The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

The Transmigration of Timothy ArcherThe Transmigration Of Timothy Archer, The Final Novel In The Trilogy That Also Includes Valis And The Divine Invasion, Is An Anguished, Learned, And Very Moving Investigation Of The Paradoxes Of Belief It Is The Story Of Timothy Archer, An Urbane Episcopal Bishop Haunted By The Suicides Of His Son And Mistress And Driven By Them Into A Bizarre Quest For The Identity Of Christ

Philip K Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short story collections He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Philip K Di

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  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 204 pages
  • The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Portuguese
  • 07 August 2019
  • 9789721036376

10 thoughts on “The Transmigration of Timothy Archer

  1. says:

    My first thoughts about The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was what a terrible shame, what a great loss that Philip K Dick died so young His voice had matured in the 80s but his imagination and his speculative genius was still very much intact and vibrant as in the 50s My second thought was and I have wondered this same thought after reading other books by him why in the world was he not popular in his own time He was ahead of his time, way ahead of his time Dan Brown s The Da Vinci Code was published in 2003, but than twenty years earlier, Philip K Dick had asked many of the same questions and had arrived at far insightful and artistic conclusions Of course, sadly, while Brown has basked in comet like literary and financial success, Dick died after years in poverty just as the world at large was becoming ready for him, just as another visionary genius was about to raise the curtain on the world Phil had made.This is not so much pure science fiction as the nebulous, but quantitatively accurate term for PKDs work speculative fiction In some respects, this was one of his greatest work, rivaling Ubik in its theological scope and determinism, while departing from Ubik s fluid symbolism This has all the great themes of his canon imagination, speculation, theology, mythology, mysticism, psychology, philosophy, references to classical music and art, German enlightenment, mental illness, drug use and yes, even an appliance repairman Dick fills this narrative with as much irony and paradox as his creative mind could muster The narration by Angel Archer and the dialogue between Angel and Tim becomes a vehicle whereby Philip can explore the tangents where his world and our world intersect This is the introspective journey of Bishop Timothy Archer, and told by his daughter in law Angel in a way vaguely reminiscent of Bergman s Wild Strawberries for truth, in his beliefs and in himself This is about life and death and beyond.

  2. says:

