The Man in the High Castle
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The Man in the High Castle

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  41,309 ratings  ·  2,118 reviews
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 20 years earlier the United States lost a war, and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan.

This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published June 30th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1962)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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brian
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 a...more
Werner
Mar 02, 2013 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Science fiction fans
Recommended to Werner by: It was required reading in a graduate-level course in science fi
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...more
Ken-ichi
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-Ja...more
Manny
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...more
Emily May
3.5
Scientifically 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...more
Richard
Sep 11, 2014 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Richard by: SciFi & Fantasy Group 2010-05 SciFi Selection
I’ve always enjoyed the idea of Philip K. Dick, but have to admit that I haven’t read as much of his work as I might like. After all, he is a difficult author, so it is easier to enjoy his works in the adaptations of others. I have read some though and, based on that, The Man in the High Castle is the best I’ve read yet.

Dick has several problems as an author. His drug use and chaotic lifestyle are widely accepted explanations for the slap-dash quality of some of his output. It does seem sometim...more
AC
(Best to skip the review and go right to the comments!)

Dick seems to have been a very good writer who could have been a magnificient writer -- but who just had too much of the hack in him. He had an astonishinly fertile and vivid imagination, and the ability to bring the reader to a seriousness that is utterly convincing, only to descend into useless plot twists, pseudo-mysticisms (iChing, and the like. It appears, in fact, as if he would start with a great idea, a few star paragraphs (like Bayn...more
Kim

This novel, an alternative history first published in 1962, has been sitting on my TBR list for a while now. I bumped it up the list after reading my GR friend Megan's recent excellent review. I was not disappointed. Instead, I was stunned and disturbed.

The novel takes place in a world in which the Axis powers won World War II and between them Nazi Germany and Japan - and to a much lesser extent Italy - control the world. What was the United States is split into three: the Eastern states contro...more
Steve
I'm not going to spend too much time on this one, since folks way more steeped in sci-fi than I am have written some fine reviews on this novel. I do however believe it deserves its fame. On surface the alternative world Dick created is OK. The Germans and Japanese win World War II. (Sounds like a bad novel dream of Newt Gingrich.) The strength of the novel lies with its characters (my favorites were Juliana Frink and Nobuske Tagomi). Possibly because in two remarkable chapters (13 & 14) in...more
Penny
I've never had a better opportunity to use a word a friend of mine loves to break out whenever he can - meta. It sums up this book fairly well in my opinion.

Those who enjoy Philip K. Dick need no convincing, but to those who either haven't read much of his work or haven't enjoyed what they've tried, I'd have to recommend this. It's unusual as is Mr. Dick's style but it's very easy to get into and the concept is very simple. What would the world be like if the Germans and Japanese had won World...more
[Redacted]
An alternative history tale set in a US where the Axis powers won the Second World War. America has been divided into a Japanese colony on the West Coast, a German colony on the East Coast and sort of a midwest buffer state between the two. The themes of the two intertwined stories are familiar to PKD veterans; People are not who they seem to be, reality is not as real as you might think, the counterfeit is indistinguishable from the "real". Paranoia and epistemological rantings abound.

This is n...more
Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. I just reread this book (March 15 2010) and had to bump it up a star from the last time I read it back in 2002. This is a complex, multi-layered plot that, in the end, is a study on the nature of reality and how people's perceptions of that reality can change it. This is the best of Dick's novels that I have read. One of the standard bearers of alterntive history science fiction. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

Winner: Hugo Award for best Science Fiction Novel (1963)
notgettingenough
It's pretty hard to read a Dick book and not have fun afterwards...

Manny asked at the end of his review of this: Has the I Ching written any more books? I don’t know about that. But now that I know what I Ching is, one thing is obvious. A book written by I Ching has to be reviewed by it too.

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...
Apatt
“The hands of the artificer,” Paul said, “had wu, and allowed that wu to flow into this piece. Possibly he himself knows only that this piece satisfies. It is complete, Robert. By contemplating it, we gain more wu ourselves. We experience the tranquility associated not with art but with holy things. I recall a shrine in Hiroshima wherein a shinbone of some medieval saint could be examined. However, this is an artifact and that was a relic. This is alive in the now, whereas that merely remained.
...more
Andrew
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 ha...more
D. B.
Nov 20, 2008 D. B. rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Harry Turtledove fans, WWII geeks
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 poin...more
Stuart
This is a strange and unique book, even for Philip K Dick. Yes, its a pioneering alternate history tale about a world in which the Axis powers won WWII and now dominate the globe (some other early notable "what-ifs" 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. T...more
Becky
Preface: I chose this book for my very first real life bookclub meeting ever. There was also much drinking (by me) at this meeting, so... if my review is less than coherent, well, actually, I think that's fitting, isn't it?

So, right. I chose this book blindly. Never read PKD before, although I have seen a few of the movies based on his work, and they are all interesting, to say the least. Having just read the amazetastic 11/22/63 by the King, I was in something of an alternate history mindset,...more
Raeden Zen
A Thought-Provoking, Frightening, Mind-Twisting, Alternate Fiction Experience

"Taking the book, she read the back part of the jacket. 'He's an ex-service man. He was in the US Marine Corps in World War Two, wounded in England by a Nazi Tiger Tank. A sergeant. It says he's got practically a fortress that he writes in, guns all over the place.' Setting the book down, she said, 'And it doesn't say so here, but I heard someone say that he's almost a sort of paranoid; charged barbed wire around the pl...more
Eric
I'll start with the positives.

