Tuesday, 27 September 2011


The book for October is Philip K Dick's theological SF work VALIS. Published just a year before his death in 1982, it is about Horselover Fat (who as author surrogate both is and is not Dick) and his experience of God.

Philip K Dick (1928-82) was described by The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction as ‘one of the two or three most important figures in 20th century US SF’. Over his career he wrote more than 50 books, won the Hugo for ‘The Man in the High Castle’, the BSFA award for A Scanner Darkly’, and had his work made into a number of major Hollywood films (Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, The Adjustment Bureau, etc)
From the back cover:
'It began with a blinding light. A divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible but nothing seemed quite right.
It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?'

Critical reviews:

'For everyone lost in the endless multiplicating realities of the modern world, remember: Philip K Dick got there first', Terry Gilliam
'Valis is a carefully structured, profoundly thoughtful story of some crazy people who might just have touched something so deep-rooted in myth and legend that it is literally unspeakable', Theodore Sturgeon
'It is about madness, pain, deception, death, obsessive delusory states of mind, cruelty, solitude, imprisonment, and it is a joy to read', Washington Post
For a graphical representation of what Philip K Dick’s book’s can be like, you might not do better than this:

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