    In early September 1969, the Rt Rev James A Pike, fifth Bishop of California, got lost in the middle of the Judaean Desert, fell into a canyon, and died of exposure It was a dramatic end to a dramatic life Pike had been one of the first celebrity bishops, and had led calls for female ordination, spoken up for LGBT acceptance, and marched to Selma with Martin Luther King After the suicide of his son, he had become immersed in spiritualist enthusiasm, visiting mediums, holding a televised s ance, and publishing a rather embarrassing book on the subject The Other Side.Before his death, Pike had been in a long term, secret relationship with his secretary, and had even officiated at the wedding of her stepdaughter The secretary s stepdaughter was called Nancy Hackett, and her marriage was to the writer Philip K Dick.This is Dick s novelisation of the spiritual journey his sort of father in law went on the bishop renamed, here, to Timothy Archer but otherwise by all accounts faithfully portrayed In this version, though, Dick himself is replaced by a female narrator, Angel Archer, who is married to the bishop s son and who has to endure the deaths of, in turn, her husband, her best friend, and finally the bishop himself, at the end of his long quest for spiritual enlightenment.So much about this book seemed almost miraculous to me, especially in the context of Dick s career its female protagonist, its real world setting, and most of all its amused, rational worldview As the last novel he finished, it raises tantalising questions about the kind of books Dick might have gone on to write if he d had the chance Death hangs over the world depicted in the novel, and it hangs over the novel itself too.Mind you, a lot of these elements almost didn t fall into place When Dick first came up with the idea for this book, he conceived of it as another science fiction novel, involving CIA plots and alien invasion Fellow SF author Norman Spinrad convinced him or so Spinrad claims to drop all the paraphernalia and just publish it as a piece of straight fiction It therefore has this wonderfully grounded, contemporary quality which is apparent from the opening lines Barefoot conducts his seminars on his houseboat in Sausalito It costs a hundred dollars to find out why we are on this Earth You also get a sandwich, but I wasn t hungry that day John Lennon had just been killed and I think I know why we are on this Earth it s to find out that what you love the most will be taken away from you, probably due to an error in high places rather than by design.Angel Archer, our narrator, is a joyful companion, regarding the world around her with dry wit and a lit joint, and always ready with a quick slogan No single thing abides, and all things are fucked up She s Dick s first decent female character since Juliana Frink all the way back in Man in the High Castle at the start of his career, and he had evidently gone through something of a realisation about this issue My depiction of females has been inadequate and even somewhat vicious, he wrote to his agent and Angel is certainly a very welcome surprise, giving a completely new tone to his writing.Apart from anything else, she s funny, which is something that Dick doesn t usually do very well That s important in a book built round a series of tragic deaths, and it helps create the novel s tone of wry scepticism After VALIS and The Divine Invasion, scepticism is the last thing I d been expecting every time Bishop Archer became convinced of another crazy theory about life after death or the Zadokites, I kept waiting for one of Dick s dei ex machina to reveal that, ta da, he was absolutely right But it never happens.Instead, Angel looks at the bishop and wonders much the same things that people had begun to wonder about Dick himself How could an intelligent, educated man, a great man, really, one of the most powerful men of his time how could he begin to believe in that The book ends up finding meaning not in abstruse theological ideas or conspiracy theories, but in practical comforts food, friends, independence, music, silly jokes, personal relationships Thanks to these things, Angel at the end of the book sees herself as gradually recovering from her losses, a lone survivor from a group that had been unfairly struck down A spectator to the destruction of my friends, I said to myself one who records on a notepad the names of those who will die, and who did not manage to save any of them, not even one.And this is how Dick saw himself unaware that he wouldn t be a lone survivor for very long The painful thing about Timothy Archer is how confidently it suggests that rumours of Dick s insanity were premature but it came almost too late to matter You read passages like the one above with a shock of realisation by the time they were published, he would already be dead.

  3. says:

    This is a re read for me and perhaps not exactly my favorite of his last and greatest sequence of linked novels that began with VALIS, but it is still profound and beautiful.Truly, it is a very good book, but it stands as both a major departure from PKD s normal fiction That s to say, it s a novel that explores all the same themes that he s is known for, but he does it in a very firmly grounded and mainstream way that very much does NOT touch upon his traditional SF style.Suicide, madness, drug use, heavy intellectualism comes right to the fore but rather than deal with it from inside the person most afflicted with it or get funky with some really strange happenings, we follow Timothy Archer s daughter in law, Angel, as she tries to come to grips with the grief of losing Tim along with all of Tim s friends.Sound simple Well, grief isn t simple and Tim s life and intellect was pretty fantastic and the impact he had upon everyone was pretty profound His struggles with faith and his eventually giving up the cloth and going to great lengths, intellectual or otherwise, to discover the real truth about Jesus, has long term effects on everyone.That s not to say there isn t a lot of really strange things happening here, however, but they re all based on reality and scholarship and the deepest quest for meaning that anyone can or ought to strive.What if Christianity was a mushroom cult, that systematic drug use and hallucinations WAS the body of Christ That all the early Christians were, after all, drug pushers I love it It s even based on some really impressive scholarship But beyond that, there s also the idea that this mushroom also opens our minds to see the truth of reality and in so doing, allows us to link in with the system of the universe and carry on past death for real So, blithe and humorous assumptions aside, this was the real aspect of faith and the promise and the tragedy is that we lost this bridge.Even so, my takeaway from this book, with this topic, is only a single feature in a very rich tapestry of characterizations, explorations, and fundamental human experience Don t take my word for it Read it with the other VALIS novels and get really surprised that this was so mainstream I know I was.And now I really can t wait to pick up Radio Free Albemuth again It, perhaps than all the rest, is the capstone of all these ideas and it is a firm adventure in revolution and science fiction greatness as well All the ideas and themes come back in full force What a fantastic storyteller

