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The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Philip K. Dick , Eric Brown
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Sep 2001 Penguin Modern Classics

A dazzling speculative novel of 'counterfactual history' from one of America's most highly-regarded science fiction authors, Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle includes an introduction by Eric Brown in Penguin Modern Classics.

Philip K. Dick's acclaimed cult novel gives us a horrifying glimpse of an alternative world - one where the Allies have lost the Second World War. In this nightmare dystopia the Nazis have taken over New York, the Japanese control California and the African continent is virtually wiped out. In a neutral buffer zone in America that divides the world's new rival superpowers, lives the author of an underground bestseller. His book offers a new vision of reality - an alternative theory of world history in which the Axis powers were defeated - giving hope to the disenchanted. Does 'reality' lie with him, or is his world just one among many others?

Philip Kindred Dick (1928-82) 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.

If you enjoyed The Man in the High Castle, you might like Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, also available in Penguin Classics.

'The most brilliant science fiction mind on any planet'

Rolling Stone

'Dick's finest book, and one of the very best science fiction novels ever published'

Eric Brown


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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 (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,144 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
For a week Mr R. Childan had been anxiously watching the mail. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The original story of an alternative WWII 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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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius? 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fake to end all fakes? 11 Oct 2011
By Archy
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant alternative history 16 Oct 2010
By Jo Bennie VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
What if history had run on different tracks? What if Roosevelt had been assasinated and not led the USA into World War II, what if the North Africa campaign had failed and Rommel succeeded, Stalingrad never happened and the Nazis taken over Europe. What if Japan had prevailed at Pearl Harbour, the United States fleet destroyed, Japan never made to suffer the atomic bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima? If Italy had never switched allegiance from Axis to Allies, and instead become a minor ruler in a world split between the might of two empires: Japan and the triumphant Third Reich. If the USA was partitioned, the Rockies acting as a DMZ between Japan's reticent Buddhist non-violent society on the western seaboard and Germany's agressive Nazism complete with work camps and gas ovens to the East. Dick imagined this, and the result is an extraordinary mediation on American society and the fragility of history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent novel that should have a wider readership
Dick's exploration of late 50s/early 60s United States, with Germany and Japan victorious after a protracted WWII, is an inventive and mind bending alternative history (rather than... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Claptout
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow starter, but worth the read
After reading 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' by Phillip K. Dick, I decided to read this also, on a recommendation from a friend. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Harrison Ridley
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother reading/finishing
If you have started reading this book and are hoping it will get better, it will not! Too many sub-plots, poorly written, boring/non-existent narrative. Read more
Published 3 months ago by M. Barnes
5.0 out of 5 stars The best alternate history novel ever?
This is NOT science fiction! It's 'alternative history', one of the very first, and undoubtedly one of the best. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Goldfrapper
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry, I just didn't get it.
I have been meaning to read this for some few years and am a fan of PKD's work (mainly his short stories). Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Classic for Sci-Fi!
Philip K Dick at his best. Too many great lines to mention.
A real 'what if?' chilling at times and such a good story.
Published 5 months ago by denis i watson
5.0 out of 5 stars A science fiction classic
Philip K Dick is the great sci-fi writer of the 20th century. What a shame he died so young and in some ways, quite disappointed with his non sci-fi novels, which at his death,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by David FERNEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Another best from Philip K DIck
I bought this book for my son who is an avid reader and aspiring writer himself. Well worth the purchase. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jesse Holland
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth, reality and Fate
In the world of 'The Man In The High Castle', the Allies lost the Second World War. The victorious Axis powers, Germany, Italy and Japan, control vast swathes of the planet. Read more
Published 6 months ago by T. T. Rogers
3.0 out of 5 stars A great premise, but a flawed execution
This is a book that I only managed to finish at the second time of asking. This might be considered unusual as it often regarded as a very good book, one of Dick's best. Read more
Published 8 months ago by S. Meadows
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