The Man in the High Castle

by Philip K. Dick

Review by Bill Johnston

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick cannot really be called a complete novel, but is more of a setting. There is no overall plot and what action it contains is fragmentary and implied like motion in a painting. I don't mean to say that it is bad and should not be read, on the contrary, it is an excellent novel. Just make sure you know what you're in for when you read it: this is about as close to literature as sf gets. (So as not to offend people who think there is a lot of sf which is literature, I'll say that I think of literature as something which is not only well written and characterized, but contains a highbrow quality, for lack of a better term. Literature is not meant to be enjoyed as a good story; it is meant to be savored as a delicacy. From my experience with the literature I was forced to read in school, that is.) I guess I should mention what The Man in the High Castle is about: it's a world where the Axis won World War II and America's west coast is now a territory of Japan and the east coast is now a territory of Germany. It's as depressing a novel as it sounds.

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