The Man in the High Castle
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Author||Philip K. Dick|
|January 1, 1962|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
The Man in the High Castle (1962) is an alternate history novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. The novel is set in 1962, fifteen years after the end of a fictional longer Second World War (1939–47). It concerns intrigues between the victorious Axis Powers—Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany—as they rule over the former U.S., as well as daily life under the resulting totalitarian Fascist and imperialistic rule. Reported inspirations for the work include Ward Moore's alternate Civil War history, Bring the Jubilee (1953), various classic World War II histories, and the I Ching (which is referenced in the novel). The novel includes the construction of a novella within the novel that constitutes an alternate history within this alternate history (wherein the Allied Powers defeat the Axis Powers, though in a manner distinct from this actual historical outcome). The Man in the High Castle won a Science Fiction Achievement Award (Hugo Award) in 1963. It has since been translated into many languages,[not verified in body] and a recent pilot episode of a television adaptation (January 15, 2015) from Amazon Studios has been greenlighted to run as a series. Various further short works by the same author are reported to serve as follow-up information (short of constituting an actual sequel).
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Giuseppe Zangara's assassination of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 led to the weak governments of John Nance Garner (formerly FDR's Vice President), and subsequently of Republican John W. Bricker in 1941. Both politicians failed to lead the country to recovery from the Great Depression and also maintained the country's isolationist policy against participating in the Second World War; thus, the U.S. had insufficient military capabilities to assist the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, or to defend itself against Japan in the Pacific.
In 1941, the Nazis conquered the USSR and then exterminated most of its Slavic peoples; the few whom they allowed to live were confined to reservations. In the Pacific, the Japanese destroyed the entire U.S. Navy fleet in a decisive, definitive attack on Pearl Harbor; thereafter, the superior Japanese military conquered Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania during the early 1940s. Afterward, the Axis Powers, attacking from opposite coasts, conquered the coastal United States and, by 1947, the United States and other remaining Allied forces had all surrendered to the Axis.
Japan established the puppet Pacific States of America out of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, parts of Nevada and Washington as part of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The remaining Mountain, Great Plains and Southwestern states became the Rocky Mountain States, a buffer between the PSA and the remaining USA, now a Nazi puppet state in the style of Vichy France. Having defeated the Allies of World War II, the Third Reich and Imperial Japan became the world's superpowers and consequently embarked upon a Cold War.
One of the core narrative elements, (Operation Dandelion), is centered on a preemptive Nazi nuclear strike on the Japanese Home Islands. The Nazis "have the hydrogen bomb" and the ability to wipe out the Home Islands. Their nuclear energy capabilities also fuel extremely fast air travel and the colonization of the moon, Venus, and Mars.
After Adolf Hitler's syphilitic incapacitation, Martin Bormann, as Nazi Party Chancellor, assumes power as Führer of Germany. Bormann proceeds to create a colonial empire to increase Germany's Lebensraum by using technology to drain the Mediterranean Sea and convert it into farmland (see Atlantropa), while Arthur Seyss-Inquart also oversees the colonization of Africa and extermination of most of its inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Reich sends spaceships to colonize Mars and other parts of the Solar System.
Soon after the novel begins, Führer Bormann dies, initiating an internal power struggle between Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Hermann Göring, and other top Nazis to succeed him as Reichskanzler.
The Man in the High Castle focuses on a loose collection of characters. Some of them know each other, while others are connected in more indirect ways as they all cope with living under totalitarianism. Three characters guide their lives based on the I Ching:
- Nobusuke Tagomi is a trade missioner in Japanese San Francisco. Initially, the reader is led into his world only slightly; this character seems like he will be a minor functionary and unimportant, but events unfold in a way that drags him into both central and peripheral conflicts with agendas beyond his control.
- Frank Frink works for the Wyndham–Matson Corporation, which produces forgeries of pre-war Americana artifacts, fraudulently supplying them to Robert Childan, who sells them to visiting Japanese tourists who romanticize the American past; Frink is fired for expressing his anger. He is a secret Jew (né Fink) who conceals his identity to avoid extermination in a Nazi camp. He is a veteran of the Pacific War.
- Juliana Frink, a judo instructor, is Frank's ex-wife. Her character's importance grows throughout the book and she becomes central to the plot. She is also unwittingly used throughout the book by a hired assassin.
