Read The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick Online

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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 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 anIt'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....

Title : The Man In The High Castle
Author :
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ISBN : 9780140171723
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Man In The High Castle Reviews

  • Ken-ichi
    2018-12-05 08:46

    On Wednesday I found myself at a party (an occurrence itself worthy of remark) at which everyone wore "I'm currently reading..." stickers, so I had several opportunities to explain why I was loving The Man in the High Castle. One such conversation went like this:"So what's that about?""Well, it's scifi. Or rather speculative fiction.""Er, hm. No. I don't do scifi.""But it's got Nazis!""Oh my god I love Nazis!"Another conversation involved me explaining to a white guy how interesting I (a half-Japanese guy) found reading about defeated white Americans kowtowing to their Japanese overlords. The awkwardness of the words coming out of my mouth did not even occur to me for several sentences.I'm pretty sure at some point during the evening I also said, with party-speaking volume, "I think I really like Dick!" Sometimes I wish English had fewer homophones.Suffice it to say that I am swearing off parties and returning to my safe, almost-completely-awkwardness-free hermetic lifestyle.Ok, this book. Let me just establish that neither the Nazi-lover nor I are, in fact, Nazi-lovers or racists (or no more racist than the average person), and that despite (or perhaps because of?) the uncomfortable conversations this book might occasion, it's a great read! My former experience with Phillip K. Dick (whose first name and middle initial are considerably more important in conversation than heretofore imagined) was with a collection of his short stories, which was amusing but very much in the Atomic Age sort of a vein: THE BOMB, robots, space ships, THE BOMB, etc. After finding J.G. Ballard's similar ruminations on mortality and atomic annihilation to be unfinishably boring, I was wary of returning to PKD (ah, much better), and the premise of a world in which the Axis powers won WWII could definitely have lead down that road. Plucky American rebels fighting their Nazi oppressors and thwarting a plot to nuke New York while chronically hamstrung by their moribund contemplation of non-existence? No thanks. But this book is so not that book! As with other works by PKD (or at least the cinematic interpretations I've seen), the underlying horror is not about annihilation, but about anxiety over identity. In High Castle, the American identity has been completely crushed. There is no rebel faction, there are no competent or truly sympathetic American characters, and American cultural artifacts that *we* keep in museums are now collector's items to be pawned off to Japanese connoisseurs (not unlike the 19th century European obsession with Japonisme). The idea of infinite American ingenuity and resourcefulness has been discarded along with our belief in democracy. The Japanese are consistently depicted as high-handed, elitist, occasionally racist, but generally fair and benign in intent... much like American occupational forces in reconstruction Japan. So if we as Americans aren't rebels, if we're not democrats, if we're not plucky heroes with wild ideas so crazy they might actually work, who are we? What a great subject for a scifi novel.There's also quite a bit about the life and meaning of objects, or the "historicity" as the characters call it. Why is a penny touched by the President more significant than any other penny? I'm not entirely sure how this theme plays into the rest of the novel. It may have something to do with the arbitrariness invoked by the use of the I Ching by almost every character, i.e. the specific history of any given object is as intrinsically meaningful as a pattern of tossed sticks, and it is the evaluator's interpretation that has true significance. Again, though, how does it relate to Nazis?!Also, hawt book-in-book action! All the characters in this what-if book are reading their own what-if book postulating a world in which the Axis powers didn't win WWII. I mean, yo dawg, I herd you like speculative fiction, so we put a book in yo book so u can speculate while u speculate. It's kind of cool.The book's not perfect. Women get the short shrift. Betty Kasoura seems both intelligent and sympathetic to the plight of the Americans, but doesn't take action to the extent that her husband does. (view spoiler)[I'm not sure if Juliana's murder of the covert gestapo officer was due to self-defense so much as hysteria. (hide spoiler)] Up until that point she was basically Don Draper's 1st season mental model of a woman, plus judo. Sign of the times (this was published in 1962) or a part of the narrative? Races and ethnicities are mercilessly stereotyped, but seemingly without bias: Japanese are polite and inscrutable, Americans are emotional and clumsy, Chinese are crude and servile, Germans orderly and maniacal. I suppose you could interpret that as the triumph of the Axis worldview over Western egalitarian principles, or you could read it as the biases inherent in our own 1960s America.Anyway, totally worth trying, even if you don't like scifi OR Nazis.

  • Manny
    2018-12-19 14:24

    [Original review, Feb 22 2016]DISCLAIMER: It would evidently be irresponsible to call Donald Trump a Nazi merely on the strength of a recent speech in which he suggested it would be desirable to shoot Muslims using bullets dipped in pig's blood. A more plausible interpretation is that this is no more than the result of dispassionately calculating that the upside in terms of increasing his attractiveness to the ignorant racist demographic is larger than the downside in terms of decreasing his appeal to many people who already can't stand him. But I admit that I'm no expert on these matters, and I could be wrong._______________________[Update, Mar 13 2016]look at me im davy crockett says, in comment #80,there is no reason to attempt to reason with "Manny" he is a neurotic bigoted freak who is clearly so deeply insane or at least disturbed in how obsessive he is and should on matters of his repeated spam, violating ToS should be banned without having to consider him personally or his speechLooking at the original review, I am a little uncertain about just what it is that Mr. Crockett is so violently taking exception to. I posted a link to a video clip in which Donald Trump suggested that it would be a good idea to shoot Muslims using bullets dipped in pig's blood. I went on say that I DIDN'T think this made him a Nazi, just a politician who is trying to please the ignorant racist demographic. I concluded that, since I was no expert on the subject, I might be mistaken.Well, I'm baffled. Mr. Crockett clearly doesn't like something I've said. Does he thinka) that the video clip in question has been faked by the liberal media to discredit Mr. Trump,b) that the idea of shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig's blood will not please the ignorant racist demographic, orc) that I am in fact an expert on the subject, and should not disingenuously claim the contrary?Mr. Crockett, please clarify. I'm sure other people would like to know too._______________________[Update, Aug 16 2017]I wanted to wait until I had more information, a policy recently advocated by Mr. Trump himself. And I'd hate to offend Mr. Crockett further. But all the same, the evidence we've acquired over the last few days does seem to increase the probability that Mr. Trump is a Nazi. He sounds sincere when defending the white supremacist terrorist attack in Charlottesville, and one can't help feeling his behaviour means something. That said, I freely admit I haven't got a statistically tight argument yet. It's just anecdotal.

  • Emily May
    2018-12-11 14:20

    3.5Scientifically and politically, this is absolute genius. The way Philip K. Dick masterfully rewrites history and expertly portrays this alternate United States is quite incredible and I can easily see why the guy has such a huge following. That being said, this novel is what I would call "hard sci-fi", and though it is undeniably clever, I think what it lacks is a human touch. I found it hard to care about any of the mish-mash of characters, which for me means that I ultimately found it hard to care about the direction of the story and its outcome.What this novel does best of all is remind people how close the Nazis came to winning the second world war. The author changes events during the war only slightly but it makes a huge difference in the long run. Generally, people who aren't historians probably don't tend to think about the reality of this situation which - for most people alive today - seems of a completely different world and time. The second world war seems somewhat unreal, a story told in textbooks and retold in movies about how the bad guys started killing people and naturally the good guys swooped in and put an end to it all. As if it was all that simple. In reality, Hitler came scarily close to victory and it's only through reading this book that I came to realise just how extensive German occupation was during the war.The Man in the High Castle presents a very convincing alternate history where Hitler and the Nazis, fascist Italy and Imperial Japan had been the victors instead. The world-building is exactly the opposite of almost every young adult dystopian release today and Philip K. Dick doesn't neglect the little details of his fictional society. I especially like the way we get a glimpse of how this takeover has affected the rest of the world, not just the United States, we learn about the situation across multiple continents and how the Nazi beliefs have developed. He even goes so far as to tell a story within a story as he imagines an author in this world speculating on what life would have been like if the Nazis hadn't won, the writer guesses some things correctly and others less so but they are interesting anyway... genius. Though not my main concern, this novel was written and set in 1962 and I did wonder why Philip K. Dick thought that in a 1962 run by Nazis we would have the technology for humans to land on Mars. Perhaps this book is wrongly called "speculative" when it is intended as science fiction through and through - I do not know.My rather average rating reflects the fact that this is a slow and highly technical novel. Also, it's not a personal story and none of the large amount of characters particularly interested me. This is an example of a novel with perfect world-building, clever politics, but little to care about emotionally. My brain was saying "yay" but my heart just wasn't in it, I was left feeling slightly cold.

