The Info List - Valis

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is a 1981 science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. The title is an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, Dick's gnostic vision of one aspect of God. It is the first book in the incomplete VALIS trilogy of novels, followed by The Divine Invasion
The Divine Invasion
(1981). The planned third novel, The Owl in Daylight, had not yet taken definite shape at the time of the author's death.[1] Radio Free Albemuth, a posthumously published earlier version of VALIS, is not included as a component of the VALIS trilogy. Dick completed one more novel after The Divine Invasion, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982), based on Dick's association with Bishop James A. Pike and not connected to the VALIS


1 Synopsis 2 Characters 3 Reception 4 Dick's Exegesis 5 Philosophical and cultural references

5.1 Black Iron Prison

6 In popular culture 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links 10 See also

Synopsis[edit] Horselover Fat believes his visions expose hidden facts about the reality of life on Earth, and a group of others join him in researching these matters. One of their theories is that there is some kind of alien space probe in orbit around Earth, and that it is aiding them in their quest. It also aided the United States in disclosing the Watergate
scandal and the resignation of Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
in 1974. There is a filmed account of an alternative universe Nixon, "Ferris Fremont" and his fall, engineered by a fictionalised Valis, which leads them to an estate owned by the Lamptons, popular musicians. Valis (the fictional film) contains obvious references to identical revelations to those that Horselover Fat has experienced. They decide the goal that they have been led toward is Sophia, who is two years old and the Messiah or incarnation of Holy Wisdom anticipated by some variants of Gnostic
Christianity. She tells them that their conclusions are correct, but dies after a laser accident. Undeterred, Fat goes on a global search for the next incarnation of Sophia. Dick also offers a rationalist explanation of his apparent theophany, acknowledging that it might have been visual and auditory hallucinations from either schizophrenia or drug addiction sequelae.[2] Characters[edit]

Phil: narrator, science fiction writer Horselover Fat: narrator; Philip in Greek means "fond of horses"; "dick" is German for "fat". Later, it is disclosed that Fat is a schizophrenic modality of Phil himself. Gloria Knudson: suicidal friend of Fat's Kevin: friend of Fat's, skeptic, based on K. W. Jeter Sherri Solvig: Fat's friend, eventually dies from lymphatic cancer David: Catholic friend of Fat's, based on Tim Powers Eric Lampton: rock star, screenwriter, actor, aka "Mother Goose" - apparently a fictionalised version of David Bowie Linda Lampton: actress Brent Mini: electronic composer, a fictionalised version of Brian Eno. Sophia: Two-year-old child. Personalised incarnation of Holy Wisdom within some variants of Gnosticism

