It is the first book in the incomplete
VALIS trilogy of novels,
The Divine Invasion (1981). The planned third novel, The
Owl in Daylight , had not yet taken definite shape at the time of the
Radio Free Albemuth
* 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
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 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 .
* 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
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."
Main article: The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick
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
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 was originally
used to write the
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
The UK edition of
PHILOSOPHICAL AND CULTURAL REFERENCES
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
Buddhism , as well as Biblical
writings including the
Book of Daniel and the
New Testament epistles .
Many ancient Greek philosophers are discussed, including several
The action of
BLACK IRON PRISON
"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.
IN POPULAR CULTURE
On February 1, 2004, Variety announced that Utopia Pictures ">
* ^ 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 .
* ^ "
* Galbreath, Robert, (1982). "Salvation-Knowledge: Ironic Gnosticism