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The Man In The High Castle

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  49,691 ratings  ·  2,650 reviews
What if the Allies had lost the Second World War ...? The Nazis have taken over New York - the Japanese control California. In a neutral buffer zone existing between the two states an underground author offers his own vision of reality, an alternative world that offers hope to the disenchanted.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1962)
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Michael I took it as the broken English (or broken Japanese) of the various characters in the book attempting to communicate. I actually thought it was…moreI took it as the broken English (or broken Japanese) of the various characters in the book attempting to communicate. I actually thought it was indicative of the fact that there were still hurdles to overcome in the integration of Americans in the PSA.(less)
Brock Beauchamp I don't believe it's depressing in its exploration of humanity. While the "here and now" is depressing, the slow strides toward a better future are…moreI don't believe it's depressing in its exploration of humanity. While the "here and now" is depressing, the slow strides toward a better future are apparent. I felt the book did a good job of showing that while humanity may take an occasional step backward, its people will ultimately break through and progress will begin again, no matter how tyrannical the current situation may be.(less)

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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
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
Mar 02, 2013 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Emily May
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
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
Sep 11, 2014 Richard rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
(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

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
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
D. B.
Nov 20, 2008 D. B. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
“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.
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
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.

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
Ed [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
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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EL mundo hipotético que K. Dick nos plantea en esta novela (los nazis ganan la Segunda Guerra Mundial) tiene una complejidad tal, que ya con eso bastaría para considerarla una obra maestra. Pero no se queda ahí, sino que profundiza en la situación de los supervivientes de la guerra, la situación de ese mundo imposible. Y además, en una pirueta creativa impresionante, nos presenta un increíble y si con la existencia de un superventas que relata qué hubiera pasado si los nazis no hubieran ganado l ...more
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
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
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
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
Davor Petričević

U današnje vrijeme sve su češći slučajevi da scenaristi posežu za već dostupnim književnim djelom pokušavajući na temelju predloška stvoriti svijet koji će fascinirati masu. Upravo to se meni dogodilo kada sam pogledao pilot serije „The Man in High Castle“ i odlučio momentalno posuditi istoimenu knjigu kako bi se upoznao s izvornikom i napokon se upoznati sa stvaralaštvom Philipa K. Dicka koje mi je već dugo u planu.

Tema je vrlo intrigantna, radnj
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
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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.” 176 likes
“Truth, she thought. As terrible as death. But harder to find.” 131 likes
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