Reception[edit] Thomas M. Disch
Thomas M. Disch
reported that "the fascination of the book, what's most artful and confounding about it, is the way the line between Dick and Fat shifts and wavers." Disch concludes that "as a novel, as a whole novel . . . it went off the rails sometimes. But the first half holds together wonderfully, considering how much there is to be held together."[3] Dick's Exegesis[edit] Main article: The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick VALIS
has been described as one node of an artificial satellite network originating from the star Sirius
in the Canis Major constellation. According to Dick, the Earth satellite used "pink laser beams" to transfer information and project holograms on Earth and to facilitate communication between an extraterrestrial species and humanity. Dick claimed that VALIS
used "disinhibiting stimuli" to communicate, using symbols to trigger recollection of intrinsic knowledge through the loss of amnesia, achieving gnosis. Drawing directly from Platonism
and Gnosticism, Dick wrote in his Exegesis: "We appear to be memory coils (DNA carriers capable of experience) in a computer-like thinking system which, although we have correctly recorded and stored thousands of years of experiential information, and each of us possesses somewhat different deposits from all the other life forms, there is a malfunction—a failure—of memory retrieval." At one point, Dick claimed to be in a state of enthousiasmos with VALIS, where he was informed his infant son was in danger of perishing from an unnamed malady. Routine checkups on the child had shown no trouble or illness; however, Dick insisted that thorough tests be run to ensure his son's health. The doctor eventually complied, despite the fact that there were no apparent symptoms. During the examination doctors discovered an inguinal hernia, which would have killed the child if an operation was not quickly performed. His son survived thanks to the operation, which Dick attributed to the "intervention" of VALIS. Another event was an episode of supposed xenoglossia. Supposedly, Dick's wife transcribed the sounds she heard him speak, and discovered that he was speaking Koine Greek—the common Greek dialect during the Hellenistic
years (3rd century BC–4th century AD) and direct "father" of today's modern Greek language—which he had never studied. As Dick was to later discover, Koine Greek
Koine Greek
was originally used to write the New Testament
New Testament
and the Septuagint. However, this was not the first time Dick had claimed xenoglossia: a decade earlier, Dick insisted he was able to think, speak, and read fluent Koine Greek under the influence of Sandoz LSD-25. The UK edition of VALIS
also included "Cosmology and Cosmogony", a chapbook containing selections from Dick's Exegesis. Philosophical and cultural references[edit] Theology
and philosophy, especially metaphysical philosophy, play an important role in VALIS, presenting not just Dick's (and/or Horselover Fat's) own views on these subjects but also his interpretation of numerous religions and philosophies of the past. The most prominent religious references are to Valentinian Gnosticism, the Rose Cross Brotherhood, Zoroastrianism
and Buddhism, as well as Biblical writings including the Book of Daniel
Book of Daniel
and the New Testament
New Testament
epistles. Many ancient Greek philosophers are discussed, including several Pre-Socratics (Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Empedocles
and Parmenides) as well as Plato
and Aristotle. More recent thinkers that are mentioned include the philosophers Pascal and Schopenhauer, the Christian mystic Jakob Böhme, the alchemist Paracelsus, the psychologists Carl Jung
Carl Jung
and Sigmund Freud, the Romanian historian of religion Mircea Eliade, and the author and psychologist Robert Anton Wilson. In Wilson's autobiographical Cosmic Trigger
Cosmic Trigger
(released shortly before Dick commenced work on VALIS), Wilson describes similar musings concerning the ' Sirius
Connection', contemplating the idea that alien entities are sending out waves of information that we can tune in on. The action of VALIS
is set firmly in the American popular culture of its time, with references to the Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
and Linda Ronstadt as well as the fictional rock musicians Eric Lampton and Brent Mini. However, the novel also contains a number of high culture references such as the poets Vaughan, Wordsworth and Goethe, and the classical composers Handel and Wagner. In particular, the novel contains several extended discussions about Wagner's metaphysical opera Parsifal. Black Iron Prison[edit] "The Black Iron Prison" is a concept of an all-pervasive system of social control postulated in the Tractates Cryptica Scriptura, a summary of an unpublished Gnostic
exegesis included in VALIS. Dick wrote:

Once, in a cheap science fiction novel, Fat had come across a perfect description of the Black Iron Prison, but set in the far future. So if you superimposed the past (ancient Rome) over the present (California in the twentieth century) and superimposed the far future world of The Android Cried Me a River over that, you got the Empire, as the supra- or trans-temporal constant. Everyone who had ever lived was literally surrounded by the iron walls of the prison; they were all inside it and none of them knew it.[4]

In popular culture[edit] VALIS
was adapted in 1987 as an electronic opera by composer Tod Machover, and performed at Centre Georges Pompidou, with live singers and video installations created by artist Catherine Ikam.[5] On February 1, 2004, Variety announced that Utopia Pictures & Television had acquired the rights to three of Philip K. Dick's works: Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, VALIS, and Radio Free Albemuth.[6] VALIS
appeared in the TV show Lost. In the episode "Eggtown", aired February 21, 2008, the character John Locke gives Ben Linus the book to read from Ben's own book shelf, while Ben is being held captive. In "The Other Woman", aired March 6, 2008, Ben is again shown reading the novel before being interrupted by Locke. John Alan Simon, director of the film adaptation of Radio Free Albemuth, remarked that VALIS
will form the basis of a sequel to that film if it is successful: "Since Radio Free Albemuth
Radio Free Albemuth
is essentially the first draft of VALIS, we ended up with rights to both from the estate of Philip K. Dick. If Radio Free Albemuth
Radio Free Albemuth
is successful, VALIS the book would form the basis for the sequel to VALIS
the movie. In other words, the story of VALIS
would form the basis for VALIS
2."[7] British indie rock band, Bloc Party, has a song titled "V.A.L.I.S." on their 2012 album Four.[8] Progressive metal band Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster have songs named "Exegesis", "Valis" and "Black Iron Prison", all inspired by Dick's work, on their 2012 album Exegesis.[9] Portuguese double bassist Hugo Carvalhais's 3rd album Grand Valis (Clean Feed Records 2015) is inspired by Dick's book.[10] References[edit]

^ Dick, Philip K. (2000). Lee, Gwen; Sauter, Doris Elaine, eds. What If Our World Is Their Heaven. Woodstock & New York: The Overlook Press. pp. 49–157. ISBN 978-1585670093.  ^ " VALIS
Plot Summary", Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
Trust ^ "Talking with Jesus", F&SF, July 1981, pp.36-38 ^ Philip K. Dick, Valis, London; Gollancz, 2001, pp. 54-55 ^ "WorldCat entry for Valis: an opera in two parts". OCLC. Online Computer Library Center, Inc. Retrieved April 6, 2011.  ^ Harris, Dana (2004-02-01). "Utopia picks Dick works". Variety.com. Retrieved 2006-08-14.  ^ AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN ALAN SIMON ^ Pitchfork Review - Bloc Party's "Four" ^ Exegesis by Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster ^ "Grand Valis Clean Feed Records". Clean Feed Records. 2015-05-26. Retrieved 2016-07-09. 