  4. says:

    No single thing abides and all things are fucked up Philip K Dick, The Transmigration of Timothy ArcherTransmigration of Timothy Archer was brilliant in parts, very engaging, but there were also pieces that just didn t quite fit I m willing to give PKD a lot of credit for attempting, so late in his life, a mainstream novel Ultimately, however, I couldn t quite swallow the whole book oh me of little faith I m not sure if it was a dissatisfaction with it not living up to my expectation s , or having too much of the novel actually exist there AND me just wanting I think part of it was Dick set the reader up He wanted to yank the reader left, and then yank the reader right, then trip the reader, so we can see what it is like to live in his head as he is trying to make sense of his own mortality and faith.I love that each of his three Valis God Gnostic books Valis, The Divine Invasion, Transmigration of Timothy Archer are so different For me, the structural and style differences in these books allowed PKD creative room to explore his big religious themes God, faith, salvation, love, fate, compassion, the search for identity, knowledge, etc, from as many sides and angles as possible Bishop Archer describes the book s central quandary when he says My point, Tim said, is that if the Logia predate Jesus by two hundred years, then the Gospels are suspect, we have no evidence that Jesus was God, very God, God incarnate, and therefore the basis of our religion is gone Jesus simply becomes a teacher representing a particular Jewish sect that ate and drank some kind of well, whatever it was, the anokhi, and it made them immortal PKD doubles down when Bishop Archer finds out that the anokhi is a psychedelic mushroom out of which the Zadokites made a broth and a bread The Zadokites drank the broth blood and ate the bread body Thus, Dick essentially turned early Christianity into a secret mushroom cult So, in this novel Jesus and his apostles becomes dope dealers and smugglers Throw into this reincarnation, mysticism, drugs, a ton of 70s music, cars, Berkeley, etc., and you get the raw and messy PKD working hard to both mess with your head and sort it all out I m still trying to decide what he really wanted to do, and what he actually ended up doing to me.

  5. says:

    The Transmigration of Timothy Archer Explores madness, suicide, faith, the occultOriginally posted at Fantasy LiteraturePhilip K Dick s Radio Free Albemuth 1985 and VALIS 1981 were strange but moving attempts to make sense of his bizarre religious experiences in 1974 when a hyper rational alien mind contacted him via a pink laser from space He then wrote The Divine Invasion 1981 and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer 1982 , both loosely connected titles in the VALIS TRILOGY, although the latter was posthumously substituted for the unfinished The Owl in Daylight Sadly, these were the final novels that PDK wrote before his death in 1982 The Divine Invasion is a complex retelling of the second coming of Christ to an Earth dominated by the fallen angel Belial If you crave deep philosophical discussions of Gnosticism, anamnesis, and salvation, you ll be entranced Otherwise, you may be completely lost.The Transmigration of Timothy Archer 1982 is a much controlled, almost mainstream novel narrated by a female protagonist in the first person perhaps the only example in PKD s oeuvre about the complex relationships between an eccentric but extremely erudite Catholic Bishop named Timothy Archer, his lover Kirsten Lundborg, her schizophrenic son Bill, the Bishop s son Jeff Archer, and his wife Angel Archer The book delves into despair and suicide, questions religious faith, and shows the damage caused to loved ones who try to save troubled souls It s a big departure for PKD, and it s sad to see that he didn t have opportunities to explore this direction.The story is told by Angel Archer, the wife of Jeff Archer, who himself is the son of Episcopalian Bishop Timothy Archer The Bishop is a highly educated former lawyer, a Renaissance man who challenges many key Catholic doctrines, questions segregation, favors the ordaining of women, enjoys debates on controversial topics, reads Latin and Greek, and is a well known public figure due to frequent public appearances In fact, PKD based this character very closely on the real life of James Pike, the Episcopalian Bishop of California from 1958 1966, whose story very closely resembles that of Timothy Archer In fact, PKD was close friends with him, and he officiated at PKD s marriage to Nancy Hackett, the step daughter of Maren Hackett, a woman who Pike was romantically involved with after his second marriage collapsed This complex interweaving of PKD s personal life and friends with his fiction is a trademark of his later period, as he increasingly used it to explore his own troubled life and departed from his earlier pulp SF origins.In the novel, Angel Archer is married to Jeff Archer, the Bishop s son Angel Archer initially works at a small law office in Berkeley run by two political activists who represents drug pushers She pays the bills since Jeff cannot, and eventually becomes manager of a Berkeley record store, something PKD did in real life When Angel introduces her feminist activist friend Kirsten Lundborg to Tim, he agrees to give a free lecture for Kirsten s feminist advocacy group But unknown to Angel, Tim and Kirsten begin an affair as well When she confronts the Bishop about it, he easily deflects her accusations with his legal skills, pointing out that he himself is not married and Kirsten is a single mother, so they are not adulterers However, Angel is concerned that this romantic relationship with Kirsten, who becomes the Bishop s personal secretary, will damage his credibility as a public religious figure.Meanwhile, Angel s husband Jeff Archer develops an attraction to the older Kirsten, and when he discovers she is having an affair with his father, this causes him severe psychological trauma As time goes on, he begins to suffer from depression and signs of madness Eventually he commits suicide, causing intense feelings of guilt in Tim and Angel Subsequently, Kirsten develops cancer and starts taking barbiturates for the pain She gets increasingly hostile and paranoid, suspecting Angel and Tim having an affair behind her back, and becomes very bitter and angry at life.Events further devolve as strange ghost like phenomena occur to Tim and Kirsten, such as objects in the house falling and breaking, Kirsten feeling the pain of pins being pushed under her fingernails, and finally they visit a spiritual medium who reveals in a s ance that Tim s son Jeff is trying to communicate with them and warns Kirsten that her life is in danger To Angel s dismay, Tim believes these supernatural explanations and decides to write a book about their experiences Angel knows this will destroy all Tim s remaining credibility, but he is determined to see it through Eventually Kirsten kills herself with an overdose of barbiturates This not only confirms the psychic s prediction, but also adds further guilt and pain to the lives of Tim and Angel They struggle to understand why their loved ones chose to take their own lives and why they could not prevent it.Tim then learns that an archaeological dig in Israel has unearthed Zadokite Gnostic scrolls that refer to many of Jesus s famous statements, but over two centuries before the birth of Christ This throws most of Tim s beliefs in Christianity into question, particularly the core doctrine of Jesus Christ being the son of God and not just a prophet He is determined to go there himself to investigate these claims, and goes out into the Judean desert to recreate the experience of Jesus wandering in the wilderness Alone and disoriented, he falls to his death and is not discovered for days.Saddled with tragedy after tragedy, Angel Archer seeks spiritual help from a guru named Edgar Lightfoot, whose teaching focus on Zen Buddhism as a form of psychotherapy and healing There she encounters Kirsten s schizophrenic son Bill, who has survived all these deaths without feelings of guilt As they spend time together, Bill one day reveals that the spirit of Timothy Archer now inhabits his mind, and divulges details about Tim that would not be easily known, and also speaks in tongues, quoting from Dante s Divina Commedia, one of Tim s favorite literary and religious works Angel realizes that his mind has completely succumbed to madness, but is still drawn to the possibility of reconnecting with Tim s spirit The book ends on this ambiguous note.The Transmigration of Timothy Archer represents perhaps the most personal of PKD s works other than A Scanner Darkly, Radio Free Albemuth and VALIS, and is the most mainstream of his later novels Despite the painful and depressing subject matter, I felt it was a very courageous attempt to search for the reasons behind madness, despair, suicide, religious faith, and whether there is anything that can be done to prevent such tragedies The sense of inevitability in the characters runs deep, and yet avoids cheap sentimentality As you might expect, he does not arrive at a life affirming realization at the end, but he has taken the readers for quite a ride This book in not really SF or fantasy at all, and would not likely appeal to many genre readers, but for those PKD fans intent on knowing his final thoughts on life, it is an important work and well worth reading.

