Manny's Reviews > The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1713956
's review
Mar 25, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, transcendent-experiences
Read in January, 1974 , read count: 4

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 thread where people were talking about works of art composed under extreme formal constraints - Perec's La Disparition, Böök's Eunoia and things like that. It's just a little odd that Man in the High Castle never gets mentioned in this context. But, when you come down to it, using the I Ching to make every decision in writing a book is an extremely strong formal constraint.

Maybe it's because the novel is actually pretty good, which the others, to be honest, aren't. So it's even more mysterious that no one else has tried to repeat the experiment. Or someone has, and I don't know about it? Has the I Ching written any more books?
71 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Man in the High Castle.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

02/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't know, though I've published a story that used the same card from 10 different Tarot decks as the limiting thematic constraint.


Ademption On the formal constraint and tarot theme, there's also: The Castle of Crossed Destinies.

Manny, you made my day by referencing "The Man in the High Castle" & "Eunoia," two of my favorite books.


Manny I love Eunoia, but, considered as a novel, I must say I have my doubts. As a surrealist poem, though...


Ademption Yeah, "A" holds it together pretty well and maintains a narrative within the poem. The rest is surrealist.


Manny Helen's sex-and-drug orgy in "E" is also very good! But definitely on the surrealist side.

I wonder if it's been translated yet? Now that would be a challenge.


message 6: by Hazel (new) - added it

Hazel I can't believe I never read this. To be remedied...


Jeremy Friesner Good news: Ridley Scott will be releasing a film adaptation of this novel in 2011. Or so IMDB tells me...


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I am reading this book right now and I don't know much about the I Ching. Do you know how exactly Dick used it to write this book?


Manny I have often wondered about that, but I'm afraid I have no details...


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily "Remarkable that no one has filmed it"

They have now.
Maybe not your favourite film studio, though.
It's Amazon Prime exclusive:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1740299/


message 11: by Eric_W (new) - added it

Eric_W Cecily wrote: ""Remarkable that no one has filmed it"

They have now.
Maybe not your favourite film studio, though.
It's Amazon Prime exclusive:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1740299/"


I just watched the first episode and while good, it bears little relationship to the Philip K Dick novel.


Manny I suppose I'll have to see it all the same. Thanks guys...


message 13: by John (new)

John Jr. To judge from an interview I just found, PKD didn't use the I Ching to make "every decision" in writing the book; it sounds as if he used it as some of his characters would have, but I can't be sure since I haven't read the book. You can find the interview at http://www.philipkdickfans.com/litera... I'm not quoting it here because it contains something that might count as a spoiler.


Manny Hm... I'm trying to remember where I read that he had used it for everything. It's true, in that interview it sounds more limited. Possibly I read that he had used it a lot, and guessed that (view spoiler)? The symmetry is so compelling that you really want it to be true. And of course, what he said in that interview doesn't need to be reliable... but maybe it's a simple account of what really happened.


message 15: by Lynne (new) - added it

Lynne King Well Manny you have certainly enticed me to read this book!


Manny It's one of my favorites, I hope you like it!


Brian Manny,
In a comment above you said "The symmetry is so compelling that you really want it to be true."

What symmetry are you referring to? I just read it and enjoyed it but did not notice any particular symmetry.


Manny Well, the symmetry that Dick wrote Castle the same way that Abendsen wrote Grasshopper?


Brian Ah I see. I thought you meant some kind of symmetry within the story itself. Thanks.


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan I found your review very interesting, much more so than the book.


message 21: by Manny (last edited May 24, 2016 11:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Manny Thank you Lisa! But I'm surprised you found it so uninteresting. Perhaps it's a bad choice as a first PKD, and you need to get warmed up first to his way of viewing the universe? He has an interesting take on the relationship between appearance and reality, and that's what nearly all his books are about - but it's less obvious than usual in this one, so you may have been expecting the wrong things.


message 22: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan It's true I didn't like his writing, or his way of storytelling, Manny. It's possible that I didn't give it a fair chance, but I did try.

Do you have any suggestions for other books by or about him? Thanks.


Manny I think my second favorite is Eye in the Sky. You might also want to check out the movie of A Scanner Darkly.


message 24: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Manny wrote: "I think my second favorite is Eye in the Sky. You might also want to check out the movie of A Scanner Darkly."

Thanks, Manny. Keeping this in my inbox until I can look up those tomorrow or later in the week.


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Manny wrote: "I think my second favorite is Eye in the Sky. You might also want to check out the movie of A Scanner Darkly."

Thank you again, Manny, for the suggestions. I have a feeling this author is not for me. The premise of The Man in the High Castle greatly appealed to me; I was very enthusiastic about reading it.

I looked up the plots of the book and movie you mentioned, and they don't interest me at all.

There are so many books that I want to read. This might be my one and only PKD.

Perhaps if I find a good biography of him I'll take a look at it.

I did enjoy your review so thanks for that and for your recommendations.


Manny Lisa, PKD has quite enough fans already. I think you are doing the right thing :)

When I read Pynchon's About the Day earlier this year, I couldn't help wondering a few times if this isn't what PKD would have been like if he'd grown up and learned how to write properly...


message 27: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Manny wrote: "When I read Pynchon's About the Day earlier this year, I couldn't help wondering a few times if this isn't what PKD would have been like if he'd grown up and learned how to write properly... ."

Ha ha!

Someone told me that I should try Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. I'll think about it.


message 28: by Lisa (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lisa Vegan Manny, Against the Day? Or ?


Murf the Surf Must be in high demand at our library in Palm Beach Co....I've been waiting forever for the ebook download. Manny, your reveiew has got me even more anxious for a copy :-)


Alexandra I totally agree, my favourite parallel universe story, too. It's really a pitty, that Philip K. Dick died before he finished the second part. He wrote only 2 or 3 chapters :-(


back to top