Others believe different things:
- Robert Childan owns American Artistic Handcrafts, an Americana antiques business on Montgomery Street supplied in part by Wyndham–Matson Inc. He believes the items he sells are genuine, but does not have the ability to distinguish between the authentic and the counterfeit; Tagomi is one of his best customers, who buys "gifts" for himself and for visiting businessmen. Childan has adopted the manners, cadences of speech in English, aesthetics, and ways of thinking of the Japanese occupiers, and admires the Nazis. Yet, despite his deference to the Japanese, he is privately contemptuous of them, retaining his pre-war racist beliefs, according to which Asian and African races are essentially inferior. Nonetheless, he is very conscious of his image, often deliberating [to himself] in an Asian mentality, how his actions might appear to others.
- Wyndam-Matson (Frank Frink's boss) muses about the difference between a real antique and a reproduction antique; via his mistress, he introduces the novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy to the plot and is the plot device used to show the initial differences of opinion in the novel regarding the authentic and the false, the differing opinions being those who believe The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is merely a work of good fiction, and those that believe it shows something more (a theme that reaches its climax at the end of the novel).
- Mr. Baynes, a wealthy Swedish industrialist, is actually Rudolf Wegener, a Captain in Reich Naval Counter-Intelligence, who is en route to meet Tagomi, through whom he expects to meet an important Japanese representative. He is taken aback by the pride Tagomi takes in gifting him with a "genuine Mickey Mouse watch" (bought at the American Artistic Handicrafts Inc. shop).
The narrative storylines of the plot alternate among those of the characters, providing a broad picture of quotidian life in totalitarian America:
- Baynes travels undercover to San Francisco as a Swedish merchant. There, he talks with Tagomi, but, in pursuit of his true mission, must postpone further meetings until the arrival, from Japan, of Mr. Yatabe (General Tedeki, formerly of the Imperial General Staff). His mission is to warn the Japanese of Operation Löwenzahn (Operation Dandelion), a nuclear attack upon the Japanese Archipelago Home Islands planned by Joseph Goebbels's faction within the ruling Nazi Party and opposed by Heydrich's faction.
- Frank Frink and his friend Ed McCarthy start a jewelry business; their beautiful, original craft works strangely move the Americans and Japanese who see them. He is arrested after Wyndham-Matson contacts the authorities to report that Frink is Jewish—an accusation that Wyndham-Matson knows will result in Frink's extradition and extermination.
- Tagomi, unable to acknowledge the unpleasant rumors he has heard, finds solace in action, fighting the Nazi agents attempting to kill Baynes; he uses the "authentic" Colt U.S. Army revolver bought from Childan for this task. Then, he retaliates against local Nazi authority.
- Juliana, living in Colorado, begins a sexual relationship with Joe Cinnadella, a truck driver claiming to be an Italian war veteran. He wants to meet Hawthorne Abendsen (the eponymous Man in the High Castle, so called, because he allegedly lives in a guarded residence), who wrote the novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Juliana travels with him, but discovers that he is actually a Swiss assassin hired to kill the writer, who is using her to seem more respectable and to help him to gain access to the Abendsen home; she attempts to leave, but he bars her way. Distressed beyond reason, Juliana cuts Joe's throat with the razor blade which she had considered using to commit suicide. She completes the journey alone, meets author Abendsen, and induces him to reveal the truth about The Grasshopper Lies Heavy.
- Robert Childan desperately attempts to retain his pride despite his subordination to the Japanese overlords. Although ambivalent about the lost war and foreign occupiers of his country, whom he both loathes and respects, he discovers a sense of cultural pride in himself while holding Frink's jewelry. He also investigates the widespread forgery in the antiques market amid increased Japanese interest in genuine Americana.
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Several characters in The Man in the High Castle read the popular novel The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, by Hawthorne Abendsen, whose title, putatively, derives from the Bible verse: "The grasshopper shall be a burden" (Ecclesiastes 12:5). Thus, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy constitutes a novel within a novel, wherein Abendsen writes of an alternate universe where the Axis powers lost WWII (1939–1947). For this reason, the Germans have banned it in the occupied U.S. Nevertheless, it is a widely read book in the Pacific and its publication is legal in the neutral countries.
