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The Man in the High Castle

3.73  ·  Rating Details  ·  74,262 Ratings  ·  4,849 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 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 ...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published September 6th 2001 by Penguin (first published 1962)
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tyler I think this is to further convey the "Japanization" of society in the PSA. The choppiest sentences are when the Japanese characters are speaking or…moreI think this is to further convey the "Japanization" of society in the PSA. The choppiest sentences are when the Japanese characters are speaking or thinking to themselves, but some of the the white characters on the West Coast also speak in a sort of streamlined English to a lesser extent. I think this is meant to portray how the new ruling class has affected nearly every facet of American life.(less)
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Aug 17, 2015 Ken-ichi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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
Thank God, this is fiction, at least in our dimension!


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 Na
Emily May
Aug 25, 2012 Emily May rated it liked it
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
Jeffrey Keeten
Jul 28, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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.”

 photo 56b1f27b-cbcb-43dc-a465-ba7177d0a14a_zpsstiaqwmn.png

If Franklin Delano Roosev
Jun 12, 2012 brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Glenn Russell
Jun 07, 2015 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 rocketship travel and 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, ap
D. B.
Nov 20, 2008 D. B. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 02, 2013 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
The Man in the High Castle (Includes review of new Amazon miniseries, Season 1 (10 episodes)
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Who 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, a
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 ea
Jan 28, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 distin
"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 defi
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
Sep 11, 2014 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 someti
May 05, 2012 AC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(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
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, a
Sep 16, 2012 Andrew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 05, 2015 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uno de los libros más famosos de Dick es ’El hombre en el castillo’, ganadora del Premio Hugo en 1963. Esta novela de ciencia ficción, perteneciente al subgénero de las ucronías, parte de la siguiente premisa: ¿Qué hubiese pasado si los países del Eje, es decir, Alemania, Italia y Japón, hubiesen ganado la II Guerra Mundial? Todo parte de un punto concreto: tras el asesinato de Roosevelt, los EE.UU. sufren un debilitamiento político, que unido a las dificultades de remontar la Gran Depresión, pr ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014, rth-lifetime
For a novel about Nazis taking over the world, this book is awfully concerned with the I Ching and jewelry.

I mean, it's concerned with truth, as usual. Dick, as close as we get to an American Borges, is always about truth and counterfeit and authenticity. (You may have heard about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) In this book, a character holds up two Zippos. "One was in Franklin D. Roosevelt's pocket when he was assassinated," he says; "And one wasn't. One has has nothing
Feb 05, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What is it to be? Is it life or authenticity? Black is truth, or is it white? Kept in the dark; cannot see the light...
- Xentrix

He deals the cards to find the answer; a sacred geometry of chance; the hidden law of a probable outcome; the numbers lead a dance...
- Sting

They can get you if they want to; charged wire or high castle or not...'
- Philip K. Dick

In this fantastic science fiction novel about an alternate world where Germany and Japan won the Second World War and divided the planet betw

The concept of this book shouts READ ME! I mean who isn't intrigued by the idea of an alternate reality where Hitler won the war and the Germans share the world with the Japanese? Well, not the very idea of Hitler winning the war etc of course, but the concept as a case study. Interesting shit.

Technically, it's a pretty straightforward novel. A bunch of characters connected in the first place or eventually one way or the other (I had this feeling that even those who don't meet, share a con
Nov 11, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
This book is an interesting one for me to review becuase I wasn't entirely sure what this would be when I went into it, and right up to the ending of the story I still wasn't sure where it was really going. This is a story which Dick wrote using the I Ching, a very ancient divination text. This text was used to help Philip K Dick structure elements of the story, and thus the story feels a fairly unique and different to how it may have turned out had Dick written it without this guidance.

The stor
Mar 15, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sam Quixote
Jun 14, 2015 Sam Quixote rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1962, San Francisco. The Allies lost the Second World War. Ending in 1947, the United States was carved up by the Axis powers: Imperial Japan taking the West Coast, Nazi Germany taking the East, and the states in between acting as a neutral zone between the two superpowers. As the Fuhrer, Martin Bormann, lies on his deathbed, a banned (and therefore bestselling) novel called The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is gripping readers everywhere. The book tells of an alternate history where the Allies won WW2 ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Apatt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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.
Sarah Anne
This is a tentative four stars. It turns out that audio was an incredibly BAD choice on this one. There's so much going on, there are so many characters, and so many POVs that I quickly became lost.

I've read four Dick books in the last month and it's funny how I tend to remember them as fun. Somehow I tend to forget that they squish your brain into a new shape very quickly and actually make you think. I enjoyed this one even though I was quite lost. And it was actually a pretty disturbing book.
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)
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. 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 Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...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.” 220 likes
“Truth, she thought. As terrible as death. But harder to find.” 164 likes
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