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The Man in the High Castle (1962)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: Tom Weiner (Narrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,261322430 (3.68)2 / 480
Now an Amazon Original seriesWinner of the Hugo Award"The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick's career"--New York TimesIt'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 twenty years earlier the United States lost a war--and is now occupied 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 wake.… (more)
  1. 91
    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. 20
    Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alt history
  5. 10
    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Anonymous user)
  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. 10
    Farthing by Jo Walton (rretzler)
  8. 54
    The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (ecleirs24)
    ecleirs24: Alternate history
  9. 00
    Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin (Anonymous user)
  10. 00
    The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Sylak)
    Sylak: Alternate history following WWI
  11. 00
    Resurrection Day by Brendan DuBois (RG_331)
    RG_331: What would happen if the Cold War escalated
  12. 00
    SS-GB by Len Deighton (Michael.Rimmer)
    Michael.Rimmer: Alternate History: Axis powers won WWII
  13. 01
    The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad (andyl)
    andyl: Alternate history novel that also uses the book within a book device.
  14. 12
    China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh (ahstrick)
  15. 01
    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Disturbing Alternate Histories of America.
1960s (114)
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» See also 480 mentions

English (304)  French (4)  Italian (4)  Spanish (3)  Slovak (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (320)
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
Fantastic set up, chilling description of the Nazi Reich cobbled from the memories and thoughts of those on the outside. let down by a slightly anticlimactic ending, but otherwise superb alternative reality fiction ( )
  KatherineJaneWright | Jul 17, 2022 |
I wanted to like this more than I did. I did really like the idea - what would the world be like if Germany and Japan had won WWII? That aspect of the book was interesting to think about and to explore that alternate world. But I didn't care about any of the characters and nothing much happened, so there was not a lot of plot. It was sort of "a day in the life" exploration instead. ( )
  Pferdina | Jul 2, 2022 |
Dick's second best novel after Ubik. But most non-scifi readers are going to like this more than Ubik. Alternate history that points to actual history. The Germans and the Japanese have won WWII, it is the 1960s, and they are not too fond of each other. That's as much as I'm going to give you. The usual Dick theme of shifting realities. Very well drawn characters and a plot supposedly determined by the I Ching that leads to several interesting climaxes. Dick tends to be a bit dated now, pointing to the 60s and 70s for themes, culture, and language, but Castle isn't hampered by this like some of his other novels.

This is a genre bender that I would only hesitantly call science fiction. Everyone I have ever recommended it to that hates scifi still loves this book. Despite the usual Dick weirdness at times he tones it down and maintains coherence enough to appeal to the non-genre/non-Dick fiction reader. Just enough for Dick fans, but not too much for the rest.

If you are mainly a hard scifi fan, Dick is going to be a tough pill to swallow. He utilizes the usual scifi tropes at times but doesn't really care how consistent they are and doesn't dwell on them except as necessary to get whatever his point or theme is across. He is primarily literary and only secondarily scifi.

This is really a beautiful little novel and definitely in my top 25 books of all time. One of the VERY few books I would even consider reading a second time. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
While I found the book interesting, I have to say I think the series on Amazon Prime is a more compelling story. If I hadn't already seen the film version I think I would have gotten lost in the book. ( )
  klaidlaw | Jun 13, 2022 |
Philip K Dick, and this book in particular as a winner of the Hugo Award for best Science Fiction novel in 1963, has such a reputation that I was looking forward to this book.

I perhaps have heard more about Dick than having read his novels, though I have read more of his short fiction. His (novel) 'Do androids dream of electric sheep' was the inspiration for Blade Runner (one of my favourite movies) and the movies Total Recall and Minority Report (if not others) are based on short stories by Dick.

So I was, as already said, looking forward to this but came away less than enthused. The basic outline of the book is relatively well known. Set in the early 1960s, in an alternative history, Germany and Japan have won the Second World War, in circumstances where the USA did not join WWII, with much of the world divided up between the 2 victors, though with Africa itself wiped out. The Mediterranean Sea has has been drained and converted into farming land by Germany.

Hitler survives, though in a vastly health compromised state, with Boorman in an acting position. Churchill remains in the leader's role in England. The USA itself is split into three areas: much of the West Coast is under the control of the Japanese (as is much of Oceania and South Asia); the East Coast is under the control of the Germans; with much of the balance of Continental USA is a no mans land (certainly not under the control of the USA). The Chinese are reduced to a second class. One quickly senses that Germany and Japan do not necessarily eye to eye.

Much of the novel traces Japanese, German and USA characters interacting in San Francisco. Those interactions bring out the characters precarious positions, against the world in which they live.

A number of the characters learn of, or are reading a subversive novel 'The Grasshopper Lies Heavy' which depicts yet another alternative world history in which German and Japan do not win WWII, but rather a third version yet again. Most dialogue is as to why this novel-in-a-novel has been written and what it 'means'.

There is use of the I Ching as people seek guidance and answers as to decisions that they need or wish to make. There is a development towards the end of the novel, which has different implications depending on whether one believes the I Ching delivers truth or not. Indeed the fact of that ambiguity of that situation (rather than which of the alternatives is 'correct') may well be the 'message' of the novel (if indeed there is intended to be a 'message').

But it left me a little cold, hence my ranking of 3 * (my ranking of 'readable'). But with, as of today, some 61% of those who provided a ranking on Library Thing (some 2998 rankings in total) giving a ranking of 4 or more (out of 5) and a staggering 95% giving a ranking of 3 or more, I must be missing something.

But I will read more novels by Philip K Dick and see what I can find.

An extremely minor matter but one character changes his name from Fink to Frink, but the first time he explains that (p 6), a typo has him saying both his former and changed name was 'Frink', though it is correctly described later in the novel (p 102). Given the mind-bending of Dick/the genre I did wonder for a short while whether the initial 'incorrect' description was deliberate and of some significance. But alas, nothing came to mind, and can only assume it was a typos after all. Certainly no influence on my overall rating!



Big Ship
27 May 2022 ( )
  bigship | May 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 304 (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 (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick, Philip K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary 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
Stöbe, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weiner, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
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Original title
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Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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)
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Now an Amazon Original seriesWinner of the Hugo Award"The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick's career"--New York TimesIt'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 twenty years earlier the United States lost a war--and is now occupied 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 wake.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Alternate history
given alternate history;
what's true? What isn't?
(ed.pendragon)
Complex novel in
scope and ideas but flawed in
its execution.
(passion4reading)

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