The Grasshopper Lies Heavy postulates that President Franklin D. Roosevelt survives assassination and forgoes re-election in 1940, honoring George Washington's two-term limit. The next president, Rexford Tugwell, removes the U.S. Pacific fleet from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, saving it from Japanese attack, which ensures that the U.S. enters World War II a well-equipped naval power. Great Britain retains most of its military-industrial strength, contributing more to the Allied war effort, leading to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's defeat in North Africa; the British advance through the Caucasus to guide the Soviets to victory in the Battle of Stalingrad; Italy reneges on its membership in the Axis Powers and betrays them; British armor and the Red Army jointly conquer Berlin; and, at the end of the war, the Nazi leaders—including Adolf Hitler—are tried for their war crimes; the Führer's last words are Deutsche, hier steh' ich ("Germans, here I stand"), in imitation of the priest Martin Luther.
Post-war, Churchill remains Britain's leader and, because of its military-industrial might, the British Empire does not collapse; the USA establishes strong business relations with Chiang Kai-shek's right-wing regime in China, after vanquishing the Communist Mao Zedong. The British Empire becomes racist and more expansionist post-war, while the U.S. outlaws Jim Crow, resolving its racism by the 1950s. Both changes provoke racialist-cultural tensions between the US and the UK, leading them to a Cold War for global hegemony between the two vaguely liberal, democratic, capitalist societies. Although the end of the novel is never depicted in the text, one character claims the book ends with the British Empire eventually defeating the US, becoming the world's only superpower.
The I Ching as literary device
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In the novel's representations, Eastern religions, cultural practices, and ideologies have spread to the fictional former U.S.A. as a result of Japan's cultural hegemony over the Pacific Coast. A number of Japanese and some American characters consult it, and then act in response to it; specifically, for instance, "The Man in the High Castle", Hawthorne Abendsen, consults it while writing The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. As well, at story's end, Juliana Frink queries it in Abendsen's presence: "Why did it write The Grasshopper Lies Heavy?" and "What is the reader to learn from the novel?" The I Ching replies with Hexagram 61 ([中孚] zhōng fú) Chung Fu, "Inner Truth", describing the true state of the world. Every character in The Man in the High Castle is living a false reality; by implication, so is everyone in the non-fictional geopolitical world (where Great Britain declined and the U.S. became supreme).[original research?][dubious ]
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The interpretation and confusion of true and false realities is the principal theme[original research?] of The Man in the High Castle; it is explored several ways:
- Robert Childan grasps that most of his antiques are counterfeit, thus, becomes paranoid that his entire stock might be counterfeit; a theme common to Dick's writing (cf. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), wherein the counterfeit is better than the original, because it is functionally real, e.g. the .44 caliber Colt Army Model 1860 revolver indistinguishable by anyone but an expert armorer, as Tagomi's shoot-out demonstrates.
- Wyndham-Matson, himself a collector, has a Zippo cigarette lighter with documentation attesting to its having been in FDR's coat pocket when he was assassinated. He compares it with another similar lighter, inviting her to "feel the historicity", despite, of course, his fortune depending upon genuine counterfeits.
- Several characters are secret agents or are travelling under assumed persona and pretenses; for example, the Aryan-seeming "Frank Frink" is actually "Frank Fink", a Jew.
- The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the book-within-a-book, postulates an alternate universe where the Axis lost World War II to the Allies, though it differs in several important respects from our reality. It is an alternate history within an alternate history. Thus, the real world's alternate history is The Man in the High Castle, and The Man in the High Castle's alternate history is The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. The interpenetration of two false realities illustrates that the idea of a false and a true reality is inaccurate, because there exist more than two realities.
- The Edfrank jewelry more resembles 1960s American folk art than it does Japanese and German art; its connections with deeper reality manifests in the effect it inspires in the characters who handle it.
- Novelist Hawthorne Abendsen, the eponymous "Man in the High Castle", lives in a normal house after having lived in a castle (fortified house) that was more prison than home, yet, for the sake of perception (false reality), he perpetuates the myth of his fortified isolation.
- At the end of the novel, Hawthorne Abendsen and Juliana Frink consult the I Ching, which tells them that they are living in an immaterial (false) world.
- Tagomi briefly perceives an alternate world when meditating over a pin containing a Wu (Satori) form of "inner truth"; this Frank Frink artifact transports him to a San Francisco city where white people do not defer to the Japanese, possibly the world of The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, or the real world. In this world, the Embarcadero Freeway runs through downtown San Francisco, whereas in Tagomi's world it does not exist. This suggests that the world might in fact be our own.
- In Operation Dandelion, a trumped up need for military action in the Rocky Mountain States is used to hide an attack on mainland Japan.
