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The Man in the High Castle (Sf Masterworks)…

The Man in the High Castle (Sf Masterworks) (original 1962; edition 2001)

by Philip K. Dick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,662227351 (3.73)2 / 388
Title:The Man in the High Castle (Sf Masterworks)
Authors:Philip K. Dick
Info:Gollancz (2001), Hardcover, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction

Work details

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

  1. 81
    Fatherland by Robert Harris (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alternate history
  2. 61
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Both are alternate histories set in a USA changed by World War Two.
  3. 62
    The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (ateolf)
  4. 63
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alternate history
  5. 20
    Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alt history
  6. 10
    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.
  7. 00
    SS-GB by Len Deighton (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Alternate History: Axis powers won WWII
  8. 00
    The Lost Continent 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 (213)  French (4)  Italian (4)  Spanish (3)  Slovak (1)  Hungarian (1)  Finnish (1)  All (227)
Showing 1-5 of 213 (next | show all)
So i read a lot of sci fi and this one left me scratching my head; way too undeveloped and lacked serious substance; at the end I really felt like Dick was just trying to spout his own beliefs in using the I Ching with the "what-if" Germany/Japan had won WW2; other then that the story was too fragmented and the characters lacked serious development. I'm giving a 3 based on Dicks's reputation alone. ( )
  longhorndaniel | Jul 19, 2017 |
I started this book because I watched the first season of the Amazon series and loved it, but then lost interest during the second season because the plot appeared to be taking a different direction that didn't quite make sense from the original trajectory. It made me curious about how the original story was written.

One of the primary differences between the book and the movie are that the novel is an alternate reality in which the Axis powers won WWII and everyone is reading a book (not smuggling movie reels) that is an alternate reality in which the Allies won. This was the most fascinating aspect of the story, as there are a number of conjectures on the plausibility of whether or not that state of the world (which is our own reality) was even possible and how civilization would be different in that scenario. This is an inception-like view of our current state, as well as insight into the human psyche and how we use our biases to process events in history and our place within them. The book is worth reading for this reason alone. ( )
  Neftzger | Jun 8, 2017 |
It may have been cutting edge fiction in the sixties, but it hasn't stood the test of time. The plotting is minimal, and the characters never really come alive. ( )
  AuthorGabrielle | May 28, 2017 |
An oddly written book, that I suppose falls in line with my Year of Books I Should Have Read Already, though I didn't know I should have. I watched the first season of the Amazon adaptation (more on that later), which prompted this reading. Interesting, innovative and imaginative concept...though the backdrop is incongruous. The divisions of the United States, and the political constructs, don't work (the series does it better, but ... later) with independent regions influenced, though not really occupied, by the two major Axis victors. The overall arc is presented in quite a clumsy and uneven way - such that the Hugo award is surprising. I get that much like a director of photography might shoot from an odd angle to convey to the watcher that things are off kilter, an author might invent a strange language or present "normal" concepts in an abnormal way to convey the same feeling, but Dick tries and doesn't really do that all that well. The premise is abnormal enough...Allies losing WWII... Dick tries to take it further with something in broken English like "Always faint possibility certain nervous element even in SD."

Or a thought...

There at the cash register, Mr. Childan. Polishing with cloth some artifact.

Okay...dropping articles is understandable. But he clumsily fails in having the same character think an absurd line like We cannot enter the monstrous schizophrenic morass of Nazi internecine intrigue; our minds cannot adapt.
Further, occidental characters in the Japanese controlled region think in broken English? The characters are one-dimensional and have no plausible connections/interactions with one another. I'm still scratching my virtual head and how one of the disconnected subplots is peppered with staccato discontinuities (and the other major line not exactly "peppered", but certainly "littered".)

Maybe had I read this 35 years ago, I would have liked it more. Not so much, now. I kept hoping it would get better, but he kept lapsing into inanity.

As to the adaptation...I am baffled as to how producers/writers do what they do. The setting is very roughly similar, and some of the characters have the same names, but that's about it. The television characters are essentially unrecognizable; the entire backstory equally so; and the interactions, such as they are...well, I suppose they had to be completely re-imagined as they are fundamentally unworkable as is. So, some forgiveness there. Much like Mr. Jackson's embarrassing adaptations of the Tolkien works, that series should more rightly say that it is inspired by rather than based on Dick's work. Still, ponderously slow as the series is, I think the interpretation so far better than the source. Curiously, I read that a reviewer from io9 referred to the series as an "impressive, streamlined undertaking of a fairly complicated, [...] novel."

"[F]airly complicated"? I don't think we read the same book. Or she didn't use the right adjective. "Confused novel" would be more descriptive. And of course, it had to have yet another one of those annoying "are you serious?" endings.

( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
I read the book to try to make sense of the TV series with its bewildering parallel histories. Still none the wiser - except there is no John Smith the American Opergruppenfuhrer. This is the only PKD I have read.
  h3arold | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 213 (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 (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brown, EricIntroductionsecondary authorsome 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
Stöbe, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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. (p. 128)
At six-fifteen in the evening she finished the book. I wonder if Joe got to the end of it? she wondered. There's so much more in it than he understood. What is it Abendsen wanted to say? Nothing about his make-believe world. Am I the only one who knows? I'll bet I am; nobody else really understands 'Grasshopper' but me - they just imagine they do.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Alternate history
given alternate history;
what's true? What isn't?

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:53 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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