  • Alejandro
    2018-11-29 09:18

    Thank God, this is fiction, at least in our dimension!WELCOME TO 1962 It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive.This book is a frightening glimpse of how our world could been if the Axis Powers would have won the World War II.The Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japan won and they divided the planet between them. Even the United States is now divided with the East Coast dominated by Nazis and the West Coast under Japanese control having a “neutral zone” in the middle of the country.And the most frightening of all is that now there is a “Cold War” between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Where the Nazis have now Nuclear Technology and Hidrogen Bombs at their disposal.Now rockets is the normal way to travel between countries in a matter of less than an hour. And Earth has become “too small” for the Nazis, where now they are using Space Rocket Technology to colonize the Moon, Mars and Venus.Slavery is back. Racial persecution is enforced. Extermination Camps are still active and spreading around the Nazi Occupied Territories and now not only Jews are targets but also Africans, Afro-Americans, Indians… for starters.And all because the death of one man. An important man. No one can do what you were meant to do. If certain person is no longer around, a void is created……and darkness can take control.This is the testimony that a person can change the world. For good or for evil.THE LESSER OF TWO EVILSOne cannot judge by book being best seller. We all know that. Many best sellers are terrible trash.It’s interesting how this “experiment” of a world where the Axis Powers won the WWII, it’s clear that while living in Nazi Occupied Nations is a very horrific scenario, the book establishes that being a citizen in the Imperial Japan Occupied Countries isn’t so bad. Don’t get wrong, if you are not Japanese, you will be a second-class citizen, but you will be treated fair enough, if you don’t make troubles that is, and curiously if your skin color is white enough. Maybe you think that it’s the same, but when you read how are things in each side of the Axis Powers, having only those two options, it’s clear that you will try to live in the Japanese side. Of course, you will need to consult the I Ching since now this book is the usual way to take important decisions in the everyday life of people in the Imperial Japanese controlled lands.ECCLESIASTES 12:5Amazing, the power of fiction, even cheap popular fiction, to evoke.The only “hope” in this glum world, the only “fresh air” to “breath” is in the form of a novel, “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy”, a piece of fiction with the “absurd” idea of that the Axis Power could lose the WWII.A very cool thing about the “winning” scenario proposed in that novel, “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy”, is that while it’s obvious that Philip K. Dick, the author, had access to all the details of how the WWII happened, and he could take the easy path and just telling what really happened (at least in our dimension) but instead, he did consentious thought to show a valid way that Allied Forces could still win the WWII but not just like it happened.BRAVE BUT…Truth,… -- …As terrible as death. But harder to find.The book, The Man in the High Castle, is a brilliant work studying how our world could be a lot different if the “other side” of the conflict in WWII would win it.However, except some brief moments, the most of the narrative lacks of excitement scenes, the relevancy of the main characters is too limited to their close surroundings, and where they haven’t any control over the global events decided by the global leaders that are re-shaping even more the current political scenario.Also, the book lacks of a proper ending and/or an adequate finale. Maybe it isn’t necessary, but it’s odd (at least to me) to show such worldwide scenario without any appreciable intention to try to shaken the status quo.Still, it’s a evocative reading and a mindblowing concept.

  • Glenn Russell
    2018-11-20 12:18

    Fans of Philip K. Dick and science fiction might be underwhelmed by The Man in the High Castle since, other than passing mention of cross- continent rocket-ship travel and a German exploration of Mars, there really isn’t any science or signature PKD craziness or large-scale action; rather, Dick’s 1962 book is alternative history, the aftermath in the United States after Germany and Japan win World War II and a novel of ideas. There are a number of crisscrossing plots, colorful main characters, applications of the ancient Chinese I Ching; however, by my reading, the heartbeat of the novel is the author’s historical, political, social commentary, reflections on cross-cultural miscommunication and observations on racial and ethnic prejudice – all laced with a healthy dose of black humor.Ah, black humor, as in this snatch of dialogue when judo instructor Juliana Frink talks with a fellow American, Joe the truck drive in a Colorado small-town: ““Did you hear the Bob Hope show the other night?” she called. “He told this really funny joke, the one where this German major is interviewing some Martians. The Martians can’t provide racial documentation about their grandparents being Aryan, you know. So the German major reports back to Berlin that Mars is populated by Jews.”” Meanwhile, the German Reichs Consul in San Francisco, Freiherr Hugo Reiss, doesn’t fine Bob Hope one bit funny; in point of fact, he thinks the Aryan super-race might indeed find Jews on Mars since those loathsome Jewish vermin are everywhere else.PKD 1960s-style self-referential postmodern metafiction, anyone? Novel within a novel: The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by Hawthorne Abendsen is about what the present day world would look like if Germany and Japan lost the war. Abendsen’s novel is all the rage, an honest-to-goodness American literary fad (the book is banned back in Germany and in lands such as the Eastern United States controlled by Germany). Curiously, rumors have it the author of the outrageous Grasshopper bestseller is a paranoid living in isolation on a Wyoming mountain in a fortress-like house surrounded by barbed wire and heavy artillery, calling himself The Man in the High Castle. Perhaps the author’s armed, isolated fortress isn’t such a bad idea since Freiherr Hugo Reiss has a predictable Nazi reaction when reading the book: “Maybe this Abendsen is a Jew. They’re still at it trying to poison us. . . . Actual name probably Abendstein. . . . If Abendstein should be found dangling from the ceiling some fine morning, it would be a sobering notice to anyone who might be influenced by this book. We would have had the last word. Written the postscript.”And such a paranoid racist mindset is hardly confined to the German Nazis. Here are the thoughts of Robert Childan, a good old American boy from San Francisco, after his less than satisfying business dealings with someone who is Jewish: “We live in a society of law and order, where Jews can’t pull their subtleties on the innocent. We’re protected. I don’t know why I didn’t recognize the racial characteristics when I saw him. Evidently I’m easily deceived. . . . Without law, I’d be at their mercy. He could have convinced me of anything. It’s a form of hypnosis. They can control an entire society.”With its scathing satire on culture and society and novel within a novel, in many ways The Man in the High Castle reminded me more of JR by William Gaddis than PKD’s other science fiction. Similar to Gaddis, all the men and women are more than happy to spout their opinions and observations about the arts and books and literature; and more than happy to make strident pronouncements about culture, history and race, not only on the Jews but, among others, Blacks, Italians, Japanese, Germans, Swedes, White Americans, Puerto Ricans, Irish. Turns out, the author of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy claims his nightmarish novel is about the state of the world as it currently exists. Perhaps PKD is telling us indirectly he is making a similar claim in his The Man in the High Castle.

  • D. B.
    2018-11-30 07:24

    High-concept, low return what-if alternate history. The idea is interesting, if a little tired: what if the Axis won World War II and divvied up the world between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan? The answer is, not much, apparently. This new world order only really serves as a backdrop for Dick's slightly skewed storytelling, which jumps between the more interesting plot of a shadow conspiracy to nuke Japan, and a painfully tiresome tale of modern-day antiquing. Somewhere else in there is a pointless thread about a cult book that outlines a parallel history where the Allies win the war, and then the whole thing just kind of stops, as if nothing ever happened.Maybe it was all a dream. Maybe I didn't really read it after all.

