A dazzling speculative novel of 'counterfactual history' from one of America's most highly-regarded science fiction authors, Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" includes an introduction by Eric Brown in "Penguin Modern Classics". Philip K. Dick's acclaimed cult novel gives us a horrifying glimpse of an alternative world - one where the ...
A dazzling speculative novel of 'counterfactual history' from one of America's most highly-regarded science fiction authors, Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle" includes an introduction by Eric Brown in "Penguin Modern Classics". Philip K. Dick's acclaimed cult novel gives us a horrifying glimpse of an alternative world - one where the Allies have lost the Second World War. In this nightmare dystopia the Nazis have taken over New York, the Japanese control California and the African continent is virtually wiped out. In a neutral buffer zone in America that divides the world's new rival superpowers, lives the author of an underground bestseller. His book offers a new vision of reality - an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers were defeated - giving hope to the disenchanted. Does 'reality' lie with him, or is his world just one among many others? Philip Kindred Dick (1928-82) was born in Chicago in 1928. His career as a science fiction writer comprised an early burst of short stories followed by a stream of novels, typically character studies incorporating androids, drugs, and hallucinations. His best works are generally agreed to be "The Man in the High Castle" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", the inspiration for the movie "Blade Runner". If you enjoyed "The Man in the High Castle", you might like Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We", also available in "Penguin Classics". "The most brilliant science fiction mind on any planet". ("Rolling Stone"). "Dick's finest book, and one of the very best science fiction novels ever published". (Eric Brown).
As many genre fans know, this is one of the all-time best. Glad to again own a copy.
Jun 23, 2011
I must have not remembered enough of the story from my reading this more than 40 years ago. I was glad to re-enter Dick's im-
aginary universe and it was interesting but in the felt a little flat.
Jun 21, 2009
A Thoughtful Counterfactual
The eponymous man is an author who has written an enormously popular book called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which attempts to answer the question, what would have happened if the Allies had won World War II? - a question that can only be answered by the imagination, because in this alternate reality, the Axis won. America is divided into occupational zones controlled by Japanese and German forces, anti-semitic sentiment is rampant, and the I Ching is consulted by people everywhere as a matter of course.
The story takes its time getting off the ground. Initially, it feels like the interconnected plots are just an excuse for Dick to depict his alternate reality, but it gradually becomes apparent that there really is a point to them. There's no hook at the beginning, nothing to grab the reader's interest, but persevering is worth it. This is a good book, and well-written. The style bears little resemblance to that of Dick's characteristic sci-fi novels; in fact, it's obvious that he consciously altered his style for the purpose of writing this book, transformed it into the sort of broken English riddled with sentence fragments that might have become the norm under Japanese and German influence. The change is evident, but, with few exceptions, not overdone to the point where it might impede the reader's understanding. From that, as well as the terminology, history, and cultural references, it's apparent that Dick put a great deal of thought and effort into this novel.
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