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AlternativeHistory

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

“Can anyone alter fate? All of us combined... or one great figure... or someone strategically placed, who happens to be in the right spot. Chance. Accident. And our lives, our world, hanging on it.”

I'm amazed again at another great story by Dick that I hadn't read before. I admit I have seen some of the first season of the Amazon adaptation of this novel but the novel is far better than the TV show.

This story takes place in an alternate history where Roosevelt is assassinated and the Axis wins World War 2. Japan and Germany win the war and slice America up between themselves.

The plot is an interesting one. There is intrigue between Japan and the Nazis with the Americans stuck in the middle.

In typical Dick style, he moves between characters easily and uses their situations to shine light on the larger world of the novel. Some of the characters we follow are Mr. Baynes, a Swedish businessman in plastics, Mr. Tagomi, Japan's Trade Minister in San Francisco, Frank Frink, a metal worker, Juliana, Frank's (ex)wife, and the art dealer, Mr. Childan.

  • American art and culture before the loss in the war is very popular – Civil war guns etc.
  • Slavery is legal again.
  • Nazis have rocket travel, and have started traveling to Mars
  • The book The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a banned book in Nazi areas – it is an alternate fiction book where the Axis loses WW2. Many characters in this book are reading this novel. In the TV series, they have a banned film instead of this book. Some of the characters are amazed that there could be a world where the Axis loses WW2, it's unfathomable to them.
  • The I Ching is very popular. People use it to help them make decisions.

When a book is so good, I am always vague about the plot in my reviews. I certainly don't want to spoil this amazing book for you.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #8 in my My 2020 Reading Challenge

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