About the book (from jacket flap:
Philip K. Dick is often cited by critics and writers around the world as the best and most influential of contemporary science fiction writers. His last three novels, which have come to be known as the VALIS Trilogy, are now available in one volume exclusively from Book-of-the-Month Club.
VALIS, an acronym for Vast Active Living Intelligence System, was inspired by a mystical experience that Dick described as “an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind”. Horselover Fat, the half-mad mystic hero of VALIS, suffers just such an invasion, one that leads him to question the seemingly straightforward construct we call reality and catapults him into a metaphysical search for truth and meaning, looking for answers in sources as diverse as the Bible and a dog food commercial. He is aided in his blackly comic exploration by his three – or is it two? – friends, fellow members of the Rhipidon Society, dedicated to finding the fifth Messiah and keeping their friend out of an asylum.
The Divine Invasion, set considerably farther in the future, explores many of the questions posed in VALIS. Emmanuel, the son of God and a woman named Rybys, must solve the puzzle of his own existence and his mission on Earth. Rybys was killed trying to sneak the unborn Savior past the corrupt powers that control the planet. His ostensible father, as a result of the same accident, is stuck for ten years in cryonic suspension, forced to listen to Muzak. But Emmanul’s mysterious schoolmate Zina might by the instrument he created for revealing his own suppressed knowledge…or she might be an agent of the demon Belial.
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is loosely drawn from incidents in the life of Bishop James Pike, whom Dick knew personally. Bishop Timothy Archer, a lawyer turned cleric, is a charming man who seeks belief through reason and pursues it with such single-minded diligence that nothing can stand in his way – not organized religion, not the safety of his loved ones, and ultimately not his own sanity. His story is told by Angel, his niece and only survivor, wounded by the exacting toll Timothy has wrought on everyone around him, but resilient enough eventually to see the possibilities for joy and salvation in the world as it is.
The VALIS Trilogy is Dick’s most far-reaching, passionate attempt to grapple with the question he once described as his major preoccupation: “What is reality?” Each of these books, with their extremely sophisticated theological and metaphysical underpinnings, explores the limits of certain knowledge. Beyond that, they are an investigation of humanity, the essential quality that enables mankind to survive in the face of an ever more doubtful cosmology.