- Robert Childan phones the Tokyo Herald to enquire whether the aircraft carrier Shokaku is indeed moored in San Francisco harbour and for how long, after having received a visit from a (fake) representative of admiral Harusha. The archivist of the Tokyo Herald informs him that the Shokaku was sunk in 1945 in the Philippine Sea by a US submarine, which matches the history of this world. We never learn about the actual history of the Shokaku within the novel, though; we only later hear a Kempeitai (secret police) member state that "this ship does not exist".
The authorial Dick asks: "Who, and what, are the agents behind this interpenetration of true and false realities?" and "Why do those agents desire that the artifice of said realities be recognized?"[this quote needs a citation] These thematic questions also feature in the novels Ubik, VALIS, and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.[original research?]
The Man in the High Castle deals with:[original research?] justice and injustice (Frink flees Nazi racist persecution); gender and power (the relationship between Juliana and Joe); the shame of cultural inferiority and identity (Childan's new-found confidence in American culture via his limited nostalgia and obsession with antiques); and the effects of fascism and racism upon culture (the devaluation of life under Nazi world totalitarianism and the presumptions of Japanese, German, and American racial superiority), cf. cultural hegemony.[attribution needed]
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Later, Dick explained he conceived The Man in the High Castle when reading Bring the Jubilee (1953), by Ward Moore, which occurs in an alternate twentieth-century U.S. wherein the Confederate States of America won the American Civil War in the 1860s. In the acknowledgments, he mentions other influences: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960), by William L. Shirer; Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962), by Alan Bullock; The Goebbels Diaries (1948), Louis P. Lochner, translator; Foxes of the Desert (1960), by Paul Carrell; and the I Ching (1950), Richard Wilhelm, translator.[full citation needed][verification needed]
The acknowledgments have three references to traditional Japanese and Tibetan poetic forms; (i) volume one of the Anthology of Japanese Literature (1955), edited by Donald Keene, from which is cited the haiku on page 48; (ii) from Zen and Japanese Culture (1955), by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, from which is cited a waka on page 135; and (iii) the Tibetan Book of the Dead (1960), edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz.
Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) is also mentioned in the text, written before the Roosevelt assassination divergence point that separated the world of The Man in the High Castle from our own.[original research?] In this novella, "Miss Lonelyhearts" is a male newspaper journalist who writes anonymous responses as an agony aunt to forlorn readers during the height of the Great Depression; hence, "Miss Lonelyhearts" tries to find consolation in religion, casual sex, rural vacations and work, none of which provide him with the sense of authenticity and engagement with the outside world that he needs.[original research?] West's book is about the elusive quality of interpersonal relationships and quest for personal meaning at a time of political turmoil within the United States;[original research?] given this, its underlying narrative design may be seen as a mise en abyme that parallels that of The Man in the High Castle.[original research?]
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Avram Davidson praised the novel as "a superior work of fiction", citing Dick's use of the I Ching as "fascinating". Davidson concluded that "It's all here—extrapolation, suspense, action, art, philosophy, plot, [and] character."
Some modern readers of the novel have pointed out that its basic premise is implausible; contrary to popular belief, the Axis Powers never sought to conquer and hold down large portions of North America, as the extensiveness of the land and the hostility of a large population would have made this a Sisyphean task. This is the proverbial "alien space bat," an absurd plot device used in alternate history to force an unlikely divergent event to happen. It is likely that Dick got the notion that the Axis sought America's complete conquest from propaganda films such as Frank Capra's Why We Fight, which deliberately mistranslated, and cut from context, statements by Axis commanders such as Isoroku Yamamoto, to reinforce this notion. The futuristic technology which exists in the alternate 1962 is criticized as similarly implausible.
An audiobook version of The Man in the High Castle was released in 2008 by Blackstone Audio. The audiobook, read by Tom Weiner, is unabridged and runs approximately 8.5 hours over 7 CDs. A previous Man in the High Castle audiobook—read by George Guidall, unabridged, approximately 9.5 hours over 7 audio cassettes—was released in 1997.
In October 2010, it was announced that the BBC would co-produce a four-part TV adaptation of The Man in the High Castle for BBC One together with Headline Pictures, FremantleMedia Enterprises and Scott Free Films. Ridley Scott, who directed Blade Runner, a loose adaptation of another Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, was to act as executive producer of the adaptation by Howard Brenton.
In February 2013, Variety reported that SyFy was adapting the book as a four-part miniseries, with Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz as executive producers, co-produced with Scott Free Prods., Headline Pictures and Electric Shepherd Prods.