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2018-12-04 09:24

    “They want to be the agents, not the victims, of history. They identify with God's power and believe they are godlike. That is their basic madness. They are overcome by some archtype; their egos have expanded psychotically so that they cannot tell where they begin and the godhead leaves off. It is not hubris, not pride; it is inflation of the ego to its ultimate — confusion between him who worships and that which is worshiped. Man has not eaten God; God has eaten man.” If Franklin Delano Roosevelt had been assassinated in 1934 instead of dying of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945, what would the world look like? Do our lives, our futures, hang on the shoulders of one man? The New Deal that gave Roosevelt so much power, so much influence with the American public, would not have been possible if presented by a different man, a less sure man, a man more willing to make deals to pass the legislation even if it guts the intent of the program. The American people have probably never trusted a politician as much as they trusted FDR. So if we remove him from history during those critical years in the 1940s when the world went mad, what would happen? Philip K. Dick is going to tell you. We lose. The Pacific States form a new country called The Pacific States of America and are controlled by Imperial Japan. A Rocky Mountain States is formed as a buffer between The Reich Controlled East Coast of America and the PSA. Europe is under the management of the Reich. The Soviets were completely destroyed by the Reich, and most were exterminated. A cold war has sprung up between the two remaining superpowers: the Japanese and the Reich. Adolf Hitler has descended into madness…batshit crazy madness... not the garden variety I want to rule the world madness. ”Old Adolf, supposed to be in a sanitarium somewhere, living out his life of senile paresis. Syphilis of the brain, dating back to his poor days as a bum in Vienna...long black coat, dirty underwear, flophouses.”There is this interesting film called Max starring John Cusack from 2002 that was directed by Menno Meyjes. It discusses the possibility of what would have happened if Hitler had been accepted as an artist. Would he have channeled his anger into something more edifying than world destruction? I know that others, besides myself, must have watched that film, but they seem to be few and far between. Noah Taylor plays the young, frustrated Hitler.Martin Bormann has been in charge of the Reich, but with his death a power struggle has broken out between Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, and Hermann Göring for the ultimate leadership. The thought of those men surviving the war gives me a chill. Hitler may have brought the vision, but these were the men who implemented it. Robert Childan owns an Americana antique business on Montgomery Street in San Francisco. The Japanese are avid collectors of old American gadgets, comic books, and toys. He used to run a bookstore, but found that dealing in Americana was much more profitable. He isn’t an expert, which as the story unfolds, creates some issues for him. People don’t mind paying exorbitant prices as long as what they buy is legitimate. He meets a young progressive Japanese couple who want to discuss a future based on the book by Hawthorne Abendsen called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy which presents an alternative reality where the Axis lost and the Allies won. It is still different from our present day, but certainly more recognizable than the dystopia of The Man in the High Castle. Philip K. Dick is having a bit of fun writing an alternative reality which includes a novel about alternative reality. The young couple are very disappointed to learn that Childan has not read the book. They assumed that any “American” would want to read this book. They were also disappointed that Childan, when pressed for his own philosophical take on this life, mouths the platitudes of the controlling governments because he thinks that is what his potential clients want to hear. I expected more from one of my own kind, a retired bookseller, but in his defense he doesn’t want unwarranted attention. He doesn’t want change as much as he wants to be safe. “What they do not comprehend is man’s helplessness. I am weak, small, of no consequence to the universe. It does not notice me; I live on unseen. But why is that bad? Isn’t it better that way? Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small . . . and you will escape the jealousy of the great.” Mokkei Tiger from the 13th CenturyChildan does get a glimmer of a lost past that might be reclaimed by the future when he holds the Frank Frink jewelry collection in his hands. Frink has recently left his work of employment, where he made replica guns from America’s past (for those Japanese collectors), to start his own business designing and creating original jewelry. To Childan the jewelry is much more than just pretty bobbles to adorn women’s throats, fingers, and wrists. It represents the American ingenuity that used to determine the fashions, trends, and innovations that led the world. Meanwhile, Frink’s ex-wife, who lives in the RMS, has taken up with a truck driver who is not who he says he is. He has an agenda involving The Man in the High Castle. The man, Abendsen, who has taken the world by storm with his book depicting a different outcome from the war.The I Ching plays a pivotal role as characters use I Ching to make decisions. Dick also used the I Ching to determine the twists of the plot as he was writing it. Having difficulty making decisions? Do you find that most of the time you make poor decisions? Turn your life over to the I Ching. Your future will no longer be your fault.This book convinced me of the viability of this alternative reality. I certainly would have read more about this world that Dick created. The ending is open because Dick had always planned to write a sequel, but he couldn’t progress on the second book because he couldn’t stand the thought of going back and reading about Nazis. I’m in the same boat recently with all the history channels that I normally watch suddenly becoming obsessed with everything Third Reich. This is disturbing to me because programming is based off viewership, and obviously they have determined that people are tuning in to watch Nazi documentaries more than other much more fascinating time periods of world history. *Sigh* I don’t know what that means!Amazon has recently filmed the pilot episode of a new series based on The Man in the High Castle. The episode is available on streaming. I read this book another lifetime ago, but wanted to refresh my memory before watching the pilot episode. I’m glad I did as much of my memories of the book had eroded into snippets of disjointed pieces. There is much more in the book than what I’ve discussed, but I hope what I have decided to highlight will encourage more people to read this novel of science fiction that also can rest comfortably on the same shelf as literature. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp://www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  • Michael Finocchiaro
    2018-12-07 07:24

    Philip K Dick was certainly a brilliant man and a gifted writer. His imagined dystopia of a world split between the victorious Reich and Imperial Japan is chilling and realistic. Ok, perhaps colonisation of Mars in 1962 is a bit of a stretch, but the depiction of San Francisco under the Japanese administration was excellent. His characters were vivid and lifelike. His villain was somewhat predicable, but still a fascinating one. The dystopia he describes - particularly the horrors of unbridled fascism in Africa, etc - is terrifying. I enjoyed the internal monologues and the dialogs very much. Perhaps, Haruki Murakami was somewhat inspired by Philip K Dick to leave the story with lots of questions unanswered. That being said, there is a humanity to the characters and I became attached to several of them. One thing I found a bit incoherent albeit a key to the plot, was the obsession with I Ching. I know lots of Japanese people and have been to Japan a dozen times, and it seems to me highly improbable that the Japanese would turn so obsessively to Taoism and superstition because Shintoism and Buddhism are so ingrained in their culture which - to my understanding- is nearly the polar opposite of Tao. That being said, it allowed PDK to make his typical forays into the psyche of his characters. I wondered also if the Man in the High Castle was not a self-portrait. Also, the idea of a book of alternate reality (The Grasshopper Lies Heavy) inside this book of alternate reality was a nice touch. PDK was great with these Russian doll moves in his books (reminds me a bit of the recent SNL sketches :-)I listened to this as an audiobook on Audible and found it pretty good although "Joe"'s accent at times sounded more Russian than Italian. I have not watched the TV show derived from this classic scifi novel but can say that it stands very solidly on its own and is up there with the other novels of PDK that I have read. Highly recommended. Will stick around in your brain for a while after reading it.

  • Megan Baxter
    2018-11-26 10:37

    I think this book broke my brain.I mean, it's so many things tied up in a slim little volume - an alt-history "what if Germany and Japan had won the Second World War," a meditation on the inability to ever accurately try to reconstruct what-might-have-beens, one of the most interesting literary experiments I've ever read, a look at chance and fate in how the world unfolds, and a book that can definitely bend your sense of reality.Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision Smorgasbook

