Book: The Man in the High Castle

Science fiction alternate history is quite a specific genre and not one that I have ever read. So it’s been a really interesting experience reading this particular book. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and although I heard of Philip K Dick before, this was my first taste of him.

The Man in the High Castle

This novel is not easy to pin down. There’s so many intertwining storylines and so many different themes are explored that it could become confusing, but it never does. Each character has his or her own voice and uniqueness that remains in the reader’s mind even as we flit from character to character, from situation to situation. Set in a world where the Axis powers won World War II, it paints a fairly realistic picture of what our world would look like. A good deal of care has been poured into the details. I love how each culture is played against the other and how the influences have really shaped the fictional universe. It’s brilliantly well done and draws you in so completely.

Amazing, the power of fiction, even cheap popular fiction, to evoke.

This novel is no crazy overnight bestseller. A winner of the illustrious science fiction Hugo award, when one reads the book, one can understand why.

The beginning of the book takes awhile to get through, it takes to time to absorb everything that you are constantly learning about the world, but it is all worth it. As the pace picks up and intrigues come to light, there’s a mounting excitement as the themes that the author wishes to explore comes to light. There’s a lot of meat in this novel, content that needs time to sink in, content that needs time for reflection before one truly understands. With so much to wrap one’s head around, it came as a surprise when the novel ended as it did. If you have watched the movie inception, then you will probably understand when I say – mindfuck.

Safe to say, I had no clue what was happening at the end and just went along with the show.

Work the sentences if you wish, so that they will meant something. Or so that they mean nothing.

Perhaps I am reading too much between the lines. A novel should be enjoyed after all, not analyzed word by word to determine what the author was trying to say. That assumes that the author was trying to say something. Perhaps they were not, perhaps it is just a novel that they wrote for people to enjoy.

Yes, the novelist knows humanity, how worthless they are, ruled by their testicles, swayed by cowardice, selling out every cause because of their greed – all he’s got to do is thump on the drum, and there’s his response. And he laughing of course, behind his hand at the effect he gets.

There is a novel within this novel and for some reason I draw some similarities between the authors. Both novels after all are science fiction alternate history. Perhaps Philip K Dick is just playing us, giving us crazy notions and stretching the limits of our reality as well as our imagination. What is real? What is the truth? What is the meaning? These are questions that continually bombard the reader.

With all that said and done, I really enjoyed the ride. I think that it’s well written and there was a sense of connection with the characters. The entire story as a whole was really good, mind-blowingly so. Also there was a mention of Singapore, so perhaps I’m biased already.

I know this review has felt a little confused, I can’t put my feelings and thoughts into words coherently for this particular book. You really have to read it for yourself. I cannot guarantee that you will like it, but at the very least, I think it’s one of the most interesting and eye-opening books I have read this year.

4 Responses to “Book: The Man in the High Castle”
  1. Genki Jason says:

    Great review. I was totally sucked into the book and chilled to the bone with its depiction of a Nazi dominated world. The finale was also heart-racing stuff but there was a glimmer of hope at the very end.

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