Galbreath, Robert, (1982). "Salvation-Knowledge: Ironic Gnosticism
and The Flight to Lucifer," in Science-Fiction Dialogues, Gary K. Wolfe, ed. Chicago: Academy Chicago, pp. 115–32. _______________ (1983). "Redemption and doubt in Philip K. Dick's VALIS
Trilogy", Extrapolation 24:2, pp. 105–15. Palmer, Christopher, (1991). "Postmodernism and the Birth of the Author in Philip K. Dick's VALIS," Science-Fiction Studies 55, 18:3, pp. 330–42. Stilling, Roger J., (1991). "Mystical Healing: Reading Philip K. Dick's VALIS
and The Divine Invasion
The Divine Invasion
as Metapsychoanalytic Novels", South Atlantic Review 56: 2, pp. 91–106 Dick, Philip K., Lee, Gwen, Sauter, Doris E., What If Our World is Their Heaven (2001) ISBN 978-1585670093 pp. 49–157

External links[edit]

book cover gallery Tractates Cryptica Scriptura The appendix of VALIS, an extract of the Exegesis Terence McKenna article about Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
and VALIS Philip K. Dick's Valis by Ted Gioia (Conceptual Fiction)

See also[edit]

Novels portal

Unreliable narrator

v t e

Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick


Gather Yourselves Together
Gather Yourselves Together
(1950) Voices from the Street
Voices from the Street
(1952) Solar Lottery
Solar Lottery
(1954) Mary and the Giant
Mary and the Giant
(1954) The World Jones Made
The World Jones Made
(1954) Eye in the Sky (1955) The Man Who Japed
The Man Who Japed
(1955) A Time for George Stavros (1956) Pilgrim on the Hill (1956) The Broken Bubble (1956) The Cosmic Puppets
The Cosmic Puppets
(1957) Puttering About in a Small Land
Puttering About in a Small Land
(1957) Nicholas and the Higs (1958) Time Out of Joint
Time Out of Joint
(1958) In Milton Lumky Territory
In Milton Lumky Territory
(1958) Confessions of a Crap Artist
Confessions of a Crap Artist
(1959) The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike
The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike
(1960) Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
Humpty Dumpty in Oakland
(1960) Vulcan's Hammer
Vulcan's Hammer
(1960) Dr. Futurity
Dr. Futurity
(1960) The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle
(1961) We Can Build You
We Can Build You
(1962) Martian Time-Slip
Martian Time-Slip
(1962) Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb
Dr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb
(1963) The Game-Players of Titan
The Game-Players of Titan
(1963) The Simulacra
The Simulacra
(1963) The Crack in Space
The Crack in Space
(1963) Clans of the Alphane Moon (1964) The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
(1964) The Zap Gun (1964) The Penultimate Truth (1964) The Unteleported Man
The Unteleported Man
(1964) The Ganymede Takeover
The Ganymede Takeover
(1965) Counter-Clock World
Counter-Clock World
(1965) Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
(1966) Nick and the Glimmung
Nick and the Glimmung
(1966) Now Wait for Last Year
Now Wait for Last Year
(1966) Ubik
(1966) Galactic Pot-Healer
Galactic Pot-Healer
(1968) A Maze of Death
A Maze of Death
(1968) Our Friends from Frolix 8
Our Friends from Frolix 8
(1969) Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said
(1974) Deus Irae
Deus Irae
(1976) Radio Free Albemuth
Radio Free Albemuth
(1976; published 1985) A Scanner Darkly
A Scanner Darkly
(1977) VALIS
(1981) The Divine Invasion
The Divine Invasion
(1981) The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
(1982) The Owl in Daylight (unfinished)


