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The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Vintage) Paperback – 31 Jul 1991


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Product details

  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; 1st Vintage Books Ed edition (31 July 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679734449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679734444
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.5 x 20.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 814,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The final work of a master of SF. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was born in Chicago but lived in California for most of his life. He went to college at Berkeley for a year, ran a record store and had his own classical-music show on a local radio station. He published his first short story, 'Beyond Lies the Wub' in 1952. Among his many fine novels are THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, TIME OUT OF JOINT, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? and FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID. For more information visit www.philipkdick.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John David Charles Hilton on 25 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
"The Transmigration of Timothy Archer" was Philip K Dick's final work. It was published shortly after his untimely death in March 1982 from a series of strokes. It is one of his most overtly philosophical and intellectual works. It is narrated throughout by Angela Archer, unusual in Dick's work as he usually employed multiple narrators. It is a very questioning and occasionally despairing work, but ultimately life affirming. The subtlety of the plot development, the intellectual rigour of the discussions that take place, both conversational and interior monologue and most of all the wonderfully expressed character of Angela Archer make this, to me, his most rewarding work, a fact that makes his death shortly before publication all the greater loss. Philip K Dick is often cited as the main influence on the Cyberpunk movement led by William Gibson, but as this work, and titles as diverse as the inventive "Eye in the Sky" and "Martian Time Slip", the moving "Galactic Pot Healer", the complex and yet delicate "The Man in His High Castle" and the chilling yet deeply moving "A Scanner Darkly" show, there was so much more to his genius than just influence.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R D McLean on 20 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
PKD's final three books, VALIS, The Divine Invasion and, of course, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer were all greatly influenced by his breakdown/revelation in 1974. This is the final book in the sequence, and is perhaps the most beautiful of the three. Breaking away from his more traditionally SF ideals it is a story of a search for faith and meaning that manages to be both literary and gripping (the two seldom go together in my experience). PKD's philosophical powers have reach their height and it is a mark of his storytelling ability that he breaks the mould of his reputation as a pure SF writer to tell this tale.
PKD spent much of his life trying to break away from his reputation as an SF writer and write more mainstream literature. This represented his first real success and shows that - despite his depth of imagination and talent as an SF writer - he was a master storyteller and philosopher no matter the genre in which he wrote.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M Jenkins on 18 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Bishop Timothy Archer is haunted by the suicides of his son and mistress. He must also deal with the theological and philosophical implications of the newly-discovered Gnostic Zadokite scroll fragments. These events drive him into a quest for the identity of Christ.

The character of Bishop Archer is loosely based on the controversial Episcopalian Bishop James Pike whose outspoken views on many theological and social issues made him one of the most controversial public figures of his time. In 1969 Pike died of exposure while exploring the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea in the West Bank. Dick and Pike were friends, and Pike officiated at Dick's wedding to his forth wife Nancy Hackett 1966.

Philip K Dick's thirty-fifth published novel, written in 1981 and published in 1982. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is the third of Dick's final three novels (along with VALIS and The Divine Invasion) which are often referred to as the VALIS trilogy. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was not originally intended as the final work of the trilogy. The final novel was originally going to be called Fawn, Look Back, then The Owl in Daylight. However, this novel had not been written by the time of Dick's death and as such, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer was substituted for the unwritten final volume. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer does however fit comfortably with the two finished volumes and Dick himself called the three novels a trilogy, saying "the three do form a trilogy constellating around a basic theme.
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By Guy on 30 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
PKD's last novel is unusual, both generally speaking and in terms of the author's works. This is palpably not a science-fiction book, but a rumination on faith and how people are affected when they are forced through experience and evidence to re-assess that faith... or is it?

A bit of research will show that the traditional disclaimer that "all characters within are ficticious and and resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental" is not applicable here, and at least the lead character is based very strongly on an evangelist Dick knew very well in real life. Timothy Archer is a fascinating character to view from the outside as we see him swing desperately from one theory to another to rationalize both the discovery of historical artefacts that appear to invalidate the New Testament and the unfortunate tendencies of his loved ones to commit suicide.

Narrator Angel Archer was not a particularly likeable character initially and seems curiously unemotional about certain events that happen to her, but becomes more identifiable as the book progresses and we see the full extent of the quite literal madness that she's been surrounded by.

There is quite a bit of dry ponderance on biblical and literary influences that make this not the easiest of reads in places, and I was definitely out of my depth with some of the quotations and references which might be more satisfying to others more scholarly than I, but Dick nicely pulls a rabbit of the hat at the end of the novel that, like Timothy Archer himself, made me re-appraise or at least question what I thought the book had actually been about. Ultimately not the greatest thing Dick ever wrote, but a fitting epitaph nonetheless.
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