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The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 6 Sep 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (6 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141186674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186672
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

'Dick's best work, and the most memorable alternative world tale...ever written' SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Philip Kindred Dick 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". He died in 1982.

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For a week Mr R. Childan had been anxiously watching the mail. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Giles Allison on 13 April 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the perfect book for those new to PKD's work or who have tried reading later, spaced-out novels such as "Valis" and given up. Counterfactual books, both fiction and non-fiction, are all the rage nowadays. So it is difficult when reading this book to remember that when it was published (in 1962, before the Vietnam War) the memories of World War II and the Korean War were still vivid. The premise is this: the Allies lost the war and the USA is split between the "Pacific States of America" in the West, run by the Japanese, and the East Coast, which is part of greater Germany (along with Europe and part of Asia). The background to how this came about is wonderfully teased out over the entire course of the book, and similarly the effects of Nazi rule over most of the globe are glimpsed in chilling off-hand remarks. PKD's world is well-thought out and comprehensive: while the "final solution" has been applied to the whole of Africa, Herbert von Karajan is resident as conductor-in-chief of the New York Philharmonic.
This is PKD's most mainstream, and in many ways his most approachable, published work. It is a wonderful analysis of how ordinary Americans might have behaved under totalitarian rule. There is a power vacuum created by the death of Martin Boorman, but the wider political picture remains a backdrop to the inter-connected stories of a selection of "average joes", all of whom are masterfully characterised. As a nod to the "science fiction" categorisation of the book, at the core of the tale is a bestselling, underground book written by a man who supposedly lives in a high castle in the Rockies, and which is a work of alternative history about how the Allies won the war - is it possible that reality could have been changed in some way?
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By C. Hardy on 16 Mar 2008
Format: Paperback
I first read this in my teens, and I think that much of the subtlety passed me by. I have just aquired a new copy from Amazon,decorated with one of the most un-pc book sleeves you are likely to come across ( not a "tube-reader" folks)! I have just finished reading it, and well, this is clearly a work of genius. The book for anyone who hasn't yet read it, contrasts a novel, The Grasshopper Lies Down, about our post-1945 world; within a novel where the Axis powers won the Second World War. Japanese- controlled West Coast of USA is honourable,spiritual and superstitious, and speak in clipped English; whereas the Nazi-controlled Eastern seaboard is materialistic and technologically advanced. Africa has been obliterated as an extension of the Final Solution. Dick's book questions the exact nature of history and reality; that what is real is only relative to the individuals own experience.
I have to say that I didn't wholly understand the ending; if anyone can explain this I would be grateful! I have read lengthy reviews which suggest that the world in Abendson's book is in fact, the real history of the 20th century. But this doesn't work for me.
If you think the previous paragraph contradicts my praise for this book, you are missing the point. It is a process-based novel and the ending is largely irrelevant, in my opinion anyway.
Has this novel ever been made into a film?
If not, why?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Feb 1999
Format: Paperback
The Man In The High Castle focuses on an alternate reality. The Germans and Japanese won the war. But this is merely a background to Dick's main themes. What is real? Is intellectualism really better than being skilled with your hands? The book, which can be read on several levels, is a great introduction to this great author. Some people think that it finishes with a clear ending. I completed it wondering if I was living in a false reality, and whether my (intellectual) skills, were as valuable as I originally thought. After reading this book, try Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, and then Galactic Pot Healer, his most underrated book. I consumed Do Androids Dream... before Blade Runner was released, so I now find both book and film difficult to assess. I would now say that you should first see the film (director's cut!) and then read the book. This is no hagiography. Dick wrote some rubbish -- such as Our Friends From Frolix8 -- but when he was good, he was one of the great 20th Century writers. If you already have originals from the 1950s, keep them. I do.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Archy on 11 Oct 2011
Format: Paperback
I recall reading this as a teenager. I didn't really understand it then, and revisiting it more than thirty years later was an odd experience, as I expected to find a real classic I'd previously misunderstood. But I didn't. To start with, I'd forgotten how abrupt, terse, and awkward Dick's writing style was back in the early 60s. This is not an easy book to read, or fathom. I'd forgotten how the plot skitters about from one character to another (a strength, I know, for some readers) and how stereotyped some of them are (he even has a Japanese say "ah so"!) I'd forgotten the Nazi spy plot and how impenetrable it is, altogether.

Dick was always at his best when detailing the actions of the little man, in this case Frank Frink, who loses his job and begins his own jewellery business. He's good when detailing relationship breakdowns - the passages featuring Frank's ex-wife, Juliana, and her quest for the 'Man in the High Castle' were also fascinating. He's always interesting when indulging in religious speculation, here done via the I Ching. But once he strays into a kind of John le Carre spy world involving top ranking (though not historical) Nazis I think he loses his way. He certainly lost me.

Fakes abound in this book, from the fake guns - which can still kill - fake American artifacts, and fake people. No one is who they seem to be: one character is visited by a representative of a Japanese admiral, who isn't really a representative at all; he's Frank Frink. But Frink isn't really Frink, he's Fink, a Jew, and so in great danger from the authorities. And so on. Finally, there's the 'Man in the High Castle' himself, and his curious book, 'The Grasshopper lies heavy' - a title adapted from the Bible - wherein Germany and Japan actually lost the war.
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