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The Man in the High Castle Mass Market Paperback – Dec 1984


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm) (December 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425101436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425101438
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,854,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Dick began writing in the 1950s, a decade haunted by the Cold War and a decade which witnessed the blossoming of science fiction. While this form of literature was already haunting the margins of culture as early as 1926, when Hugo Gernsback identified it as "scientifiction", it was the terror of science gone mad-the atomic bomb-that gave science fiction its first, heroin-like shot in the arm.
In some ways the fear of nuclear war is just another expression of a theme that has seized the attention of literary theorists, philosophers and social scientists alike: how stable is "reality"? This is the great postmodern question, which has led theorists like Jean Baudrillard to conclude that even protests against the current multinational consumer system are programmed by the system, Michel Foucault to argue that the totalitarian momentum of this system seeks to colonize that last refuges of human freedom, one of these being our unconscious minds, and Daniel Bell to open up the possibility that the consumption of images and simulacra will continue to the point where "reality" may be nothing more than a series of products that one can purchase.
The Man in the High Castle novel presented the ultimate hallucinatory reality for the 20th century-a reality in which the Axis powers won World War II. Into this world, which Dick peoples with memorable characters, comes a novel written by a man who supposedly lives in a defended compound-the High Castle-in the nominally independent Rocky Mountain States. This novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, portrays a reality which powerfully affects everyone who reads it: a reality in which the Axis lost the war. Dick deepens the sense of dislocation for his characters and for the readers when the death of Reichschancellor Martin Bormann unleashes a power struggle in the Reich that will affect top secret Operation Dandelion-the planned nuclear attack on the Japanese Home Islands. To his horror, the Japanese Consul in San Francisco, Tagomi, discovers that the only leadership candidate opposed to Dandelion is Reinhard Heydrich, head of the dreaded S.D., and to save itself Japan must support the evil of the black uniform-an evil which has completed the holocaust in Europe and demands the surrender of Jews even in the Japanese-occupied Pacific States of America; an evil which has exterminated the black population of Africa in fifteen years. Tagomi literally becomes ill at discovering the reality of evil and concludes that humans are insects "...groping toward something terrible or divine." Tagomi manages to perform one small moral action-refusing to accede to a German request to extradite Jew Frank Frink from the P.S.A. to the Reich, and this action is echoed by Wegener, a representative of a German faction trying to thwart Dandelion: "We can only control the end by making a choice at each step."
The novel ends with Frink's wife Juliana discovering that the real "author" of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is the I-Ching and that the novel is actually the "truth"-Germany and Japan lost the war. While this realization does not heal her reality-save for the fact that her journey has prompted her to want to rejoin her husband-it stands as a symbol that transcends the book and speaks directly to the reader. The Man in the High Castle is thus, itself, an assault on reality-a work of fiction's internal reality. The reader of 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis, cannot help but feel that, despite its terrors, the Cold War is inevitable and preferable to the only historical alternative that could have prevented it.
Patrick R. Burger (Books in Canada) -- Books in Canada --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Philip K Dick was born in Chicago in 1928, but lived most of his life in California. He began reading science fiction when he was 12 and was never able to stop. Among the most prolific and eccentric of s-f writers, Dick's many novels and stories allbelend a sharp and quirky imagination with a strong sense of the surreal. The Man in the High Castle won the Hugo Award in 1963. Other novels include: The Penultimate Truth, Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and Time Out of Joint. He died in 1982. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
For a week Mr R. Childan had been anxiously watching the mail. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on Jan. 23 2007
Format: Paperback
Philip K Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 but spent most of his life in California . By the time he died in 1982, he written over 30 science-fiction novels and more than 100 short stories. Some of the more famous films of recent years - including "Blade Runner" and "A Scanner Darkly" have been based on his work. "The Man in the High Castle " was first published in 1962 and went on to win the Hugo Award.

