18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A must read, 9 Mar. 2000
In this alternate reality 'slice of life' a group of characters struggle to cope with daily life in a world where the Axis powers have won the war and split the US into their own zones of influence. In the Japanese zone, the population drives daily decisions based on the prophesies of the I-ching. (PKD used the I-Ching while writing this tale to help guide the plotline.) The story revolves around an illegal book called 'The Grasshoper Lies Heavy' which describes in incredible detail an alternate world where the Allies have won WWII. There seems to be a pervading sense, illuminated by the cryptic verses of the I-ching, that all are occupying a reality that has somehow gone 'wrong'.
This is a superb story, richly deserving of its Hugo award, which immerses the reader in a believable alternate world without having to overdo descriptive narrative or details. The sense of angst and day-to-day struggles of our characters in an alternate moral system invite us to experience this other world in a personal sense rather than as merely an abstract concept.
Along with 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' and 'The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch', I would have to rate this as one of PKD's best works.