  6. says:

    Some notes upon finishing the book.This is NOT the third book in the VALIS Trilogy It is what the author says it is in What If Our World Is Their Heaven, a literary novel that took out of him to write than four SF novels He had something to get out about life in general, and his experience with Bishop James Pike in particular, and this is it, a thing in itself There is nothing here that requires the kind of suspension of disbelief demanded by genre SF All is derived from conventional religious and cultural discussions and equally conventional material about the paranormal mediums, their influence and authenticity and post mortem channeling with some fictionalized modern archeology bearing on the sources of Christian thought There is no endorsement of or necessity for belief in the paranormal here, all such elements are left uncertain with different characters holding and changing different and conventional views That is only to say that it is not really a part of the flow of immediately prior P.K.Dick works represented by VALIS, A Scanner Darkly, Divine Invasions etc but a really good straight literary novel reflecting Dick s philosophical ideas but in no way a genre work The development of Angel Archer as first person narrator and the places the narrative takes her are sufficient and excellent without the undue strain of integrating it with any of the preceding works There is one really unconventional idea, that an origin of the Eucharist, dating back to 200BC, may have involved a psychotropic mushroom prepared as both food and drink That idea like many others plays a part but does not become a crucial element itself, nor is it entirely settled by the end, nor does settling it matter One may use that idea to argue a link to A Scanner Darkly, for example, but does that accomplish much In the absence of a real speculative dystopian setting, what of it Dick does a masterful job of integrating his usual themes without resorting to anything fantastic One Dick thread that appears in this book is very ingeniously deployed In the genre works e.g Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Impostor we often find the question of what distinguishes humans from very sophisticated machines In this non genre setting, the narrator discusses this in regard to herself, if after all the losses suffered she has been reduced to a machine, the humanity having been ground out of her by events A machine in a sense found in philosophy or spiritual works not a literal mechanism, however sentient or possessed by a sense of identity, as in a genre work.If there is one Dick trademark that is really absent in this story is the background of a dystopia Our actual world, set at the time of John Lennon s murder, is dystopia enough for this story It does not stray from this realistic setting nor does it posit any speculative alternative history from it.In the documentary The Penultimate Truth About Philip K Dick one of the interviewees expressed relief at reading this book saying At least, Phil didn t die insane or words to that effect With that assessment I completely agree, this book is literature not genre and never actually goes off into psi psycho shifting reality territory but is well grounded in reality taking philosophical mystery, traditional questions of religious faith and human error into account It also highlights the real tragedy of his being struck down as he was in the midst of what was clearly the height of his powers as a writer that might have gone yet higher.As you may have noticed I an fed up with the compulsion is some quarters to regard the VALIS trilogy as complete.The final book of the VALIS Trilogy would have been The Owl In Daylight that never reached a tangible preliminary written form when the author died That title comes from a southern expression meaning dazed and confused, apparently owls can only function well at night and will fly erratically and even injure themselves in day time The interviews cited above did not give me any specific idea what additional layers of meaning he meant to add to the phrase, only that he like it enough to use it He did outline a very interesting idea of aliens that developed in a world where speech and hearing would not evolve although I disagree with the idea they do not have words at all and might experience human auditory events as extrasensory perception or revelation, and would use technology to experience these things via a human host That sort of premise does require the usual suspension of disbelief of SF genre work Whether the S means Science , or Ellison s Speculative This grouping of the last three books is very convenient for some hardcore fans, readers who are obsessed with the idea of trilogies one of my favorite trilogies is the five Douglas Adams books, and would Dick have stopped at the magic number three , and even so for frustrated publishers, but does not really exist We are left with a gap in the work that can not be reliably filled, not that no one will or even should try as ex wife Tessa already has, but that is another story, or even a yet to be written novel of family intrigue over the estate of a famous writer But the culprit was a great book out of sequence that the author had to write before finishing the other task We should be grateful for what we have here and not invent structures that do not exist.

