The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle
Dick, Philip K.
3 stars = Pretty Good

While I haven't seen the Amazon TV series based on this book, I had enough awareness of the basic premise going in. An alternate reality where the Allies lost World War II felt like such an interesting concept, I had to read the book that spawned this idea. Of course, I also enjoy Philip K. Dick's writing for the same reasons: he has novel ideas that he executes well. Unfortunately, I found The Man in the High Castle to be underwhelming.

To Dick's credit, his world-building for a history where Japan took over part of the United States after World War II felt quite thorough. Little subtle ways that people act, economies based on American antiques, as well as other differences that made sense with such a drastic change to history. The problem is, Dick was so focused on world-building that he forgot to write an actual story. None of the characters really stick out, and the titular Man in the High Castle is a Maguffin at best. I was left disappointed, which is rare for a Philip K. Dick story for me.

Maybe modern action thrillers have ruined this story for me, but when there are vast swaths of text dedicated to counterfeit antiques instead of forced cultural changes for the residents of the United States, a story like this can get boring quite quickly. If I had to pinpoint the worst part about this book, it's that the ending was not at all satisfying. There should have been something that better explained the book that told of an alternate history, considering how provocative the rest of this book made it seem.

An underwhelming execution for a top-notch idea, I give The Man in the High Castle 2.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name
Benjamin W.