Valis: Valis, Book 1 Audiolibro Audible – Edizione integrale
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What is VALIS? This question is at the heart of Philip K. Dick's groundbreaking novel, the first book in his defining trilogy. When a beam of pink light begins giving a schizophrenic man named Horselover Fat (who just might also be known as Philip K. Dick) visions of an alternate Earth where the Roman Empire still reigns, he must decide whether he is crazy or whether a godlike entity is showing him the true nature of the world.
VALIS is essential listening for any true Philip K. Dick fan, a novel that Roberto Bolaño called "more disturbing than any novel by [Carson] McCullers." By the end, like Dick himself, you will be left wondering what is real, what is fiction, and just what the price is for divine inspiration.
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I could not put this book down, I read it in a day, I even forgot to drink my coffee. Personally, I never expected such genius from Philip K Dick, well, in this manner. He's damn good at sci-fi, but this is beyond simple sci-fi. I never thought this would become my favourite novel.
PKD is well known for his very many creative SF novels which are the product of a unique imagination, and that some of his work is influenced by the 1960s drug culture. He suffered from episodes of psychiatric illness with a psychotic episode in 1974. This is the basis of much of the novel Valis which is semi-autobiographical where he examines the causality and nature of his experiences through his alter ego Horselover Fat ('Horselover' being a translation of 'Philip' from Ancient Greek, and 'Fat' the translation of 'Dick' from German).
The novel can be read on many levels and raises a number of thought provoking angles, such as the nature of reality and delusion, and the basis of religious belief. PKD's writing cleverly draws the reader from the perspective that Horselover Fat is psychotic to the possibility that he may actually be chosen by Valis to reveal higher truths, and in this lies some ambiguity. In places it reads like a satire on religious beliefs and cults. There is also some scattering of black humour, particularly from his encounters with his Israeli counsellor.
However despite this, I found the start slow and difficult to read in places with too much rambling metaphysics and philosophy. This is really for the fans of PKD rather than those in search of a more mainstream SF novel, hence the 3-stars; quite a difficult book to judge.
However I disagree with a couple of points in his plot. He SHOULD have integrated the Ancient Sumerians & their religion. I'm actually shocked (REALLY!!!) he didn't especially how extremely well it could have fit into this book & its plot/themes. These additions would have made this book so much richer & PHILOSOPHICALLY MIND-BLOWING than it already is for me personally...ESPECIALLY since the Sumerians ARE a basis for the most followed religions!
Side note: Philip also could have added the ancient mysterious peoples of Gobeklitepe (12,000 years ago)... for my reason why to add these mysterious peoples? well it's a spoiler so I can't say here. But their religion and purpose of being is so shrouded in darkness... so much playing around could have been done :)