The Divine Invasion has a funny set up. We find out Herb Asher was killed in an accident but is in cryonic suspension awaiting an organ transplant that will revive him. The Cry-Labs warehouse is close to an FM radio tower, and so as Asher dreams and relives the events leading up to the accident he also hears a faint muzak version of Fiddler on the Roof that no one else can hear. This gag comes up again late in the book during a farcical encounter with a cop when Asher isn’t sure what reality he is in.
Other than these brief moments The Divine Invasion is a mostly humorless story about a woman on a faraway colony planet who is impregnated by Yahweh who was driven there from Earth in 73 A.D. She travels back to Earth along with the Joseph stand-in Herb Asher and a reincarnated Elijah so that her soon-to-be-born son Emmanuel can overthrow Earth’s ruling powers and save mankind… or something along those lines.
It gets better in the second half when Zina transports them all to an alternate reality and there is some mystery about who/what Zina really is (Wisdom? A fairy queen? VALIS? Satan? Christ himself… which would make Emmanuel what?), but it still remains my least favorite book of the VALIS Trilogy.
Cast of characters
- Emmanuel – the reborn savior
- Elias Tate – Elijah reincarnated. Emmanuel’s guardian after Herb and Rybys die
- Herb Asher – Emmanuel’s ‘father’
- Rybys Rommey – Emmanuel’s mother
- Zina – the young girl who is Emmanuel’s friend
- Cardinal Fulton Statler Harms – Chief Prelate of the Christian-Islamic Church. Trying to use Big Noodle to verify St. Anselm’s Ontological Proof for the existence of God
- Nicholas Bulkowsky – Procurator Maximus of the Scientific Legate
- Linda Fox – intergalactic pop superstar, at least in the book’s beginning reality
Other things to know
- Christian-Islamic Church – formerly the Catholic Church
- Scientific Legate – formerly the Communist Party. One of the two ruling parties of Earth along with the C.I.C.
- Big Noodle – Earth’s great Artificial Intelligence