If you've been thinking about reading The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, I would suggest you give your valuable reading time to another book. I hear the Amazon series, based on the novel, is really good. Why don't you go for that? I can't say how good the series is for myself because I haven't watched it yet, but...I'm thinking it must be better than the book. (Did I just say that out loud? Yes. Yes, I did.)
First, let me say, I thought the concept of the novel was a good one. I knew, going in, it was supposed to give the reader an alternate ending to World War II (a topic I am continually fascinated by). I understood I was going to be given a view on what the world might be like if the Axis Powers had won the war. What I need you to understand is I wanted to like this book, I was looking forward to it. My gosh, I gave it part of my Thanksgiving Break (prime reading time for a teacher, in case you didn't know)!
I was disappointed. It wasn't horrible, needless to say, it just wasn't...great. I hate giving reviews like this, but I have to share my personal opinion of "HIGH," which is what I've come to call it. If you ever read the novel, you'll know why - but, hey, it's the holidays, let me save you the trouble.
- It is painfully obvious the author has a very HIGH opinion of himself. And, yes, I could tell it from reading the novel. In fact, I left a tab on page 133 that says, "PKD is an egomaniac!"
- I feel sure the author was HIGH when he wrote, at least, some of the book.
- After I read the book, I kept trying to find excuses why it received the Hugo Award in 1963. Perhaps,...there was no good sci-fi back then? I've decided it must be because the awards people were HIGH.
- Then I thought, perhaps, the Hugo Award committee had never read a novel before about alternate universes or alternate endings or, maybe,...they'd never seen episodes of "The Twilight Zone" before? If that was the case, I could understand why they gave more credence to the novel than it deserved. I decided to test my theory and looked up the Hugo Awards for 1963 and found that "The Twilight Zone" actually received the Hugo Award that year for Best Dramatic Presentation! Okaaaaay, so...I'm back to thinking the committee must have been HIGH to slobber over this novel. (And, yes, I took into consideration that World War II had not been over very long for that generation, but still...)
- And, finally, the interesting viewpoint that the novel reveals is that if the Germans and the Japanese had won World War II, it would have been acceptable to smoke marijuana to relax (as common as a cigarette, comes in brands, and is carried around by your average businessman). This only loops back to another reason why I will forever refer to this work of fiction as HIGH and helps to support my suspicions about the author (see point #2).
To sum it all up, I'm glad I read it as a reference, but my time would have been better spent reading one of the numerous books on my "to read" list, all of which I set aside to read this novel because I wanted to read it before watching the series I've heard so much about. So, for those of you who are avid readers beating yourselves up because you fell in love with the show before reading the book, let yourself off the hook. Enjoy the series. Leave the novel on the shelf...in the bookstore.