Speculative Fiction

The Man in the High castle

First .. what is up with this cover?

This is my first Philip K Dick book. He's a good writer, as in he writes well, but what he writes isn't always exactly what I am looking for in a book. Even so, this was an enjoyable read. The world building was good, the characters were interesting, and the whole thing made me think (great!).

Negative points: I don't know much about 1960s politics, so quite a bit of the nuance went over my head. It's a slow story without any particular driving force. There are a number of different plots that are strung along through the book, but none are active, they are all happening TO the characters (which plays along with the theme of the book, but makes for a more difficult read). I need to re-read the end, because it didn't totally gel, and I feel like there is something I am missing.

Finally, it is really hard for me to tell the difference between where PKD was making fun of the attitudes of the 1960s and where he was propigating them. I guess in the end, it doesn't matter, it's a period piece, I don't have to start being a racist just because I read this book but it created an unsettled feeling as I read.

If you haven't read this book and want to, read no further, I'll likely be spoiling the story as I go.

When I finished reading this book, it didn't give me that ah ha! moment where everything makes sense. I had to really think about it afterward in order to figure out what the story was maybe trying to say. The best I can come up with is that we cannot know what is "real" and what is a "fake," and if that is so, does it matter which is which? Truth is a hard thing to find, and in the end what is true isn't even real.

There are multiple story lines in the book, most of them involve some kind of forgery, false history, or deliberate falsification.

I think Julianna (the sole female character) might be the only main character who never pretends to be something she is not. People might make false assumptions about her, but she never directly portrays herself as anything but who and what she is. I'm not certain that this point is relevant to the rest of the story, Juliana might be a main character, but she is also mostly a device so that we can meet the Man in the High Castle at the end.