The alternate reality of a world where the Axis won WWII is very interesting and well thought out in my opinion. Also, the characters in this book seem realistically complex and deep, especially when compared to those in the other books I've read recently (Snow Crash and Neuromancer). Juliana was particularly interesting and her scenes were very well written. Generally the plot line is pretty good.

But as good as the characters are, I did find that the main male cha...more
Megan Baxter
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...more
Mohammed
This novel is set in 1962 San Francisco in a very memorable alternate world years after a longer World War II, most of the world is under totalitarian Fascist imperialism as the war was won by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

It is a profound novel that has much to say about our world through an alternative political world like George Orwell's 1984.

Its a very ambitious novel that Dick uses to comment on Fascism and also people who hate non-white peoples. There was a racist character that was cle...more
Emanuela
Ciò che vorrei dire di questo libro è ancora nebuloso nella mia mente. Vedo un po' se l'idea si dipana e si chiarisce strada facendo.
Si tratta di sciogliere delle sovrapposizioni, di vederle singolarmente e di ricomporle in una sintesi, il tutto senza svelare la trama del romanzo perché toglierei all'eventuale lettore il gusto della scoperta. Incrocio le dita.

Partirei dal titolo: "La svastica sul sole" potrebbe avere come significato "Il sole sul sole ": la svastica o svastika rappresenta secon...more
Stephen
4.5 to 5.0 stars. I just reread this book (March 15 2010) and had to bump it up a star from the last time I read it back in 2002. This is a complex, multi-layered plot that, in the end, is a study on the nature of reality and how people's perceptions of that reality can change it. This is the best of Dick's novels that I have read. One of the standard bearers of alterntive history science fiction. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!!!

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1963).

One fi...more
Jonathan
Nov 23, 2011 Jonathan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophy lovers, thinking people, science fiction fans
3.5 - 4 star novel.

This was typical Phillip K. Dick fare, clever philosophical science fiction contemplating ideas about religion, society and in many ways what it is to be human. It was a well plotted and thought out book with a complicated plot focusing on multiple points of view as they struggle within a harsh society.

The basic premise of this book is that of alternate history. Japan and Nazi Germany won World War 2 and so in 1962 slavery is again legal and the USA have become broken into Ja...more
Giuseppe
Più leggo questo autore, più mi accorgo di amarlo visceralmente.

Philip K. Dick è passato alla storia, per quelli della mia generazione, come l'autore del romanzo da cui Ridley Scott ha tratto "Blade Runner". Allora le trasposizioni cinematografiche da libri di sci-fi non erano così frequenti (per ovvi problemi di costi e tecnici), ma negli anni a seguire Hollywood ha tributato lo scrittore con diverse pellicole basate sui suoi romanzi o racconti (Paycheck, Minority Report, Adjustement Bureau, A...more
Sesana
I knew just two things about The Man in the High Castle before I started reading: it's alternate history, and the author wrote it with the help of the I Ching. And like so many other alternate histories, this one has World War II as a pivot point. Roosevelt was assassinated, which lead, eventually, to the Axis winning the war. Now, the Italians are marginalized, and Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan divide most of the rest of the world between themselves. Much of the book is concerned with develop...more
Simon
A somewhat restrained novel from Dick in which he explores what the world might have been like had the Axis won the war alongside themes he is more usually associated such as the nature of reality.

The story presents fragmented narrative, following an array of disparate but interconnected characters who's actions affect events in not only each other's lives but on a global scale as well.

Germany and Japan are the world's superpowers that divide the world into spheres of influence with America part...more
Paul
Another entry in the "what if the Axis powers had won the war?" genre. Interesting because of the ideas that are entertained rather then for being believeable (which it isn't). The novel is set in the US which is now divided into a Nazi puppet state in the East (like Vichy France), a neutral buffer state in the middle and a Japanese controlled west coast. The Mediterranean has been drained and Africa turned into a wasteland. The sci-fi element is present with rocket type planes making the journe...more
Helen
Phenomenal, just phenomenal.

I'm not normally a science fiction sort of girl...but PKD isn't a normal science fiction sort of writer, either.

Because it's not really science fiction at all. His characters are just ordinary working class shmoes and sad sacks, struggling to get by, looking for love in all the wrong places, and trying to find meaning in an increasingly God-forsaken world.

So, yes, in this book, the Nazis and the Japanese won World War II, and there are missions to colonize Mars, and...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • Bring the Jubilee
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • Pavane
  • The Demolished Man
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • Rogue Moon
  • Downward to the Earth
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • The Wanderer
  • Lord of Light
  • Way Station
  • Star Maker
  • 334
  • The Inverted World
  • The Complete Roderick
  • The Rediscovery of Man
  • Mission of Gravity (Mesklin, #1)
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. He briefly attended the University of California, but dropped out before completing any classes. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memo...more
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“A weird time in which we are alive. We can travel anywhere we want, even to other planets. And for what? To sit day after day, declining in morale and hope.” 143 likes
“Truth, she thought. As terrible as death. But harder to find.” 116 likes
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