Reviews of Divine Invasion, the (1981)
Review by mrdude (2005-05-06)
The Divine Invasion by Philip K. Dick is, on a very basic level, the story of Herb Asher, a man from earth, who while living in a small dome in the star system CY30-CY30B, believes that he has been contacted by a God named Yah (a shortened version for the Jewish name for god, Yahweh).
The novel actually starts of several years after the point in which Herb is living in his dome, and instead begins after he has died and has been put in "cryonic suspension" until a donor can be found for his ruptured spleen. Herb has had a son and the boy survived the accident with brain damage, while his wife, Rybus, perished. So, while Herb is in this suspension he is re-living his past, from the point where he met Rybus up to the point in time of the accident.
Even my short introduction above is extremely misleading when it comes to the overall message of the book. I do want to point out that there is much more happening than a simple sci-fi thriller. Far from it, this book goes into depths that I did not see fathomable by a mere work of science fiction. Still, to divulge any more details would simply ruin the book for you, so alas, I will not, but I will speak more about the book in general.
This book is actually the second book in the Valis trilogy. A series of books which Philip K. Dick wrote after claiming to have "an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind" In march of 1974. The book does deal with very deep philosophical issues, which at times can be quite mind boggling. I myself had a very difficult time at the beginning of the novel discerning what on earth was going on, and in fact in some instances I'm not sure I found out.
As for the technical aspects of the book, Dick relies heavily on duologue in the book and often even creates inner dialogues for each character's thought processes. Furthermore, he seems to enjoy using a lot of biblical references throughout the book, most of the time having different characters refer to them in conversation. Also, one of the characters in the book is a musician who sings futuristics arrangements of songs originally written for lute by the late Jon Dowland (who is not fictional but actually a composer in the late 16 century and early 17 century). The lyrics to quite a few songs are sung throughout the book, and often provide symbolism and metaphor to the events happening.
Overall this was a great book. Although I did read it on a whim, I doubt that was the authors original intention. It is definitely worth reading and contemplating more than once in your lifetime.
Review also posted at the IBDoF