#496: THIS EXCERPT IS BROUGHT TO YOU FROM A BOOK I AM ACTUALLY ENJOYING
I am loving this book, Philp K. Dick's Valis, and here's why:
..."The tank battles at Kursk involved over four thousand armored vehicles. It was the greatest battle of armor in history. Everyone knows about Stalingrad, but nobody knows about Kursk. The real victory by the Soviet Union took place at Kursk. When you consider --"
"Kevin," David interrupted, "what the Germans should have done was show the Russians a dead cat and ask them to explain it."
"That would have stopped the Soviet offensive right there," I said. "Zhukov would still be trying to account for the cat's death."
To Kevin, Sherri said, "In view of the stunning victory by the good side at Kursk, how can you complain about one cat?"
"There's something in the Bible about falling sparrows," Kevin said. "About his eye being on them. That's what's wrong with God; he has only one eye."
"Did God win the battle at Kursk?" I said to Sherri. "That must be news to the Russians, especially the ones who built the tanks and drove them and got killed."
Sherri said patiently, "God uses us as instruments through which he works."
"Well," Kevin said, "regarding Horse, God has a defective instrument. Or maybe they're both defective, like an eighty-year-old lady driving a Pinto with a drop-in gas tank."
"The Germans would have had to hold up Kevin's dead cat," Fat said. "Not just any dead cat. All Kevin cares about is that one cat."
"That cat," Kevin said, "did not exist during World War Two."
"Did you grieve over him then?" Fat said.
"How could I?" Kevin said. "He didn't exist."
"Then his condition was the same as now," Fat said.
"Wrong," Kevin said.
"Wrong in what way?" Fat said. "How did his nonexistence then differ from his nonexistence now?"
"Kevin's got the corpse now," David said. "To hold up. That was the whole point of the cat's existence. He lived to become a corpse by which Kevin could refute the goodness of God."
"Kevin," Fat said, "who created your cat?"
"God did," Kevin said.
"So God created a refutation of his own goodness," Sherri said. "By your logic."
"God is stupid," Kevin said. "We have a stupid deity. I've said that before."
Sherri said, "Does it take much skill to create a cat?"
"You just need two cats," Kevin said. "One male and one female." But he could obviously see where she was leading him. "It takes --" He paused, grinning. "Okay, it takes skill, if you presume purpose in the universe."
"You don't see any purpose?" Sherri said.
Hesitating, Kevin said, "Living creatures have a purpose."
"Who puts the purpose in them?" Sherri said.
"They --" Again Kevin hesitated. "They are their purpose. They and their purpose can't be separated."
"So an animal is an expression of purpose," Sherri said. "So there is purpose in the universe."
"In small parts of it."
"And unpurpose gives rise to purpose."
Kevin eyed her. "Eat shit," he said.
Yes, Valis and I are becoming fast friends. Of course, how could I not love a book whose main character authors the book in the third person and is named Horselover Fat?