  • Joe Valdez
    2018-12-06 12:23

    My preparedness for the regime change taking place in the United States--with elements of the Electoral College, the Kremlin and the FBI helping to install a failed business promoter who the majority of American voters did not support in the election--continues with The Man In the High Castle, the Hugo Award winning novel by Philip K. Dick published in 1962. Dick's sheer output and high concept hooks that can be reduced to three words--"Axis Won WWII"--have proved irresistible to film and television over the years, but reading this novel was like reading the dayplanner of a middle manager: thought provoking at times but terribly dull.The story is set in the Pacific States of America fifteen years following Capitulation Day in 1947. Robert Childan is the owner/operator of American Artistic Handcrafts, trafficking in traditional ethnic art objects, Colt pistols from the Civil War being a popular item. One of his clients, Mr. Nobusuke Tagomi, is a fussy, high ranking official with the Trade Mission. Mr. Tagomi is in search of a gift to impress a Swedish industrialist due to arrive in San Francisco by rocketship. Officially, Tagomi is to broker a meeting between the Swede and a retired Japanese admiral to discuss plastic injection molds, but Tagomi's instinct tells him that his client is a German and a spy.Frank Frink, nee Frank Fink, was a G.I. who ended up on the Japanese side of the settlement line, fortunately; his ancestry as a Jew would mark him for extermination in Reich controlled territory. A metalworker, Frank has been fired for mouthing off to his boss, Mr. Wyndham-Matson. Frank consults the I, Ching, the Chinese divination text which the Japanese have made popular throughout the PSA, for advice. He pines for his ex-wife Juliana, a gypsy beauty who moved to Canon City, Colorado and is now a judo instructor. Juliana is at a hamburger stand and picks up a young Italian truck driver to keep her company in bed. He tells her his name is Joe Cinnadella.In the alternate timeline that serves as a spine, Franklin D. Roosevelt was assassinated in Miami in 1933 and the New Deal never got off the drawing board. After victory in Europe and the Pacific, Nazi Germany and Japan attacked the United States, ultimately dividing the U.S. in half, with the Rocky Mountains region a buffer zone between the superpowers. German technological superiority has drained the Mediterranean and converted it to farmland, while their moral depravity used atomic energy to unleash a holocaust on Africa. Most of the best comedians were Jews and have been killed, but Bob Hope lives to mock the Reich from Canada.A shop foreman who worked with Frank Frink convinces him to manufacture contemporary American jewelry. Frank consults the I, Ching and agrees to the venture, but can't help but make trouble for his boss, whose most profitable line is the replication of "authentic" Colt pistols which the Japanese can't get enough of. Frank visits American Artistic Handcrafts and accuses Childan of selling fakes. Childan cancels his business with Mr. Wyndham-Matson, who laments this to his secretary Rita. The boss man's woman pines for what could have been had the Allies won the war, a fantasy concocted in a banned novel everyone's reading titled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. The novel imagines that Roosevelt survives assassination and pulls America out of the Great Depression. FDR's popularity keeps an isolationist, pro-Nazi regime from the White House. The U.S. fleet is not wiped out at Pearl Harbor. The British defeat General Rommel in North Africa. Without oil, the German advance east is halted in a city named Stalingrad. Adolf Hitler is put on trial for war crimes. In Wyndham-Matson's analysis of this fiction, the Communists and Jews take over the world, but Rita is beguiled by the book. So is Juliana Frink, who's heard that its author is an ex-serviceman who lives in Cheyenne in a mountain compound he calls the High Castle.There's a lot that happens in The Man In the High Castle. The most compelling involves a banned book and its power to reach across borders to inspire dreams of a world beyond the dismal one of the present. That would've made for exciting science fiction and it's one I started writing in my head while reading this. Being stuck in Philip K. Dick's head gets mundane. There are academic conversations on fascism. There are banal discussions on a political crisis in Germany following Chancellor Martin Bormann's death. There are endless consultations of the I, Ching which are as fun to read an instruction manual for Dungeons and Dragons.At no moment in this novel was I concerned about the safety of the characters, which is hard to believe considering Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan are in control of the United States. Slavs, Poles and Puerto Ricans are deprived educational opportunities, apparently. Slavery seems to exist for blacks, I think. Because Philip K. Dick couldn't imagine a world where any of these ethnic groups could be characters in a science fiction novel, it's hard to say. The entire alternate history conceit isn't utilized very well beyond Dick telling how bizarre things might've been if the Axis Powers won. Most unforgivable is the novel is boring.I was intrigued by Dick's suggestion that conquered Americans might not hold any more of a grudge against the Japanese or their culture than the Japanese held against American occupation forces in our timeline. Dick elevates Mr. Tagomi to the position of a major character, with Juliana Frink possibly the second most significant character, so unlike so many of his contemporaries, the author can't be accused of casual racism or sexism. The biggest offense of the novel is its administrative dullness, with political backstory made front story and characters getting lost in a purple haze of dorm room mood enhancing drugs.

  • Lyn
    2018-11-18 08:46

    The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, is classic, very good science fiction. It is the story of a segmented and defeated United States after the Axis powers won World War II. This alternate history actually began in the thirties as Roosevelt is described as having been assassinated. Taking a roving perspective amidst several characters and some loosely connected interwoven storylines, PKD explores a world where America is divided into three distinct sections and controlled by either Japan or Germany. The story also explores racism as well as common PKD themes of confused realities and subjective perceptions. Most interestingly is that there is a book within the book, written by the man in the high castle, where the allies won the war.

  • brian
    2018-12-08 07:26

    the plot is simple enough: an alternate history detailing what would've happened had the axis powers won the second world war. thankfully, there's very little of that obvious government intrigue and new-world-order shit that lesser writers focus on -- rather, Dick's obsession is the spiritual life of the individual in a totalitarian society told in the form of a wonderfully messy jumble of ideas and ruminations on race and history and human connection and destiny. in fact, i think dick's ideas are so powerful, they somewhat take over the novel... his characterizations, on the other hand, are not as strong as they could be; as a result, they're crushed under the weight of plot and idea... imagine a hybrid of, say, Philip K. Dick and Richard Yates? he'd pump out a few of the greatest novels ever written. that said, i expected a novel of utter strangeness and great ideas and got it; what i didn't expect was such a human and humane one. well, there's only so much to say, best to read these passages:on the Nazi leaders of America:"Their view; it is cosmic. Not of a man here, a child there, but an abstraction: race, land. Volk. Land. ...It is their sense of space and time. They see through the here, the now, into the vast black deep beyond, the unchanging. And that is fatal to life. Because eventually there will be no life; there was once only the dust particles in space, the hot hydrogen gases, nothing more, and it will come again. This is an interval, ein Augenblick. The cosmic process is hurrying on, crushing life back into granite and methane; the wheel turns for all life. It is all temporary. And they - these madmen - respond to the granite, the dust, the longing of the inanimate; they want to aid Natur.... And, he thought, I know why. They want to be agents, not the victims, of history."And there's an obsession with objects in the book... with the spiritual 'life' of objects. check this passage:She said, 'what is "historicity"?''When a thing has history in it. Listen. One of those two Zippo lighters was in Franklin D. Roosevelt's pocket when he was assassinated. And one wasn't. One has historicity, a hell of a lot of it. As much as any object ever had. And one has nothing .... You can't tell which is which. There's no "mystical plasmic presence", no "aura" around it...A gun goes through a famous battle, like the Meuse-Argonne, and it's the same as if it hadn't, unless you know. It's in here." He tapped his head. "In the mind, not the gun"'good shit.

  • Bradley
    2018-11-30 12:23

    This book is complicated for me. I only cared about Juliana's story as an actual story. There were times where I was invested with Frank's tale, too, and Tagomi had his moments, but as a complete and cohesive novel, the overt tale wasn't anything special. Nothing much happened except the hint of an attempted coup, the beginnings of an attempted assassination of an author, and the near-tragedy of a jewelry maker.So what's all the fuss about? Why do people think this PKD is the bomb? Why did it earn a Hugo back in '62?It's complicated. Just like my relationship with the novel.Let's get the heavy out of the way. The whole damn thing was written with the extensive use of the I Ching. Hell, I learned the I Ching and used it extensively after reading this novel, just to get a deeper feel. This is a practical crash-course in PKD's fascination with all things mystical and religious, focused on a tight beam of almost pink light and driven right into the heart of every character's life. It's easy to extrapolate into all his other works from here, or backtrack to this instant. Everything is connected.I loved this part of it. The twists and the turns, the inexplicable and the merely odd things that happen to the people, all of it could be blamed on the I Ching, and by extension, the vagaries of real life. Truth is hereby written.I just don't think it made for a particularly exciting tale... just a pretty profound one.And then there's the other part of this book which generally captures most people's attention. It's an alternate history where the Germans and the Japanese won WWII and split up the USA into occupied territories. We spend most of our time in the Japanese sector of California, where Frank is relatively free of the threat of being thrown into a gas chamber for being of Jewish ancestry. Nice set-up? You bet. PKD's details are vast and deep, too, throwing us into an immersion both amazing and scary as hell. It's a crash course in cultural mindsets, too, although I cannot be any kind of expert on how the Japanese really think. I cannot tell anyone how accurate it is. BUT, I can say it was a huge eye-opener the first time I read this.As a novel of worldbuilding, what PKD accomplished here is beyond excellent. Perhaps it only seems so this far down the timestream from when it was written, and perhaps it is a genuine masterpiece regardless of when we read it, but a great working knowledge of all the historical players is almost a must before dipping your toes in this water. I think I'm not too bad at history, having read a great number of non-fiction books, but since I wasn't living through the events, I felt lost a great deal of the time.It was almost as if PKD almost refuses to divulge the hidden treasures in the events without our active and fairly intense participation, but it wasn't so much the name dropping that I had troubles with. It was the importance of the events that happened to each of the characters that stymied me. So, again, we had to return to the I Ching and divine the deeper reasons.Themes can and will be untangled with enough effort, and they're pretty cool, but this novel is by no means a simple and straightforward read. And then there's the third awesome aspect of the novel. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a prophetic and I Ching written novel that's hugely popular in this alternate world. It depicts a world where Germany and Japan lost the war. An additional I Ching reading about the veracity of this novel tells us that it is a hidden truth. It's real. And people all across the nation seem to realize it, talk about it, and generally obsess over it.How cool. Right? A mirror of the universe *mostly* reflecting our own and driving its inhabitants a little bonkers in exactly the way that PKD's novel did for us in this universe!Well, it wouldn't be PKD without at least TWO world-shattering shenanigans, right?So, I've got all these high props of the novel and a teeth-grinding annoyance held out for it for the SAME REASON. Am I and this book in a relationship? Yes. But it's complicated. ;)Very cool stuff, but it requires a lot of effort to really enjoy. It's high maintenance. :)

