Book Review: The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

I’d read “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and “The Minority Report.”  So, I started my book reading with “The Man in the High Castle.”  This is very different from those other works.  This is not so much Science Fiction as alternate history.  Dick realistically creates an America that had been defeated by the Axis powers in World War II.

The story is very complex and character rich.  Perhaps that’s its weakest point–rather than have one main character to follow through the Nazi and Japanese controlled U.S., there are several.  As such, it’s a fast, if somewhat confusing, travel novel.  The sub-plot I enjoyed the most gives the novel its name–the search for “The Man in the High Castle.”  Two drifters, of a sort, Joe and Juliana, travel across the American West to find the author of a book dealing with, of all things, an alternate history of the United States!  Joe and Juliana’s quest is to meet the author and find out why his novel is so controversial and what has made it banned by the government authorities.

True to Dick’s other writings, this one is a bit of a head scratcher by the time you get to the end.  There are a lot of philosophical questions layered underneath his prose.  If you like novels of ideas, this might fit the bill for you.

Good music to listen to while reading this book:    Are we not men?  We are Devo!


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