Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kabbalah and Alchemy in VALIS


   "I saw Hebrew letters on the wall," Fat said.
   "Yes," Mini said, still smiling. "Cabala. And the Hebrew letters permutated until they factored out into words you could read."
   "Into KING FELIX," Fat said.
   "Why did you lie about the doorway?" Linda said, without animosity; she seemed merely curious.
   Fat said, "I didn't think you'd believe me."
   "Then you're not normally familiar with the Cabala," Mini said. "It's the encoding system which VALIS uses; all its ver­bal information is stored as Cabala, because that's the most economical way, since the vowels are indicated by mere vowel-points. You were given a set-ground discriminating un-scrambler, you realize. We normally can't distinguish set from ground; VALIS has to fire the unscrambler at you. It's a grid. You saw set as color, of course."
   "Yes." Fat nodded. "And ground as black and white."
   "So you could see the false work."
   "Pardon?" Fat said.
   "The false work that's blended with the real world."
   "Oh," Fat said. "Yes, I understand. It seeemed as if some tilings had been taken away-"
   "And other things added," Mini said.
   Fat nodded.
   "You have a voice inside your head now?" Mini said. "The AI voice?"
   After a long pause, and a glance at me, Kevin and David, Fat said, "It's a neutral voice. Neither male nor female. Yes, it does sound as if it's an artificial intelligence."
   "That's the inter-system communications network," Mini
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said. "It stretches between stars, connecting all the star sys­tems with Albemuth."
   Staring at him, Fat said," 'Albemuth'? It's a star?"
   "You heard the word, but-"
   "I saw it in written form," Fat said, "but I didn't know what it meant. I connected it with alchemy, because of the 'al.' "
   "The al prefix," Mini said, "is Arabic; it simply means 'the.' It's a common prefix for stars. That was your clue. Anyhow, you did see written pages, then."

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