  • Manny
    2018-12-10 10:25

    My favourite parallel universe story. Germany and Japan win World War II, and it has something to do with the I Ching. Much more controlled than the average Philip K Dick - for once, you don't feel that he threw it together in a few weeks to pay for his next batch of drugs. It is in fact quite poetic. Remarkable that no one has filmed it, considering that it's almost certainly his best novel and many others have become movies.___________________________________________The other day, there was a thread where people were talking about works of art composed under extreme formal constraints - Perec's La Disparition, Böök's Eunoia and things like that. It's just a little odd that Man in the High Castle never gets mentioned in this context. But, when you come down to it, using the I Ching to make every decision in writing a book is an extremely strong formal constraint. Maybe it's because the novel is actually pretty good, which the others, to be honest, aren't. So it's even more mysterious that no one else has tried to repeat the experiment. Or someone has, and I don't know about it? Has the I Ching written any more books?

  • Werner
    2018-11-19 15:20

    Note, March 2, 2013: A recent comment on this review prompted me to reread it, and I discovered a typo --I'd accidentally omitted a key word in one sentence! So I've just edited it to correct that mistake.It has been said that Dick was the most skeptical writer in the history of science fiction towards the idea that the world of normal human perception actually reflects ultimate reality. After his thought and writing took a more Christian turn in the early 1970s (though he was always a professed Episcopalian) he ultimately came to the belief that the 20th-century world is an illusion caused by Satan and that we are actually living in the period described in the New Testament book of Acts. In this earlier work, the religious influence comes more from Eastern thought, particularly the Hindu-Buddhist idea of maya, the concept that our material world is a veil of illusion masking the true reality. (Dick also refers to the Chinese I Ching, and reportedly used that method to divine the different turns his plot should take.) The alternate world scenario described above is only one competing "reality" in the book. Several of the characters pay a great deal of attention to a novel in which the course of World War II was very different than it was in their world, though not identical to events in our world, either (the author of that novel is the titular "man in the high castle"). At one point, one character temporarily slips into a reality very different from his own; and the reader is always aware that our own perceptual world is entirely different. Dick's message appears to be that NONE of these worlds (including ours) is any more "real" than the others; all are to some extent illusory fictions.Even within the context of their own alternate world, Dick structures events and dialogue to make it clear that his characters' perceptions are subject to a very high degree of distortion and illusion. They can be altered by drugs, states of temporary insanity, ideological prejudices, and misunderstandings of other people's speech and behavior. People often lie, to themselves and to each other; supposed valuable antiques (or other treasures) may turn out to be clever fakes, and people's real identities may be hidden.Though this is a novel of ideas, it has action and incident that keeps the plot moving and holds the attention; the characters are real and evoke our interest, and the prose is vivid and free-flowing. Dick very artfully uses the content of the book to effectively communicate his message by showing, rather than preaching, it. IMO, the literary quality of this work fully merited the Hugo it received!

  • Steve
    2018-12-09 10:39

    2 stars.I was disappointed with this book; it ended up going nowhere. Perhaps there was simply too much “other stuff” besides the plot (like the Zen and Eastern mysticism) in it to make it a worthwhile read for me. It seemed like an overwhelmingly large number characters constantly consult the I Ching for guidance, which has no appeal to me whatsoever.Okay, speaking of plot, or lack thereof. The book takes place in Japanese-controlled western United States (The United States lost World War II, and was divided between Nazi Germany and Japan). For the most part, the characters are introduced in the first half, and they all come together in the second half. But there is no clear resolution to any of the plotlines, and it felt like a cop-out to me. Even the dissatisfying ending asking, “What is reality?” felt so contrived, it was almost like PKD got tired of this writing this book and simply quit on it.Overall, this book was very flat for me. I didn't feel involved with the characters or their alternate world.

  • Duane
    2018-12-14 08:24

    Hugo Award 1963.It’s a bit of a stretch to call this science fiction. Alternate history, Germany/Japan win WWII. Ahead of it’s time, probably. I’m currently reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, more science fiction. One interesting aspect of this novel was the inclusion of an alternate history novel inside the story line titled *The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, wherein the Allies win the war. Clever touch.*A novel published in 2015 borrows the title of Dick’s imagined novel. I understand it’s premise is totally different from the original.3.5 Stars.

  • F
    2018-11-28 09:20

    I loved this but I was a tiny bit let down by this.Only because i expected a different kind of story so it's maybe my fault.Sometimes the writing went a bit over my head though.I thought the different stories would connect more.

  • Darwin8u
    2018-11-29 14:42

    "The grasshopper shall be a burden"-- The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick This is one of those weird, unsettling novels that spins your brain in six or seven different directions.I read this PKD masterpiece almost two months ago, but only just recently returned to review it because after finishing, I wasn't ready to review. After I read more of him, I realized that even when he is messy, strange, disjointed and sometimes yes >>touched<< Philip K Dick is one MuthaF'er that definitely can write and can definitely write his readers into circles. He bends time, switches alliances, inverts us until we find we don't recognize our own reflection or past. Reading 'The Man in the High Castle', I was reminded of a time when I was in High School in Germany. At the time, I was very flexible (think Abraham Lincoln meets, falls in love, and produces offspring with Gumbi) and decided to jump/fall/roll off the high dive platform with both legs wrapped around my head while standing on my hands. I rolled forward spinning head-chasing-ass (my knees were my axis of rotation) until I hit the water. At that moment my legs seemed to float from my head to their normal bipedal position, but my legs seem to not exist in a normal sense and I had no sense of North, South, Up or Down. It was embryonic and yes probably moronic, but it is exactly how I felt putting this novel down.Anyway, a fantstic dystopian/alternate history novel that if possible should be read with Philip Roth's also brilliant The Plot Against America. At least that is how I feel now about reading him then, but time has moved on, and I might just be remembering wrong.

  • Sr3yas
    2018-11-30 12:36

    When one is afraid of heights, and terrors are in the road; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails; because all must go to their eternal home, and the mourners will go about the streets;-----------Ecclesiastes 12:5Welcome to your alternative nightmare.Let me set the canvas. Allies have lost the war. Japan and Nazis have divided up the fallen countries. Jews and other groups are still being hunted down. Slavery is legal again. Nazis have mastered space travel and colonized Mars and Venus.And all these tidbits are like magician's hot assistant. Don't get distracted. Focus on the story.There are three stories here. Three distinct story arcs which overlap each other with the help of shared characters and I Ching, an ancient book which acts as an oracle. Also, there is a novel: Grasshopper lies heavy. A novel which many characters in this story read.A novel within a novel.If Man in the High Castle is a cracked reflection of the world after WWII where Axis power took control, then Grasshopper lies heavy is another broken reflection where Allies won the war. Don't be confused. Grasshopper lies heavy is not our history. It is an alternative history where Allies won the war in a different set of circumstances.Do you know what's remarkable? I am reading a novel which paints an alternative history where the Axis won the war and the characters inside that very novel are reading a book where Allies won the war. The story is set in 1962, America. One story arc tells the story of the dealers and makers art and artifacts after the war while another arc deals with a mysterious Italian man and a woman's fascination with the author of Grasshopper lies heavy. My personal favorite is the story arc which deals with the relationship between Nazi Germany and Japanese. The reason for this fascination is because this arc had everything! Mystery, action, philosophy, moral ambiguity and strong characters.As for the other two arcs, I did like them. But parts of it were predictable and too philosophical for my taste. Nevertheless, both arcs concluded quite strongly, if not bizarrely.I think Philip K Dick loves to screw with people in the very end. In his other famous novel, Does Android dream of electric sheep?, he closed his last act with some crazy stuff. Man in the High Castle does the same. (view spoiler)[ In the end, It was Inception all over again. I loved the glimpse into an alternative reality as well as the final reveal. But, huh? What? Is the story an alternative reality or an illusion within a reality?(hide spoiler)]It's not a book for everyone. It's uneven and too philosophical at times. It is also a kind of book which leaves you with many questions rather than answers. I think a quote from this novel itself sums up Man in the High Castle perfectly.“ What is it Philip K Dick 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 Man in the High CastleGrasshopper but me – they just imagine they do.” *Nope. I don't claim to understand this book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Rosh
    2018-12-12 08:25

    Alternative history stories telling about the Nazis taking over the world are not uncommon, the possibilities are obviously horrifying and Dick did not shy away from this motif. So what then can an alternate history first published more than a half-century ago tell us about our present circumstances?Of course, when considered literally Dick’s fictitious tale has nothing to do with our present situation, but there is a threatening truth to his parable because we must remember that the German populous in the last free elections in the early 1930s chose the Nazi Party to guide their destiny. Many thought that their new leader could not be taken at his word when he castigated particular ethnic, religious, and political groups and the collapse of the great German nation. He promised to make Germany great again. Dick speaks about how people become subservient when faced with tyranny. But with all its virtuous and piercing significance to present day politics, I got the sense that it could have been better written and that the ideas being expressed didn't really make for a coherent whole. it left me with the curious feeling that Dick had simply stopped writing the book half way through, with much of the story still to be told.