A Handful of Darkness
A Handful of Darkness
(1955) The Variable Man (1956) The Preserving Machine
The Preserving Machine
(1969) The Book of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
(1973) The Best of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
(1977) The Golden Man
The Golden Man
(1980) Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities
Robots, Androids, and Mechanical Oddities
(1984) I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon (1985) The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
(1987) Beyond Lies the Wub
Beyond Lies the Wub
(1988) The Dark Haired Girl
The Dark Haired Girl
(1989) The Father-Thing (1989) Second Variety (1989) The Days of Perky Pat
The Days of Perky Pat
(1990) The Little Black Box (1990) The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford (1990) We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (1990) The Minority Report
The Minority Report
(1991) Second Variety (1991) The Eye of the Sibyl (1992) The Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
Reader (1997) Minority Report (2002) Selected Stories of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick
(2002) Paycheck (2004) Vintage PKD
Vintage PKD
(2006) The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick

Short stories

"Beyond Lies the Wub" (1952) "The Gun" (1952) "The Skull" (1952) "The Little Movement" (1952) "The Defenders" (1953) "Mr. Spaceship" (1953) "Piper in the Woods" (1953) "Roog" (1953) "The Infinites" (1953) "Second Variety" (1953) "Colony" (1953) "The Cookie Lady" (1953) "Impostor" (1953) "Paycheck" (1953) "The Preserving Machine" (1953) "Expendable" (1953) "The Indefatigable Frog" (1953) "The Commuter" (1953) "Out in the Garden" (1953) "The Great C" (1953) "The King of the Elves" (1953) "The Trouble with Bubbles" (1953) "The Variable Man" (1953) "The Impossible Planet" (1953) "Planet for Transients" (1953) "The Builder" (1953) "Tony and the Beetles" (1953) "The Hanging Stranger" (1953) "Prize Ship" (1954) "Beyond the Door" (1954) "The Crystal Crypt" (1954) "The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford" (1954) "The Golden Man" (1954) "Sales Pitch" (1954) "Breakfast at Twilight" (1954) "The Crawlers" (1954) "Exhibit Piece" (1954) "Adjustment Team" (1954) "Shell Game" (1954) "Meddler" (1954) "A World of Talent" (1954) "The Last of the Masters" (1954) "Upon the Dull Earth" (1954) "The Father-thing" (1954) "Strange Eden" (1954) "The Turning Wheel" (1954) "The Hood Maker" (1954) "Foster, You're Dead!" (1955) "Human Is" (1955) "War Veteran" (1955) "Captive Market" (1955) "Nanny" (1955) "The Chromium Fence" (1955) "Service Call" (1955) "The Mold of Yancy" (1955) "Autofac" (1955) "Psi-man Heal My Child!" (1955) "The Minority Report" (1956) "Pay for the Printer" (1956) "A Glass of Darkness" (1956) "The Unreconstructed M" (1957) "Null-O" (1958) "Explorers We" (1959) "Recall Mechanism" (1959) "Fair Game" (1959) "War Game" (1959) "All We Marsmen" (1963) "What'll We Do with Ragland Park?" (1963) "The Days of Perky Pat" (1963) "If There Were No Benny Cemoli" (1963) "Waterspider" (1964) "Novelty Act" (1964) "Oh, to Be a Blobel!" (1964) "The War with the Fnools" (1964) "What the Dead Men Say" (1964) "Orpheus with Clay Feet" (1964) "Cantata 140" (1964) "The Unteleported Man" (1964) "Retreat Syndrome" (1965) "Project Plowshare (later "The Zap Gun")" (1965) "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (1966) "Faith of Our Fathers" (1967) "Not by Its Cover" (1968) "The Electric Ant" (1969) "A. Lincoln, Simulacrum" (1969) "The Pre-persons" (1974) "A Little Something for Us Tempunauts" (1974) "The Exit Door Leads In" (1979) "Rautavaara's Case" (1980) "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" (1980) "The Eye of the Sibyl" (1987) "Stability" (1987)



Blade Runner
Blade Runner
(1982) Total Recall (1990) Confessions d'un Barjo
Confessions d'un Barjo
(1992) Screamers (1995) Impostor (2002) Minority Report (2002) Paycheck (2003) A Scanner Darkly
A Scanner Darkly
(2006) Next (2007) Screamers: The Hunting (2009) Radio Free Albemuth
Radio Free Albemuth
(2010) The Adjustment Bureau
The Adjustment Bureau
(2011) Total Recall (2012) 2036: Nexus Dawn (2017) 2048: Nowhere to Run (2017) Blade Runner
Blade Runner
Black Out 2022 (2017) Blade Runner
Blade Runner
2049 (2017)

TV series

Total Recall 2070
Total Recall 2070
(1999) The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle
(2015–present) Minority Report (2015) Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams (2017)