In October 2014, Deadline and the Yakima Herald reported that Amazon's film production unit began filming the pilot episode of The Man in the High Castle in Roslyn, Washington, for a new television drama to air on the Amazon Prime web video streaming service.
The pilot episode was released by Amazon Studios on January 15, 2015,[better source needed] and was Amazon's "most watched pilot ever" according to Amazon Studios' vice president, Roy Price. Adi Robertson of THE VERGE, reporting on a press release from Amazon, writes that the pilot had been greenlit by Amazon to run as a series, describing it as being "set in an America that's been colonized by Japan and Germany after Axis powers won World War II," and as "deeply flawed, but… decent-looking and [a] moderately faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel." The greenlighting was also reported by The Hollywood Reporter, and other venues.
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In a 1976 interview, Dick said he planned to write a sequel novel to The Man in the High Castle[attribution needed] "And so there's no real ending on it. I like to regard it as an open ending. It will segue into a sequel sometime."[this quote needs a citation] Dick said that he had "started several times to write a sequel", but progressed little, because he was too disturbed by his original research for The Man in the High Castle and could not mentally bear "to go back and read about Nazis again." He suggested that the sequel would be a collaboration with another author: "Somebody would have to come in and help me do a sequel to it. Someone who had the stomach for the stamina to think along those lines, to get into the head; if you're going to start writing about Reinhard Heydrich, for instance, you have to get into his face. Can you imagine getting into Reinhard Heydrich's face?"
Two chapters of the proposed sequel were published in a collection of essays about Dick titled The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick.[full citation needed] The chapters describe Gestapo officers reporting to Nazi Party officials about their time-travel visits to a parallel world in which the Nazi conquest has failed, but which contains nuclear weapons, available for the stealing by the Nazis back to their world. Ring of Fire, describing the emergence of a hybrid Japanese–American culture, was a working title for the novel.
On occasion, Dick said that 1967's The Ganymede Takeover began as a sequel to The Man in the High Castle, but that it did not coalesce as such; specifically, the Ganymedans occupying the Earth began as the Imperial Japanese occupying the conquered U.S.
Dick's novel Radio Free Albemuth also is reported[by whom?] to have started as a sequel to The Man in the High Castle. Dick described the plot of this early version of Radio Free Albemuth—then titled VALISystem A—writing: "... a divine and loving ETI [extraterrestrial intelligence] ... help[s] Hawthorne Abendsen, the protagonist-author in [The Man in the High Castle], continue on in his difficult life after the Nazi secret police finally got to him... VALISystem A, located in deep space, sees to it that nothing, absolutely nothing, can prevent Abendsen from finishing his novel."[this quote needs a citation][dead link] The novel eventually evolved into a new story unrelated to The Man in the High Castle. Dick ultimately abandoned the book; it went unpublished during his lifetime, though portions of it were salvaged and used for 1981's VALIS. The full book was not published until 1985, three years after Dick's death.
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The acclaim afforded this novel was a career highpoint for Dick; as noted in his 1982 obituary in The New York Times, The Man in the High Castle won a Science Fiction Achievement Award (Hugo Award) in 1963,
- "Axis victory in World War II" is a popular concept in English-language alternate history fiction. Includes an extensive list of Wikipedia articles on Nazi Germany, Axis, and World War II alternate history.
- The Mirage, a 2012 alternate history novel about the War on Terror with a plot device similar to that of The Man in the High Castle
- Simulated reality in fiction
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- Nathanael West (1933) Miss Lonelyhearts, New York, N.Y.:Liveright Publ.
- "Books", F&SF, June 1963, p.61
- THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE - Blackstone Audio ISBN 978-1-4332-2817-9
- AudioFile audiobook review: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE By Philip K. Dick, Read by Tom Weiner
- Review of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick : SFFaudio
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- "Amazon.com: The Man in the High Castle: Season 1, Episode 1". Retrieved 17 January 2015.[better source needed]
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- https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jdBEAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=%22to+go+back+and+read+about+Nazis+again.%22&source=bl&ots=kW5hTgR-ul&sig=7npPlWbt1Dbj2trS0OKI-70eA4A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7PJuVY3NLMiN7Aap0IBw&ved=0CCgQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22to%20go%20back%20and%20read%20about%20Nazis%20again.%22&f=false. Missing or empty
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- Review and analysis
- Review and analysis via archive.org
- The Man in the High Castle cover art gallery
- The Man in the High Castle at the Internet Book List
- The Man in the High Castle at Worlds Without End