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2 comments on “Book Review: The Man in the High Castle

  1. Chris Pinkleton Feb 3, 2015

    I am a longtime PKD fan. MITHC is unquestionably his best work, and the only one who’s plotting was determined by the I Ching, much like the novel with the novel “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.” (Sorry no reference for that.) Bizarrely, it is one of his most tightly plotted books, and to me at least, one that ties up the narrative threads and all the Dick metaphyical oddities in the most satisfying manner. I love his books, but PKD had a tendency to let his books unravel in a most uncontrolled fashion rather than bring then to effective ends.

    I am surprised that this isn’t a novel you would recommend to first time PKD readers, Ben, but I had read “Valis,” “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,” “Ubik,” and a few others way more bizarre than MITHC before this, so I’m coming at this from a way different perspective. I think it’s the PKD book that works best as a pretty conventional read — I would only shy away first-timers if they plan on reading anything else by him. Seems a shame to read all his other stuff and compare it to his very best right from the start. I would recommend “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (which I don’t think Ben likes) as a good introduction to Dick’s typical obsessions (theology, the femme fatale, objective reality vs.subjective reality) with a fairly straightforward and satisfying plot compared to many other works of his.

    No one should read “The Man who Japed” because it’s a Romper Room version of 1984. Not hideous, but bad.

    *thematic spoilers ahead*

    Ben, one of my “readings” (and PKD usually befits from multiple interpretations, as his own reality was pretty “multiple-choice”) of MITHC is that the US has in some sense “won” the war(e.g. the Japanese characters who value the “authentic” America) much as Germany and Japan could be said to have “won” in our world. I like your take on it(the characters being aware of the fiction of their world) as well.

    Sorry for the lateness of my feedback as I just read this.

    Thanks for the thought provoking review, Ben!

  2. Chris Pinkleton Feb 3, 2015

    That should have been “saw,” not “read.” Dumb fingers!

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