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The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
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The Man in the High Castle (1962)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,084146507 (3.78)2 / 263
  1. 51
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are alternate histories set in a USA changed by World War Two.
  2. 51
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alternate history
  3. 20
    The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Two very different approaches to using an oracle, one the Tarot, another the I Ching, to help structure a book's narrative.
  4. 43
    The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (ateolf)
  5. 43
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alternate history
  6. 10
    Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alt history
  7. 00
    SS-GB by Len Deighton (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Alternate History: Axis powers won WWII
  8. 00
    Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Sylak)
    Sylak: Alternate history following WWI
  9. 11
    China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh (ahstrick)
  10. 01
    The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad (andyl)
    andyl: Alternate history novel that also uses the book within a book device.
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English (134)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Slovak (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (146)
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
I suppose I might try again some day considering it's a classic, but then again I've so many other worthies on my shelf I probably won't.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
I would have given this alternative history novel a higher rating but I disliked the ending intensely.

Although the basic premise was known to me, this book wasn't what I expected. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 10, 2015 |
Even though it's an "oldy and goldy," I had to watch a pilot for an Amazon original based on The Man in the High Castle before I got around to reading the book. And, to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed that it took a TV show to get me to read one of the classics.


Alas, there’s no time like the present.


Or the past revisited and just a little bit different. Because the world we find in The Man in the High Castle is an alternate Earth, where Hitler and Japan have won World War II and an uneasy detente has settled over the conquered planet.


It is the 1960s. Africa is a wasteland, destroyed by Nazi experiments, while America is split in spheres of influence between the Japanese and the Germans. Between the Nazi dominated east coast and the Japanese controlled west, the west remains a neutral land, with little interest by the conquering powers in Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado or Utah (what's with that? Don't they know that the Rockies are God's country?). There in the west, a man is writing, writing an alternate history of the world, one in which the Allies won, where Franklin Delano Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt, and the Japanese and German empires were defeated. In a world dominated by an aging Hitler and his cronies, the book is a work of treason.


In this alternate universe, most of the events of the story happen a far from the tectonic shifts in geopolitical events that define the order. Hitler dies, a succession competition begins, and the Japanese begin to brace themselves for an expected war with the Nazis. Instead of zeroing in on these events, Dick combines two plot lines that shows people impacted indirectly by the geopolitical. The two plots are connected only by a relationship between the main characters that occurred prior to the novel. It’s a close up look, and if it sacrifices attention to detail for a focus on character, it doesn’t seem to harm the book.


That said, the book ends without really resolving the underlying conceit: the book that tells our own history. It is the plot device the drives the The Man in the High Castle, but it ends up as something of an unexplained McGuffin. As a plot device, it is an intriguing connection between the real world—our world—and the alternate world, but the story needs an explanation.


I’ve read that Dick intended to do a sequel, but for whatever reason never did. If that’s the case, it explains why The Man in the High Castle lacks the resolution it needs. In spite of this, the world Dick imagines is interesting, a credible place where more stories could be written. The world that might have been if the Axis had won World War II is an intriguing premise, and many have worked with it. Dick's twist by connecting it with a book that tells our story gives The Man in the High Castle a meta aspect and makes it an intriguing read, well worth the Hugo Award it won. ( )
  publiusdb | Mar 27, 2015 |
mindbending but also a very interesting story. compelling.

the Allies lost WWII. Japan possesses the west coast of the US. Nazi Germany rules Europe and Africa and is seeking to slowly take over, not only the rest of the Earth, but the solar system as well. rocket technology has burgeoned, shrinking the planet and making the solar system accessible.

the chartacters are all involved in various aspects of life in this alternate world. there is some political intrigue and even action but Philip K. concentrated on their inner lives and the intertheir lives do overlap to varying degrees but they are all touched by a book called The Grasshopper… written by a man living on top of a mountain in the Rockies in a fortified compound. the book is an alternate history itself, outlining what would have happened had the Allies won. it is deemed subversive, provocative, and is banned by the Reichstat but not by Nippon.

taoism and deep philosophy suffuse The Man in the High Castle. the I Ching plays a central role in the book, almost becoming another character; it certainly is pivotal for the plot. the characters all refer to it as “The Oracle.”

as the tale unfolds, we readers glimpse another universe that might have been. scary to some extent because of the overt racism continued by the Nazi and Japanese regimes but also somehow exciting because of the expanded use of rocketry for exploration and commercial travel and the lack of cruelty of the Japanese contrasted with that of the Nazis.

only at the end, do we see something else for sure. glimpses are given and hints made before then but they are subtle and folded neatly into the plotlines and character development. it takes one very determined and yet strangely open-minded individual to realize more. ( )
  keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
The ideas felt tired and dated, with none of the identity- and reality-mindfuck that I love from this man. Ultimately, a fun almost-spy-story without tremendous lasting power. Though props to PKD for taking advantage of the perspective shift of the alternate history to focus on racism and oppression. ( )
  ternary | Feb 14, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 134 (next | show all)
Dick is entertaining us about reality and madness, time and death, sin and salvation.... We have our own homegrown Borges.
added by GYKM | editNew Republic, Ursula K. LeGuin
 
Philip K. Dick's best books always describe a future that is both entirely recognizable and utterly unimaginable.
added by GYKM | editThe New York Times Book Review
 
Philip K. Dick... has chosen to handle... material too nutty to accept, too admonitory to forget, too haunting to abandon.
added by GYKM | editWashington Post
 

» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gambino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glasserman, DebbieDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gleeson, TonyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nati, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
North, HeidiCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, Richard M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my wife, Anne, without whose silence
this book would never have been written
To my wife Tessa and my son Christopher,
with great and awful love
First words
For a week Mr. R. Childan had been anxiously watching the mail.
Quotations
They know a million tricks , those novelists...Appeals to the base lusts that hide in everyone no matter how respectable on the surface. Yes, the novelist knows humanity how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed...all he's got to do is thump on the drum, and there's the response. And he laughing of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.128
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Alternate history
given alternate history;
what's true? What isn't?
(ed.pendragon)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679740678, Paperback)

It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. the few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war--and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to awake.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:35 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

After the defeat of the Allies during World War II, the United States is divided up and ruled by the Axis powers.

» see all 9 descriptions

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Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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