"The Man in the High Castle " isn't necessarily what many would consider to be a `typical' science-fiction novel : there are no little green men, androids don't appear, nobody feels the force and the heroes aren't boldly going. Set in the 1960s, the story takes place in a world where the Allies lost the Second World War : Japan is in control of Asia, while Germany is in control of Europe and Africa. The Germans have also drained the Mediterranean for farmland, and have applied the `final solution' to the peoples of Africa. America, meanwhile, has been divided into three states. Much of the action takes place in the Pacific Seaboard America region, which is under the control of Japan. The eastern section of America is ruled by Germany, while between the two is the Rocky Mountain Buffer State. Life under the Japanese is presented as being relatively benign - pleasant, even. This appears to contrast sharply with life under German rule, despite the fact this isn't actually shown in the book.

The book follows the lives of a group of very loosely connected individuals - though what affects one has repercussions for all. Robert Childan is introduced first : a native of San Francisco, Childan can vaguely remember life before the war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Myers on June 21 2004
Format: Paperback
I doubt there are many writers as wildly inconsistent as Dick. He can be vapid and very bad--stylistically and materially--or knock-your-socks-off intelligent and excellent. This book is ranked among the latter.
The book's main theme is the one that Dick excels at developing in challenging, complicated, and provocative narrative situations--the theme of the nature of reality. A recent bio-novel about Dick by Emmanuel Carrere makes the point that novels such as The Man in the High Castle are very likely pretty accurate reflections of Dick's mind and often unsettled mental state; that is, he often doubted what was real in his own life timeline.
Many of my friends are disappointed with the conclusion of the novel, but I think Juliana Frink had it right at the end--while the novel describes an alternate timeline, it is really about our very own timeline.
If you've ever speculated about historical turning points--what if an event had or hadn't taken place--you will really enjoy this novel.
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Format: Paperback
What if the Axis had won the Second World War? In The Man in the High Castle, Dick imagines an alternate history in which Pearl Harbour knocks the US out of the war, the Nazis stage a successful invasion of Great Britain, and Japan and Germany emerge as Cold War rivals instead of the US and USSR.

The novel is set roughly 15 years after the war's end and follows several characters, including Frank Frink, a secret Jew who manufactures counterfeit pre-war American antiques; his wife Juliana who takes up with Joe, a man claiming to be an Italian veteran; and Japanese and German secret agents. While most of the characters' storylines only intersect briefly, they all in some way relate to—and in some cases drastically alter—the increase in German-Japanese tensions after the death of the German Chancellor and the resulting power vacuum.

The Man in the High Castle has quite an interesting premise, but the first three-quarters of the novel is quite slow. Here Dick is very heavy on dialogue and light on action—I suppose that reflects the Cold War atmosphere, but it doesn't make for great reading, especially given that much of the dialogue is not to do with the interesting political intrigue, but with Frank's attempts to open up a new jewelry manufactory or an antique dealer's attempts to impress a successful Japanese client.

It is not until the last quarter of the book that the man himself in the High Castle really enters, as it becomes clear that he is being targeted for assassination by German agents as the result of his novel exploring an alternate history in which the Axis had lost the Second World War. At the same time, the backchannel dealings between Germany and Japan reach a climax with the leak of a shocking plan proposed by the new Chancellor Goebbels.
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The Man in the High Castle is a novel that offers an idea of what the world would be like if the Axis had won World War II. In it one finds a North America that is dominated by the Japanese and a Europe that is filled with the cut throat inner politics of the Nazi party where the Nazis are prone to stab each other in the back. We follow the story of a Jewish man hiding in his labour, his ex-wife as she comes to realize what the world would be like if the Allies won the war, and a cast of other characters that includes a Japanese Trade Official and an American antique dealer. In this novel Dick approaches the problem of the meaning of a life in a deranged society, much like he does in his other novels.

I found this book to be one of Philip K. Dick's most literary works. However, this novel is by no means my favourite of his works that I have read. I prefer the mind-bending realities that Dick presents in The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch or the well crafted character study of Rick Deckard In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I did find this work to have the most polished and coherent plot of the three Dick books that I have read. That this is the case does not mean that this book did not have it's slower moments, especially near the end of the novel when an art object is contemplated a little too long for my taste.

Overall, I would recommend this novel to those who are looking for a good philosophical novel by the master of introspective science fiction. Although this novel technically does not have any futuristic sci-fi elements, the argument can be made that the alternate reality Dick creates is in it's own way sci-fi. This book may be award winning (Hugo award), but I found parts of this book to be extremely slow in the manner of some 19th century novels.
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