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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His final masterpiece
"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...
Published on 25 Feb. 2003 by John David Charles Hilton

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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nihilism masquerading as philosophy
Published in 1982 and showing it's age a bit now (2011), he probably intended it as a scholarly investigation of the nature of belief and religion. Unfortunately I couldn't warm to his characters although I stuck with them long enough to find out what happens in the end. It's a story in which love, joy, peace, beauty, faithfulness are all missing, full of characters who...
Published on 31 Oct. 2011 by A. Halfacre


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His final masterpiece, 25 Feb. 2003
By 
John David Charles Hilton "Creative spark...." (Redcliffe, Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"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
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting and endlessly fascinating, 20 Aug. 2003
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
5.0 out of 5 stars The Third Part of The VALIS Trilogy, 18 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (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."

The Transmigration of Timothy Archer continues Dick's exploration of the philosophical and religious themes that dominate his later works. It was a Nebula Award nominee (1982) and a Locus Award nominee (1983).

"I am a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist; my novel and story-writing ability is employed as a means to formulate my perception. The core of my writing is not art but truth. Thus what I tell is the truth, yet I can do nothing to alleviate it, either by deed or explanation. Yet this seems somehow to help a certain kind of sensitive troubled person, for whom I speak. I think I understand the common ingredient in those whom my writing helps: they cannot or will not blunt their own intimations about the irrational, mysterious nature of reality, and for them, my corpus of writing is one long ratiocination regarding this inexplicable reality, an investigation & presentation, analysis and response and personal history. My audience will always be limited to those people."
- Philip K Dick, Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick

If you are new to Philip K Dick's work I would recommend the following novels (which generally seem to be regarded as among his best):

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?
Ubik (S.F. Masterworks)
The Man In The High Castle (S.F. Masterworks)
A Scanner Darkly (S.F. Masterworks)
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (S.F. Masterworks)

That said, though some of PKD's works are better than others, to my mind they are all well worth reading. I would also recommend his short story collections.

I would also recommend Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (Gollancz S.F.).
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Final Dick, 30 Dec. 2014
By 
Guy (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Paperback)
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The final novel. But what a novel., 2 July 2003
By 
John David Charles Hilton "Creative spark...." (Redcliffe, Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"The Transmigration of Timothy Archer" was Philip K Dick's final work of fiction. 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. Inspired by the life and work of Bishop James Pike, the book is far more than a fictional biography. 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. Get it, read it, and you will learn much, and most of all have a geniunely inspiring and enjoyable read.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paul Verhoeven here is your next movie, 22 Feb. 2003
By 
johnnybird (Tousanne Arizona) - See all my reviews
Philip K Dick portrayed his friend Jim Pike, late Episcopal bishop of California (ie metro San Francisco), in this fantasized but recognizable story. Imagine wandering out into the Judean desert in search of the Dead Sea Scrolls caves (and their inspirer) armed only with a rental car map and a Pepsi. Imagine a man who kept four secretaries busy in a whirl of correspondence, a flock of journalists madly scribbling, a diocese agog, leaving all this for the silence of the desert....
In his quest for the historical Jesus perhaps Timothy Archer found no more than a flawed self-portrait. But the journey is fascinating.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dealing with death, 5 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this. It was the first Philip K Dick book I've read that had a woman first person narrator and I think she was one of my favourite characters ever. I just loved the way she wrote. There were passages in here that were just really beautiful and moving. I actually marked some which is something I've never done with a PKD before. It was sad and also hopeful the way she coped with her life and the tragic death of those she was closest to. The way she tried to understand what was going on for the people around her. I thought the title character came across as a bit of a dick and also a fool. I found it hard to understand why Angel loved him so much. I had more sympathy for the schizophrenic. But I really enjoyed reading this. No science fiction just life.
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0 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nihilism masquerading as philosophy, 31 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (Paperback)
Published in 1982 and showing it's age a bit now (2011), he probably intended it as a scholarly investigation of the nature of belief and religion. Unfortunately I couldn't warm to his characters although I stuck with them long enough to find out what happens in the end. It's a story in which love, joy, peace, beauty, faithfulness are all missing, full of characters who are drugging themselves because they recognise their own empty lives but seem unable to reach out and do anything about it. He trots through the arguments for and against belief through the mouth of the totally unsympathetic Timothy Archer. At one level it's an outright attack on the identity of Christ and the veracity of the Gospel accounts. On the other hand, the story lays bare the sham of dressing up selfishness, lust and greed in religious clothing and then blaming God for the results. In the end he seems to prefer the self-improvement of Buddhism but even that is unclear and it leaves a kind of helpless nhilism devoid of hope.

Read it as a curiosity from a particular place and time. No philosophy here, just emptiness.
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The Transmigration of Timothy Archer
The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Philip K. Dick (Paperback - 10 Feb. 2011)
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