrating these experiences into a novel. Part of the problem could be that this novel is a part of a trilogy, which I did not know before I started readin ...more
Aug 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"The Evil One in a cage at the zoo- what, with his own temperature and gravity and atmosphere, and imported food? An exotic life form?'
'He's angry as hell about it.'"

"You beguile me. You lead me from the path with sparks of light, dancing, singing, and the sound of bells; always the sound of bells."

"Do not make war on it but bring flowers."
Quentin Crisp
Apparently this is the follow-up to Valis. It didn't, for me, have the same impact and internal cohesiveness as Valis, but was nonetheless compelling in its own way. Dick is very much concerned with the eschaton, and this interest is given flavour by preoccupations with alternate realities and the effects of psychosis. What Dick really desires, it would seem, is to penetrate the multi-layered fog of paranoia and reach the truth. The troubling question is this: is the multi-layered fog actually t ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
I'm not sure if the Divine Invasion is a good book or not, but I like it just the same. I like it because I have a taste for the bizarre and the out-there, and conceptually, this novel is as out-there as they come. This is the one where Philip K. Dick swan dives off the deep end, building on the metaphysical, theological, and philosophical mind-warp VALIS. I guess you can say it explains the events, what with the Empire and the pink dot and all, but it's the sort of explanation that might leave ...more
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Science Fiction A...: * Valis #2-The Divine Invasion 4 16 Sep 10, 2018 05:43AM  
Sci-Fi Group Book...: The Divine Invasion 2 20 Mar 09, 2015 11:39AM  
Philip K Dick: The meaning of Anamnesis 8 50 Dec 10, 2013 10:56AM  

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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

Other books in the series

VALIS Trilogy (3 books)
  • VALIS (VALIS Trilogy, #1)
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

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