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The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
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The Man in the High Castle (original 1962; edition 2012)

by Philip K. Dick

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,814180429 (3.75)2 / 335
Member:joecanas
Title:The Man in the High Castle
Authors:Philip K. Dick
Info:Mariner Books (2012), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

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

  1. 71
    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 (168)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Slovak (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
This was so disappointing. I loved the premise but the execution was dismal.

My book club normally reads a variety of books but this is our second alternative history book in a row. It probably didn’t help that I loved the last book.

This is actually the first writing I’ve read by this famous author. I can’t say that at this point I plan to read other books by him.

As I was reading, for a long time I thought that had I read this a half century ago when I was young and the book was fairly new, I’d have given it 3 stars, but by the end I realized I’m fairly sure it would have been a two star book for me back then too.

I was anxious to get to the end so that I could get on to my next book(s).

I do always get a kick out of books set in San Francisco, even an alternative San Francisco.

Nothing unpredictable happened and in this case that’s a bad thing. I found some things downright offensive, and not only what was meant to be offensive. A few of the characters were interesting enough but not that interesting.

The view of the future and the alternative future in the book within the book didn’t engage me and I didn’t find either believable as written.

Wouldn’t they have changed the names of some of the street names and buildings?! Etc. complaints.

The worst of it was the pacing wasn’t great and the very worst of it was that most of the story text was the characters’ thoughts, being conveyed exactly as they go on in their heads. Not interesting! Clumsy: awkwardly constructed and contrived!!!

1 ½ stars, but I’m upping the rating to 2 mostly for the fascinating idea of it, and because I did care enough to want to know what would happen. I’m not sure I’d have finished it if I hadn’t be reading it for my real world book club, but I think it might make for an interesting book club discussion. ( )
  Lisa2013 | May 25, 2016 |
Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle is one of those classic science fiction novels that I've been meaning to read for ages but for one reason or another never quite got around to. Recently, though, the novel seems to be popping up wherever I turn: Viz Media's speculative fiction imprint Haikasoru takes its name from the title; it was mentioned multiple times in the tenth volume of Mechademia which I read not too long ago; and in 2015 it was adapted as a live-action television series. Originally published in 1962, The Man in the High Castle can be counted as among the first major works of fiction written in English to examine an alternate history in which Germany and Japan emerged victorious from the Second World War, a historical turning point which has since become one of the most popular for the subgenre to explore. Winning the Hugo Award for best novel in 1963, The Man in the High Castle is also regarded as one of Dick's most well-known and highly-acclaimed works. The novel has been re-published around the world numerous times with the most recent US edition scheduled to be released in 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

After being defeated, the United States of America was divided into three political entities at the end of World War II. The Pacific States of America is overseen by Japan and the Eastern United States is occupied by Germany while the central third of the country, the Rocky Mountain States, remains an independent buffer zone. Less than two decades have passed since the end of the war. Nazi Germany, having become a major power, continues to dominate and conquer the rest of the world and has even extended its reach to space. However, internal power struggles threaten to throw the precariously-balanced international political landscape into war and turmoil once again. In the meantime, Americans have had to either learn to adapt to their occupiers' whims or to flee their homeland. The Japanese rule is fairly benign, especially when compared to that of the Germans, but it is still grating and demeaning for the Americans who are slowly losing their national identity along with the freedoms and respect that they once enjoyed in the past.

The alternate history that Dick envisions in The Man in the High Castle is honestly terrifying and horrifying. Under the global influence of a fascist, totalitarian regime, extreme racism and prejudice is rampant and genocide isn't a thing of the past but of the present and future. People live in a world in which insidious fear, hatred, anger, and uncertainty have come to dominate. The Man in the High Castle follows several different and fairly ordinary characters from a variety of backgrounds who are all ultimately connected to one another, either directly or tangentially: an antiques dealer making his living selling Americana to Japanese clients, an American craftsman and jewelry maker who must hide his Jewish identity and heritage, a Japanese trade official stationed in what was once California, an American woman who teaches judo in the Rocky Mountain States, and a Nazi defector trying to prevent impending atrocities from becoming a reality. By the end of the novel, both together and separately, they have all taken a stand against the status quo and have made a difference, however small, in the world around them.

In addition to being a work of alternate history itself, there is a novel within The Man in the High CastleThe Grasshopper Lies Heavy—which explores yet another potential reality. That novel plays a pivotal role as does the Chinese classic the I Ching which many of the characters consult as an oracle or use to make major decisions and which Dick himself used to guide the story and plot of The Man in the High Castle. The writing style of The Man in the High Castle did take some time for me to get used to. Much of the novel consists of the characters' internal monologues and thought processes, resulting in a work that frequently feels like fragmented stream-of-consciousness. Parts of the novel are also written in deliberately stilted English which, while clever and effective (and while I can understand and appreciate Dick's intentions), doesn't necessarily always make for the most pleasant reading experience. However, the underlying ideas and themes behind The Man in the High Castle are tremendous. Ultimately, The Man in the High Castle is a fascinating and chilling read, and a novel that is remarkably relevant and thought-provoking even today.

Experiments in Manga ( )
  PhoenixTerran | May 13, 2016 |
I'm a fan of neither science fiction nor alternative history, but I enjoyed the Amazon prime video so much that I was driven 'back to the text' for what i hoped would be even richer fare. Well, it turns out this isn't really 'the book of the film' in the traditional sense: it seems to have served as a starting point, merely. In fact, to play on one of its themes, this is one fiction that the author might have created; the video an alternative. Each sharing a common ancestor, yet each completely its own animal.

I'd say there are at least three novellas here, set in the same universe, running parallel and even sharing characters from time to time - but hardly woven into what can properly be called a novel. The ideas are big, and fascinating (I'm not sure I got my head fully round all of them, or their implications). So in one sense, I was not disappointed.

But this is a meditation on the possibilities of alternative universes, and even of passing between them (through the power of art?). The video seems to me more of a simple - though absolutely brilliant - thriller, set, by the way, in a world different from our own.

This book touches on so much more, but only touches. ( )
  jtck121166 | May 1, 2016 |
This has been on my shelves for a long time and when I saw it listed as a possible read for this month's SFF/SF Kit, I thought now's the time to check this one off the list. I knew generally what it was about - an alternate history where Germany and Japan win WWII and divvy most of the world up between them.

Most of the book takes place in San Francisco in the Pacific States of America (PSA), which is run by the Japanese, with a little bit in Colorado and Wyoming, which is part of the Rocky Mountain States, a buffer between the PSA and the Nazi-occupied USA (the eastern half of the old US). It centers around 4 main characters and the crises they go through. Most of the characters have read, are reading or at least have heard about a book, banned in the German occupied areas, that posits that the US and the UK win WWII. The 'man in the high castle' is the man who wrote that alternate history - kinda neat, an alternate history within an alternate history.

I wanted to like this classic, award-winning novel more than I did, but I just didn't connect well with the characters - they were all pretty flat to me.

Glad I read it though. ( )
  LisaMorr | Apr 22, 2016 |
I should have known from the dedication: "To my wife Anne, without whose silence this book would never have been written."

I didn't like it and, without having even seen it, I can guarantee the Amazon show has little in common with the book. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (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 editionsconfirmed
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
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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People/Characters
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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. (p. 128)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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References to this work on external resources.

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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 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 9 descriptions

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