Completion of Valis

Follows on from…

Half-Way Through Valis
&
Synchronous Chain #2: Valis… Cosmogony… Invoice

* * * * *

I have completed it. By which I mean to say I have finished reading Philip K. Dick’s Valis, being the first in the Valis trilogy. In Half-Way Through Valis (linked above), I wondered if the second half would make more sense. It has! It did! That is to say, it had a far stronger narrative flow and was less about the random ramblings of a person of questionable sanity and his questionably sane “friends.” I wasn’t to know this when I wrote Half-Way Through Valis, but the second half of Valis could almost be a second book – or rather the second of two quite distinct parts. This ties in (probably intentionally, given the kind of themes covered in Valis) with the main protagonist, Horselover Fat, and the narrator/author being effectively two aspects of the same person… and with the nature of the TWO SOURCE COSMOGONY, as mentioned in Synchronous Chain #2 (linked above)… and with the more generalised (but still contextually significant) concept that all of existence is comprised of two distinct but conjoined parts – Yin and Yang, male and female, positive and negative, light and dark, Good and Evil, left and right, above and below, etc, etc, etc.

So the story of Valis becomes more of a… story. Up until the half-way point, it was perceived that the “friends” of Fat more or less humoured him. Only they didn’t do so entirely humorously, in particular the highly cynical Kevin. It is (ironically) Kevin, however, who makes a discovery which appears to validate Fat’s experiences as being, in some sense or other, real, and not just the ramblings of a drug-addled crazyperson, suffering from various types of grief… That discovery is a film. Specifically, it is a film entitled Valis (until this point, if I remember correctly, the term Valis had not been specifically alluded to by the narrator or any of the characters), which Kevin pretty much stumbles upon, which specifically refers to some of the concepts and details of Fat’s experiences and thoughts. Kevin watches this film again and again, and discovers more and more “hidden” (often apparently subliminal) aspects which further validate (hmm… odd how “validate” sounds similar to “Valis”…) Fat’s experiences/thoughts. After several viewings, he introduces Fat to the film, then insists Fat – or rather “Phil Dick,” who is, after all, also in the business of creating stories – find some way of getting in touch with the film-makers, so that their experiences can be shared and explored and attempts made to explain such. So contact is made, Fat and Kevin and Phil and their Christian friend David form the Rhipidon Society, and they head off to the abode of the film-makers to seek out the Saviour – aka the fifth Messiah.

And so it goes.

I feel that I do not want to give away anymore about how things eventually turn out, suffice to say that if you do decide to pick up this weird/wonderful, strange/satisfying book, then I must simply urge you to persevere! The first half is admittedly somewhat hard-going, but the second half makes it all worthwhile. It gets under your skin – or it did me… what appears at first to be a couple of hundred or so pages of a tragicomic tale of derangement, grief and attempted suicide, becomes an interesting, poignant, highly personal but also vast in scope story of personal discovery, intermingled with fascinating ideas concerning the nature of reality, religion and the meaning of life itself. It will either touch something deep at your core, or you will indeed come away feeling like you have taken a somewhat disturbing journey through the delusions of a madman…

…and there it is again! The eternal dichotomy of existence!

Or not, depending on your perspective…
😉

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