  • Stuart
    2018-11-24 10:29

    The Man in the High Castle (Includes review of new Amazon miniseries, Season 1 (10 episodes)Originally posted at Fantasy LiteratureWho would have thought that Philip K. Dick’s 1962 Hugo Winner about the Axis powers winning WWII would be brought to film, and not just as a single movie, but as a big-budget multi-season drama series from Amazon and produced by Ridley Scott. Stranger than fiction, as they say.I always have two questions for film adaptations: 1) How closely does it follow the book, and 2) How good is it as a stand-alone work? In this case, it’s almost inevitable that a 10-episode Season 1 is going to stray drastically from a 240-page book. Especially with Season 2 in the works, you can safely assume that there is no resolution at the end of Season 1. So I’ll restrict my review to what’s available.The Man in the High Castle is a very well-produced, finely-detailed dystopian story that gives us a large cast of complex characters living in a cruel alternate history in which the Germans and Japanese have carved up the United States. There are thousands of incredible details in every scene, every frame, that show how America has been conquered and humiliated by the victors (the tiny swastikas on the buttons of uniforms, for example). The Germans rule the East Coast and all the US authorities greet each with “Heil Hitler” followed by a hearty American handshake. The main character there is tough German officer Obergruppenführer John Smith, with a wonderful suburban house and model family, including his chipper Hitler Youth son. He is tasked with tracking down some mysterious film reels that both Hitler and the Resistance are desperate to get ahold of.On the West Coast, the Japanese have transformed San Francisco into a Japanese outpost, and whites are second-class citizens that have to yield at airports, on buses, buildings, etc. to the Japanese conquerors. The Japanese signage is impeccable, with accurate kanji characters that actually mean what they are supposed to say. It’s really refreshing to hear accurate Japanese dialogue that would pass with a bilingual audience, which is extremely rare for a Hollywood production. There are certainly a few ringers whose accents are wrong, but they are the exception. The German dialogue sounds pretty legit too, though I’m no expert.The San Francisco setting features a large number of memorable characters:Juliana Crain, a woman who gets involved in the Resistance against the occupiers; Trade Minister Tagomi, who has a complex relationship with a German double-agent but remains loyal to Japan; Joe Blake, a young man who is trying to infiltrate the Resistance as a spy for the Germans; Frank Frink, an artisan who produces fake antique memorabilia for the Japanese; Inspector Kido, whose job is to track down the attempted assassin of the Crown Prince; and Rudolph Wegener, a high-ranking Nazi posing as a Swiss businessman as he conducts clandestine operations in San Francisco.There are also several episodes set in Canon City, Colorado, in the Neutral States not controlled by the Germans or Japanese. It’s here that Juliana Crain and Joe Blake end up, as they try to connect with the Resistance. It’s a significant locale, since there is a mysterious figure named The Man in the High Castle supposedly hiding nearby, an important member of the Resistance, who is also keenly interested in some underground film reels under the label The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.There are a number of plot-lines intersecting throughout the series, but most of them center on the struggle to secure the underground film reels between the Germans, driven by Hitler, and the Resistance, who want to get them into the hands of the Man in the High Castle; the various machinations between the German and Japanese characters, who maintain an uneasy peace as the victors —however, the Germans have the upper hand thanks to nuclear weapons, and some high-ranking Germans are pushing to engage Japan in open war; and the clandestine operations of Rudolph Wegener in San Francisco, which seems related to the attempted assassination of the Japanese Crown Prince, and is somehow connected with Trade Minister Tagomi.The biggest mystery, and one that is not resolved in Season 1, is the nature of the film reels. Who made them, and why do so many powerful people want them so badly, to the point that they are willing to sacrifice lives to get them? We are shown some very subversive images, but I won’t say what. I think a lot of the series’ believability depends on whether you think that some grainy underground films should be so damn important. In the book, it was not film, but rather a book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Either way, without this element, you might not even recognize the reality-bending trademark of PKD’s works.In the end, the storyline of the drama series is different enough from the book that I consider them separate works. The world-building of this drama is very immersive, the visual details are incredible, and the characters are (mostly) interesting enough to make you want more. It really takes on its own identity, and while book purists might be unsatisfied, it works very well as a complex dystopian tale.Novel/Audiobook:This is a strange and sinister book, even for Philip K. Dick. It’s a carefully-crafted alternate history about a world in which the Axis powers won WWII and now dominate the globe (other notable books in this vein include Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore and Pavane by Keith Roberts), but being PKD that is just the beginning. It prominently features the I Ching (Book of Changes), an ancient Chinese classic that serves as a sort of oracle or fortune telling device for several of the characters. The Pacific States of America are dominated by the Japanese, while the former Unites States of America on the East Coast are ruled by the Germans, with the more independent Rocky Mountain States in between.This world of 1962 is a grim one living under the fascist and totalitarian rule of the Japanese and Germans (who themselves are locked in various intrigues that seethe throughout the book). Surprisingly, at least to me, the Nazis are depicted as far more capricious, cruel, zealous and maniacal than the Japanese, who are instead more logical, calculated, and strict but fair. Most of the novel’s characters live under Japanese rule, and despite their feelings that the Japanese are cold and inscrutable, they manage in varying degrees to live their lives. Ideas about racial superiority/inferiority abound amongst the Americans, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, and blacks: this world is profoundly divided along racial lines, but the Nazis reserve the top position on for blond, blue-eyed Aryans, so even their erstwhile Italian allies get short shrift. Regarding the Jews and blacks, they take a ruthless exterminationist approach, whereas the Japanese prefer to treat more moderately the peoples they rule. But in either case they look down upon their subjects.PKD depicts the political, cultural, and racial relationships between rulers and subjects with a very deft touch, and his vision is terrifying for anyone who has speculated about this “what-if” scenario. I think this scored him high points and helped The Man in the High Castle win the Hugo Award in 1963 (though many fans of Golden Age old-school SF writers like Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov must have been horrified).However, the book’s other major story arc features a story-within-a-story, in fact an alternate-history novel called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, in which Japan and Germany lose the war to the Americans, British, Russians, and Italians (who switch sides). Okay, are we talking about our world? No, this reality is slightly different as well (the Pearl Harbor attack didn’t destroy the US naval fleet, etc.).Now we’re talking. PKD is never content to tell a standard narrative without some twist on reality (realities?), and this book plays a major role in the ending of The Man in the High Castle.That ending is very ambiguous and open-ended, and the I Ching plays a pivotal role in this. I won’t reveal more than that, but clearly PKD took a unique approach to writing this book, and throws a couple of reality-shaking curveballs at the end (you know something must be coming or it wouldn’t be a PDK novel). Whether that works as a compelling story or not is up to the individual reader. For me, though I really appreciate the intricate world-building and plot, I wasn’t fully satisfied with the ending, although the individual characters’ stories were fascinating.The biggest drawback of the story was that so many characters rely on the I Ching to help in their daily decision-making, along with the conceit that this ancient Chinese classic serves as an oracle and has been introduced by the Japanese occupiers. I’ve lived in Japan for over 15 years, and not once in my entire time here has any Japanese person I know ever mentioned this book. So I think PDK just completely shoe-horned it into his story because he wanted to, not because it is an important part of Japanese culture. Buddhism (various sects) and Shintoism (essentially animism) are alive and well in Japan, but I’ve never seen anyone here throwing yarrow stalks to decide whether they should cross the street or not, eat ramen or gyoza, enter Tokyo University or Keio, or any other decision. So this just totally struck me as off, and his depiction of inscrutable, poker-faced Japanese was a bit too stereotyped for my taste.So did I enjoy the book or not? Definitely. After not having read any of his work my first 40 years, I read 15 PDK books in the last two years, but I’d say my favorites remain Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, UBIK, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Martian Time-Slip and VALIS. This time I listened to the audiobook of The Man in the High Castle, and it remains unique and memorable. Our version of reality is much less grim than the one he depicts, but we don’t need the I Ching to tell us that.

