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Showing 11-20 of 32 reviews(4 star). See all 139 reviews
on June 13, 2000
Science fiction writing - for those who think it's just make-believe fantasy - allows us to explore current issues from the safe light of afar - ('cause it's just make-believe fantasy, right?) While reading, we can make comparisons of modern racism or genocides with fictionalized aliens, and so on....
In this book, there are no aliens from outer space. This is an alternate view of our own history and other social issues in the days of Nazi Germany. The anonymous reviewer ("Things are Not as They Seem") has the BEST words on this book - read his/her review and then buy the book, if you haven't!
Here's my story - my first husband brought this book to me in 1968, as I lay in a hospital bed after the birth of our son. That's my kind of guy (though I didn't know it then!) We were barely out of our teen years, right in the midst of some major changes in the US.
Fresh out of high school, I hadn't bothered to think through much, and had grown up accepting the US's Number One Hero position in the world.
This book was fascinating, not just a sci fi escape, but a book that raised questions in my very young mind, questions I wouldn't have gone to on my own. What would our lives have been like if the Axis had won the war? The book is good for the liberal-minded, though the ending is...well - you need to read it yourself.
And it needs to be read and then discussed, in order to challenge that cocky belief we hold to be true, (a slightly masked form of global racism), that we are the chosen country.
It is time for someone to write on this theme again, but for now, this is a good read. If you liked Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here," or if the short story "The Lottery" got you thinking, you will enjoy reading this book.
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on November 13, 2000
One should return to Philip K. Dick's books every three or four years in order not to forget what an adult sci-fi book looks like. Of course, one has to be careful because Philip K. Dick, amidst a dozen masterpieces, also wrote a certain number of books to pay his rent, books which could deceive the curious reader.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE won the 1964 Hugo award and gave to Philip K. Dick the opportunity to write his best novels without being worried by financial problems. It's not my favorite Dick novel but I nevertheless read it on a regular basis because this writer, in my opinion, is one of the most important american writers of the XXth century and each of his books is way better than the 99 % of today sci-fi production.
Numerous Dick's obsessions can be found in THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE like his fear in front of any kind of totalitarism or his intimate belief that reality is only a mask hiding another reality which could hide... and so on. His problems with the F.B.I. have also inspired the scenes describing how innocent people are hunted and arrested by members of the german secret police.
I should say that THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is a good introduction to Philip K. Dick's universe for those of you who want to discover this writer. It's adult science-fiction at its best.
A book to read again. And again. And again.
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on August 12, 2002
"The Man in the High Castle," by Philip K. Dick, is a science fiction novel that pushes the boundaries of the genre. It takes place in an alternate America where Germany and Japan won World War II. The Pacific States of America are ruled by Japan through a puppet white government; the Germans have engaged in genocide in Africa and are pursuing an aggressive space program. That's only the beginning of the "what if?" strangeness.
In "Man," Dick uses a dual book-within-the-book theme. The plot and characters are continuously impacted by two texts: first, the ancient Chinese oracle known as the I Ching, and second, "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy," a banned novel of yet another alternate America. The book thus becomes a mindbending literary house of mirrors.
This is a bizarre, intelligent, and compelling work of fiction. There may be just a little too much going on; in the end, I'm not sure if the book completely holds together. But Dick poses some fascinating questions. "Man" is a biting satire about conspiracy, power, censorship, and cultural exploitation. Ultimately, Dick questions the very nature of science fiction, and ponders the role of literature in general.
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on February 7, 1999
There may be more exciting books using this idea -- the Allies losing WWII -- but I doubt you'll find one that's more atmospherically engrossing. The world that Dick creates is something else, especially the U.S. that's overrun with Japanese culture.
Reading this book, I also realized something else: nobody writes the mind of a schizophrenic better than Dick. The passage where Tagomi is going nuts was so real that I almost couldn't read it.
I still consider "Three Stigmatas of Palmer Eldritch" to be Dick's finest work, because it was so wonderfully whacked out, but I think "Man in the High Castle" is up there. It's more finely controlled than Palmer, and the landscape that Dick paints is worth looking at.
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on August 7, 2010
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. While this is touted to be perhaps his best work, there are other Dick books I recommend you try first, but coming from Dick's mastery of writing, this book should not be over looked (just look at it after you have read more Dick!)
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on August 5, 2003
This is among the best sci-fi I've read. Dick is great at avoiding the usual mannerisms of typical sci-fi authors and the academic sci-fi sect. The stylistically bare bones approach is effective in allowing the invertedness of the settings have their full effect (though I occasionally felt he rubbed it in a bit too much), which is good because plot-wise this book doesn't have a whole lot to offer- its scattered slightly interconnected situations offer more or less a snapshot of the world inhabiting the book, perhaps with some barbs pointed towards the "real" world and hit-or-miss parallels with life in general.
Although I prefer 'Flow My Tears...' to this, The Man in the High Castle is a brief and worthwhile read (although it's much touted status as a classic might lead to some disappointment).
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on December 3, 2012
I just realized this review should be about the content of the book itself - not about the condition of the book. However, I have not read this book yet, and do not plan to for another couple of months.
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on April 7, 2004
As a History grad and military history buff I found this book positively creepy and chilling!! It literally wrenches your insides because in it is a dark, terrifying, nightmare world that Dick creates in which HISTORY goes horribly, horribly wrong. After all, we're the "good guys", right? I mean we WON the war and the "bad guys" lost. Not so in this book and the WAY the bad guys won the war is fascinating. Dick gives it to us in tiny little morsels instead of all at once. Ex. "One of these lighters was in FDR's pocket when he was assassinated." WHOAH. Or "when the Germans took Malta...." or "during the Battle of London...." Dick takes you on a ride and shakes you. He tells you what the Nazis did to Europe and Africa after they won the war and how they are leading the space program and taking their deadly values to the stars. His portrayal of the Americans as second-class citizens in their own country indebted to Nazi economic reconstruction or Japanese slightly condescending humanitarianism is so real. He has a philosophical undertone throughout which is represented by the I Ching which has become the oracle of choice to the lowly Americans who try to make sense of their place in this new world. A book has been written inside this one which asserts that Germany and Japan DID lose the war and the Nazis and Japanese try to suppress it but at the same time find it irresistibly compelling as if its "truth" is truer than their realities. Man in the High Castle gives you a sense of hope in the end that the yanks will see this underlying truth amidst the stark reality of their present. Truly, though, this book is so real that as you are reading it you may find yourself shuddering and glancing through some history books just to make sure....
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on August 25, 2000
This is an well written novel with real charachters. It should be studied by schools everywhere. Like most people, I expected the novel to be quite different than it was. I can't grasp the meaning myself so I cannot appreciate the book entirely but maybe the novel and the ending is meant to be ambiguous.
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on September 8, 2017
The series on prime video is more interesting, but good on PKD to have such an imagination. As always prime delivered!
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