Documenting some of them himself (in a journal later published as an exegesis), the issues Philip K. Dick was dealing with in his personal life are known. Hallucinations to transcendental visions, suicidal thoughts to drug use, marital troubles to metaphysical doubts, these elements were reflected in Dick’s fiction in direct and indirect form. But they were always integrated in abstract, fictional fashion that made the story to hand, unique. That is, until 1981’s V.A.L.I.S.
The closest Dick got to autobiography in his fiction, VALIS is the personal and spiritual journey of Horselover Fat (‘Philip Dick’ if Greek is used to translate the first name and German the last), told through the eyes of his friend, the writer Philip Dick. Lost in life at the start of the novel, Fat is dealing with a broken marriage, a suicidal friend, and lack of spiritual conviction regarding the reality of reality. Events triggered when the friend eventually kills herself, Fat falls into a downward spiral. Believing he is mad, Fat shares some of his ideas with his friends Philip and Ken, and starts keeping a journal of his thoughts on metaphysics and religion, particularly his belief that he was contacted by an alien god-mind in the form of a strange pink light. In and out of mental institutions, Fat remains lost in life, that is until he learns he may not be the only one who has seen a pink light.