  • Anna
    2018-11-18 13:34

    Σε ένα εναλλακτικό μέλλον που τον 2ο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο τον έχουν κερδίσει οι Ναζί, τα πράγματα εξελίσσονται διαφορετικά. Βέβαια, έχουμε ένα σύμπαν δημιουργημένο από τον Φίλιπ Ντικ, άρα σίγουρα τα πράγματα είναι τελείως διαφορετικά από οποιαδήποτε πραγματικότητα! Όλες οι χώρες είναι υπό γερμανική/ιταλική/ιαπωνική κατοχή, ενώ οι γιαπωνέζοι τουρίστες-επενδυτές νομίζω ότι είναι πιο τραγικοί από τους σημερινούς, γιατί πέρα από τις φωτογραφίες σε όλες τις δυνατές τοποθεσίες, μιλάνε κιόλας! Ο άνθρωπος στο ψηλό κάστρο του τίτλου είναι ένας συγγραφέας (που προφανώς μένει σε ένα ψηλό κάστρο), ο οποίος έχει γράψει ένα βιβλίο, στο οποίο οι Ναζί έχουν χάσει τον πόλεμο και περιγράφει την εναλλακτική πραγματικότητα της εναλλακτικής πραγματικότητας. Και αν νομίζετε ότι μπερδευτήκατε, να σας πω ότι πρόκειται για ένα απαγορευμένο βιβλίο που έχει γίνει μπεστ σέλερ και είναι πρώτη μούρη σε όλα τα βιβλιοπωλεία. Το διαβάζουν όλοι οι Ναζί αλλά και οι Αμερικάνοι (ειλικρινά δεν θυμάμαι πώς διώκεται κάποιος αν το διαβάζει... ελεύθερα μιλούν όλοι γι' αυτό και παραδέχονται ότι το διάβασαν - όχι σαν την ταινία της Τζούλιας που όλοι είχατε ακούσει περιγραφές από κάποιον φίλο σας!)Γενικά είναι ένα πολύ καλό βιβλίο, θα το πρότεινα στους φανατικούς του είδους, οι υπόλοιποι όμως μπορεί να βαρεθείτε! Υπάρχει και σε σειρά - δεν την έχω δει - όπου έχουν ήδη παιχτεί 2 σεζόν (δεν ξέρω κάτι για τη σειρά, όποιος έχει άποψη ας μας την πει!)

  • Bettie☯
    2018-12-19 15:20

    EXTRA! EXTRA! **16th November 2016: Just found the full book audio on YouTube, narrated by our favourite: George Guidall** RE-VISIT via miniseries. A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war. Episode information is wiki sourced.Episode 1: "The New World":The series starts in 1962. The first episode follows the lives of three people: Joe Blake, a young man in the Greater Nazi Reich, who is later revealed to be an SS covert agent working for Obergruppenführer John Smith, tracking the transportation of a subversive banned newsreel in which the Allies won World War II; Frank Frink, a jewelry designer who lives in the Japanese Pacific States and conceals his Jewish roots, and Juliana Crain, a young woman who also lives in the Japanese Pacific States and a former fiancée of Frank. Crain makes her way to the Neutral Zone to deliver the film as part of a mission by the resistance. Along the way, her bag gets stolen leaving her with no money. Blake and Crain eventually meet in the Neutral Zone, while Frank is apprehended by Inspector Kido of the Kempeitai and may be extradited to Nazi America, where as a Jew he will be summarily executed.Episode 2: "Sunrise": While working in the Canon City diner, Juliana meets a man folding a paper crane and assumes he is the contact. Joe, having watched his own copy of the film, finds out from Smith that the contact is a Sicherheitsdienst agent trying to stop the resistance, and is ordered not to intervene. When Juliana meets the origami man at the nearby dam to pass on the film, he attacks her. Joe arrives to try to save her, but she uses her knowledge of aikido to throw the SD agent over a dam railing to his death. Smith himself is ambushed on his way to work, narrowly fending off his attackers. Meanwhile, in the Pacific States, Frank's sister and her two children are taken into custody by the Kempeitai and Frank is told they will be killed along with him for being Jewish if he does not cooperate. A prisoner in a neighboring cell convinces Frank to stand defiant. Just as Frank is about to be shot, the Kempeitai arrest the woman who stole Juliana's luggage. Frank is released. However, Kido informs Frank that this news came too late to save his sister and her children. Frank is enraged.Episode 3: "The Illustrated Woman": Joe and Juliana must act quickly as a vicious bounty hunter known as "The Marshal" arrives in Canon City investigating the death of the origami man. Tagomi makes plans with Wegener to pass valuable secrets from the Reich, and Frank plots his revenge against the Japanese.Episode 4:"Revelations": Joe is increasingly torn between duty and his growing feelings for Juliana. While Ed tries to stop Frank from making an irrevocable decision, Smith’s investigation is interrupted when he has trouble with his witness, and Tagomi's plan goes awry as events take a dramatic turn at the Crown Prince's speech.: Episode 5: "The New Normal": Juliana returns home, only to discover new clues that lead her closer to unraveling the mystery behind the films. Meanwhile, Joe faces a tough debriefing upon his return home. Kido begins his investigation into the events surrounding the Crown Prince's Speech, while Tagomi and Wegener make a last-ditch attempt to complete their mission.Episode 6: "Three Monkeys": Joe celebrates VA day at Smith's house. Juliana accepts a job working for Tagomi as she continues her search for answers. Smith, who has received intelligence about Wegener's activities but also happens to be an old friend, intercepts him at the airport and invites him for dinner hoping to probe Wegener for answers. Smith has Wegener arrested. Smith catches Joe sneaking through his files.Episode 7: "Truth": Juliana makes a startling discovery about her sister's death. Frank reflects on recent events and makes an important decision about his future, and Tagomi gains greater insight into Juliana's past. Episode 8: "End of the World": Juliana and Frank make plans to escape the Pacific States, only to be dragged back into danger by Joe as he tries to retrieve a new film. Meanwhile, Smith's loyalty is put to the ultimate test when confronted with a startling family discovery. The episode is named after the song of the same name, which is performed during the episode with Japanese lyrics. Episode 9: "Kindness": With time running out, a desperate Frank is forced to put his life on the line to help Joe. The pieces finally fall into place for Smith as he uncovers who was behind the assassination attempt. Tagomi is devastated when he is confronted with the consequences of his scheming, and Kido's investigation takes a dramatic turn when he makes an important discovery. Meanwhile, Frank and Juliana, after taking possession of the new film, decide to watch it, but they are shocked to find out that the film describes, apparently in the near future, a nuclear-bombed San Francisco where the SS are routing survivors and executing them; among the executed there is Frank himself, among the SS there is Joe.Episode 10: "A Way Out": Frank and Juliana angrily confront Joe as a Nazi agent. He goes to the Nazi embassy with the film. Joe learns that Heydrich is preparing a trap. Kido acts on the information from the Yakuza and kills the Nazi sniper that shot the Crown Prince. Ed is caught with Frank's gun and is used as a scapegoat for the attempted assassination of the Crown Prince, averting the need for Kido to commit seppuku. Heydrich demands Smith's loyalty ahead of Wegener assassinating Hitler. Wegener says goodbye to his family and travels to Hitler's alpine castle, but after confronting Hitler, kills himself instead. Smith captures the traitor Heydrich and reports such to Hitler. Joe evades Lem's ambush and boards a boat to Mexico in Juliana's place. Frank finds out that Ed has been arrested and returns to the Kempeitai headquarters to find him being detained. Tagomi goes to Union Square to meditate with Juliana's charm and opens his eyes to find himself in an alternate 1962 where the Allies won World War II.This book highlights the point that men in high positions should not hold rank unless they can pass with flying colours the compassion/empathy/humanitarian test. You may leave the building now Trump, Putin, Jong-un, Assad, Erdogan, Netanyahu etc etc.3.5*25.11.2015: Nazi-inspired TV advertising removed from New York subway(view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Maciek
    2018-12-01 07:27

