The Man in the High Castle
By: Philip K. Dick
Published: Jan. 1, 1962
It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war—and is now occupied by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to wake.
The Man in the High Castle, while interesting in theory, did not pan out for me. I have to give PKD credit for coming up with this alternate universe even if the execution of the story didn’t work for me.
We are given a handful of characters to follow and unfortunately they all had the same voice. It was hard to distinguish between them all because they were all written so similarly. Which in the end, made it hard for me to feel any connection to them. While their stories were somewhat interesting to read, I wasn’t invested as I should have been. Instead, I was more enveloped in the world itself instead of the characters within it.
I will admit that The Man in the High Castle must have been awesome to read back when it was published in the 60’s. To read a novel about what your life would be like today if things happened differently in the recent past would be mind boggling. However, reading this book 54 years after it’s publication and intended time-frame, it just felt like a mediocre sci-fi read to me.
The Man in the High Castle seems to be one of the “classics” that eludes me. The story-line seemed all over the place—I really don’t understand where the author was going with the plot—the characters were horribly underdeveloped, and the ending was horrible. I mean, what the heck was that? I feel like the author just gave up at the end and just threw some gibberish at the readers. Alas, this was just not for me. While I found myself slightly entertained, I did not fully connect with anything or anyone in the story.
“Truth, she thought. As terrible as death. But harder to find.”