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review 2017-12-04 19:40
Beckettian SF: "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

“The Man in the High Castle” is my second favourite PKD novel, after “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”. I read both novels in the same year, back in the day, along with “Ubik”, “VALIS” and “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch”, and most of PKD's short fiction. Without doubt the most mind-bending year of reading I've ever had, and the one that hooked me on SF more than any other. The thing I love about his stories more than anything else is their mastery of chaos and illogicality. Reality in a PKD story is held together by the desperate hopes of his characters, and its always falling apart beneath their feet. Love it!

 

As for PKD's prose not keeping up with his ideas and co... I agree... and also agree it's often part of the fun. Although here, as noted, I found his writing mainly quite elegant.

 

I've been hunting around for speculation as to why PKD called Hawthorne Abendsen's book “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy”. Dick says in the book that the title is a quote from The Bible, but if so it is not in a common translation. You can find some speculation elsewhere; being speculative about a Dick novel means we'll be wandering into some fairly strange territory... I've also asked the question on my own blog, so there may be enlightening comments there.

 

 

If you're into SF, read on.

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review 2017-10-31 00:00
The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick Interesting idea and liked the insight into the I-Ching but the book wasn't coherant to me. Several characters with their own stories which did not converge. Basic message seems to be that humans are powerless puppets in the hands of fate.
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review 2017-04-06 02:53
Review: The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick

“Huh?”  That was pretty much my reaction at the end of this book.  The first and only other book I’ve read by Philip K. Dick was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.  I thought that book had a weird ending, but I think The Man in the High Castle out-weirded that one.

 

The general setting is in an alternate reality in which the Axis powers won World War II instead of the Allied powers. Japanese culture is dominant in the U.S.  Nearly everybody speaks and thinks in broken English and uses the I Ching to make decisions and answer questions, while Germans are apparently all obsessed with the Nazi ideal.  In other words, I thought the depiction of other cultures in this book seemed stereotyped, and the choppy English quickly became tiresome to read.

 

I think this book may have been intended more as a vehicle to express ideas than to tell a story.  There are interesting ideas here, and some clever plot elements, but the story itself felt pretty thin to me.  There are several plot threads, one or two of which could be considered the “main plot”, but there weren’t really any tangible results of the events in the book.

 

The main characters weren’t very likeable.  Juliana was just plain loco.  I hated Childan, to the point that I may have told him I hated him out loud a couple of times while reading.  I warmed up to a couple of the others later in the book after I understood them better, but I didn’t get attached to any of them or care much what happened to them.

 

Of the two PKD books I’ve now read, I definitely preferred Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.  Its story interested me more, whereas I was occasionally bored by this one.  I did enjoy some aspects of it, but not consistently.  As a side note, this book has several German phrases that aren’t translated within the book, so it was nice to be able to highlight the phrases on my Kindle and instantly get a translation.

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review 2017-02-02 00:00
The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick "Hmmm. This seems like a fun book. Something light, but engrossing to listen to on my commute," I thought to myself. Nope. So while I didn't get what I expected, I was blown away by what I got. I am going to have to go back and read instead of listen to it because I know I missed pieces and I still have tk work out more meaning. Especially that ending.

Took off one star because the author paid so much attention to meaning and symbolism that the story suffered.
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review 2016-11-08 00:00
The Man in the High Castle
The Man in the High Castle - Philip K. Dick I watched season 1 of the Amazon Prime prior to reading this. I wish I had done it in reverse. The book, compared to the series, left me wanting more. I thought there was too much focus on the store owner, but then I guess that was to suggest that Frink and his associate were making jewelry with alternate reality powers. I thought Dick probably spent too much focus on that. I also would've liked to have seen the Juliana/Joe part further developed.
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