    What would the world look like had the Axis powers won World War II? This is the question on which lays almost the entire foundation of alternative history, as this is probably its most common hypothetical - and The Man in the High Castle is one of its more famous examples.In The Man in the High Castle president Roosevelt is assassinated, which leads to him being succeeded by governments embracing traditional American isolationism - which not only keep the country largely out of World War 2, but also fails to lead it to recovery from the Great Depression and renders it unable to provide enough support for the Allies, in the end rendering it helpless to defend itself against the Axis forces which attacked it from both coasts, conquering and dividing it among themselves, establishing their respective puppet regimes in the former U.S. and a small buffer zone.In 1962, 13 years after the end of the War, the world is divided between the two great Axis powers - Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany (Italy barely enters the equation in Dick's novel), who enter a state of Cold War. German hegemony is established in most of Eurasia, where Slavic people are exterminated and the few allowed to live confined to reservations and in Africa - most of its inhabitants vanish in another holocaust. The Germans are shown to be much more ruthless than the Japanese, to whom they are also technologically superior - they possess both the hydrogen bomb and the capability to travel to and colonize other planets.In comparison to the ruthless Germans, the Japanese are presented as almost benign. Japanese occupied land is ruled with rigid bureaucracy, with a complex class and social system. Citizens of occupied America present little to no resistance to their new overlords, treating them with a mixture of resentment and emulation; they resent them for conquering them and making them their subjects, but at the same time they adapt their customs, behavior and even try to look like them to live in the new order. American culture is considered to have ended with the Axis conquest of the country; it's remains have either been incorporated into or replaced with Japanese culture. Conversely, some of the Japanese look for remains of genuine Americana, with pre-war cultural artifacts being sought by Japanese collectors. The question of authenticity is the main motor behind the book, and Dick's obvious interest which drove him to write it. What is authentic, and why? The whole novel is driven by this idea, sacrificing historical probability for ideological discussions (I find it impossible to believe that there would be no resistance movement in the post-war world, and that people would simply submit to the new order imposed on them). Dick names The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany by William Shirer as being one of his major sources of information for the book; coincidentally, it is the very book which I have been reading for some time when I dipped into his novel. Dick presents a variation on imagined Post-War Nazi politics, obviously inspired by his reading of Shirer - perhaps my enjoyment of reading his vision was lessened because I was reading the very author who inspired him to do so at the same time, and did not find his vision to be either very original or interesting. Dick's portrayal of Germany and the Germans is obviously colored by Shirer's adherence to the Sonderweg - a theory which portrays German development as inescapably leading to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich as its natural conclusion - which makes his portrayal of Imperial Japan as largely mild (considering the circumstances) a curious one, considering the history of Japanese colonial rule in Korea and China. Why emphasize and even enhance one while at the same time greatly downplaying the other?Much has been made of the book's ending, which is open and has puzzled readers ever since the book was first published. Dick has not been happy with the ending, claiming that apparently the ancient I Ching (which he uses heavily in the novel) has failed to provide him with an answer on how to end the book; he was not able to end the book the way he wanted to - whatever it might have been - therefore, there is no real ending to The Man in the High Castle. Read at your own risk - this is a book by which you might be rewarded, but also burned.

  • Magrat Ajostiernos
    2018-11-27 08:35

    Este libro me tiene en un conflicto constante.Se me ha hecho eterno, denso, no he conseguido meterme en la historia en ningún momento... pero por otro lado, tiene ideas tan increíbles y me ha hecho recapacitar sobre tantas cosas... Me ha encantado el final, las realidades paralelas, la reflexión que hace sobre el arte... En conclusión, la lectura no la he disfrutado mucho pero me ha dado bastante que pensar, y no se le puede pedir nada mejor a un libro.

  • Tristan
    2018-11-18 14:21

    *Read from LOA's Four Novels of the 1960s edition*“On some other world, possibly it is different. Better. There are clear good and evil alternatives. Not these obscure admixtures, these blends, with no proper tool by which to untangle the components.”― Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle I vividly recall instances of a 12-year-old me posing theories to my peers -and they to me -as to what the world would look like had the Axis powers won WW II. What was the impetus? Well, after seeing Saving Private Ryan, probably a mistake at that age (my parents weren't exactly of the helicopter variety), my mind was subjected to a flood of all things related to WW II. Needless to say, it rapidly became an unhealthy obsession of mine. My visions were grandiose, full of testosteron-fuelled action and, of course, lacking in nuance and grounding (ah, the follies of youth.. ). PKD's vision, on the other hand, deftly avoids these easily sprung traps. Life in his post-war world is a rather bland, uneventful, spiritually empty one for conqueror and conquered alike. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan have properly divided the territories amongst themselves, and have been at - an uneasy - peace ever since. Persecution on racial grounds is enforced, with of course Jews, but now also Africans and Indians being targeted for extermination. Space colonisation by the Nazi's is well underway, and rocket technology has been utilised to facilitate intercontinental travel.This is not where Dick's interest lies, however. The more typical "sci-fi" elements merely serve as a background. Instead, he directs his gaze on the inner world of a large cast of ordinary people (from various social classes and backgrounds), trying to navigate this precarious reality. Almost every single one of them is embroiled in a deep existential crisis, in seek of a renewal of faith and self-identity. Typical PKD fare, but in this case more controlled. It is the mark of a great science fiction tale that it is filled to the brim with ideas and that it contains profound ruminations on the inherent flaws and struggles of humanity. The Man in the High Castle does just that. One for the ages. Now about that television adaptation..

  • Andrew
    2018-12-16 12:29

    I'm going to be honest, I'm not really sure what I think of this book.There was like this weird interconnected plotline between all the characters, but I don't think it was even really relevant to anything. Japan and Germany won World War II. America has these little hold out places and The Man in the High Castle wrote an alternative history book where America and Great Britain won the war instead. Then you have this whole antique collection angle and people schemeing to reignite wars. I just have no idea.Part of the problem could be all the distractions while I was trying to read this one. Maybe I missed some bits and pieces that tied it all up nicely. Who knows?So maybe give this one a read sometime? I'll probably comeback to it sometime in the future in a better setting and have a go again. Which is maybe what the story was trying to say at the end. There is always hope for a better future.

  • Ron
    2018-11-22 14:35

    Philip K. Dick outsmarted me. Not so hard to do. I just wasn’t expecting it. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, one of his other great novels (and the only other I’ve read thus far) was written in a straightforward manner, for the most part. Excepting a couple of areas, the plot was easy to follow and the meaning clear. In High Castle, I had expected something similar: smart writing behind another brilliant premise, and an inherent message that I understood. Not so much.Midway through The Man in the High Castle (which I was very much liking), I began to have questions. The half a dozen characters, in separate plot lines, were not coming together as I’d expected. Besides that, a couple of things didn’t jive. Obviously, Dick had other ideas for his novel. The end pretty much threw me. I had missed something substantial, or so I thought. I backtracked. I thought about it. Not satisfied, I checked online for answers. Not many books have made me want to do that.If you haven’t read it, the premise is this: Germany and Japan won WWII. The U.S. was finished before it even started, and the world after is a very different place. So different, that the Western United States is governed by Japan, the East by Germany. The characters we follow are not a resistance. By the 1960’s, most people have adjusted to this new reality. Who is The Man in High Castle? He is the closest thing to what could be called resistance. He wrote a book that depicts Germany and Japan losing the war. A work of fiction that could get him killed. (view spoiler)[Or is it a separate reality, and not a work of fiction at all? How many realities exist here? (hide spoiler)]I loved a lot about this book. I didn’t like the “left-me-hanging” feeling. I just wish there was a follow-up novel. Something that would tie up some loose threads, or at least continue the story. I recommend to those who like a “thinker”. I’d appreciate any feedback from those who have read it, and want to share their thoughts about those spoilers I mentioned. This is one book I will reread in the future, in hopes of getting a better handle on it, and find those eggs I missed the first time around. And I will definitely be watching Amazon’s online series for their take.

  • Greta
    2018-11-26 11:24

    I consulted the I-Ching oracle and it said :"Feed the pigeons while they're alive. No blame. No praise"I'm quite sure this indicated I'd better quit reading TMITHC. because it has nothing of worth to offer me at this moment of my life.