  7. says:

    see Dick See Dick run See Dick write about the sacred quest to escape one s body and transcend the narrow human perception of experience through the ongoing search for the essential logos via the ingestion of psychedelic mushrooms while retracing the steps of the Christ pant

  8. says:

    Well, I hate to say this but this was my least favorite of the VALIS books My guess is because it was too mainstream and not enough far out weird stuff So even though a lot of the religious stuff bored me mostly because a lot of it is just over my head , the story itself with Angel, Tim, and all the other characters, did not fill in the rest of story with the wacky dialogue and interactions that I enjoyed in the previous two books Yeah, there were some great scenes, but just not enough to pull the book as a whole up to a level that I fully enjoyed.So, I m hovering around 2.5 stars Mostly 2 stars, with periodic 3 star scenes Oh well, time to go back and read some of his earlier works now.

  9. says:

    The fixed idea of madness is fascinating, if you are inclined toward viewing with interest something that is palpably impossible yet nonetheless exists p.97 The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is the final novel Philip K Dick completed before his untimely death in March 1982 Often listed as the third part of the VALIS Trilogy, it bears little relation to the first two VALIS books Dick s intended third part of the trilogy, The Owl in Daylight, never progressed beyond a rough outline It is classed as being both a postmodern and philosophical novel which Dick was quoted as saying is in no way science fiction Interestingly, his agent had a different interpretation of the book in your science fiction they drive things called flobbles and quibbles, and in this one they drive Hondas but it s still essentially a science fiction novel Although I can t explain exactly how These quotes are taken from an interview the author gave to Twilight Zone magazine at the beginning of 1982 At that time the interviewer remarked that Dick was in excellent spirits and was looking forward to the premiere of Blade Runner with considerable excitement It is sad that he didn t live to see it.Timothy Archer is a different kind of book to both VALIS and The Divine Invasion While it still features heavy doses of philosophy and religion, for a Dick novel it is pretty mainstream It has a contemporary setting, 1980 at the time of its composition , and references to actual events of the time including the death of John Lennon and the lectures given by Alan Watts, Edgar Barefoot in the book The main character is Angel Archer, Dick s first female lead She narrates the story of her friendship with Bishop Timothy Archer, a thinly veiled literary representation of Dick s friend Jim Pike I am the last living person who knew the Bishop Timothy Archer of the Diocese of California, his mistress, his son my husband In a series of flashbacks, Angel reminisces about her relationships with Bishop Archer and his son Jeff, who we learn is Angel s husband We also meet the Bishop s mistress Kirsten and her schizophrenic son Bill They are a fascinating group of characters that Dick has written I quickly found myself caught up in their world, enjoying their quirks as well as their intelligence To me, they felt rounded than Dick s typical characters that people his pulpier works.If you are a fan of Dick s science fiction, this book might surprise you with its picture of late 1970s California life and a plot involving religion, the occult, death, the afterlife and the possible origins of Jesus teachings Phew, take a breath Not to mention mind altering mushrooms I enjoyed it and found it refreshing after the convoluted strangeness of The Divine Invasion as well as the exegetical dryness of VALIS This may have been aided by it being the fifth book of twelve in my yearlong PKD Exegesis group read a long I ve commented in earlier reviews about how much I ve missed PKD s mind bending atypical sci fi tales such as Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Well, this story was something different again, something unexpected And the good news is there are books to come Next up is The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.Definitely recommended, if only to experience the wonderful Angel Archer.https biginjapangrayman.wordpress.c

  10. says:

    This book feels like Valis than it does The Divine Invasion Like the first volume of the trilogy, it is grounded in the here and now, the supernatural elements are in the fringes of the story rather than in your face, and it feels like a very personal work.It is also a great early novel about Gnosticism and obviously had a lot of research put into its development Also, even though it comes last in the trilogy, I feel that this book is probably the most accessible of the three.

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