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The Man in the High Castle.

6.1.2007

I just finished reading The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. It is a great classic of science fiction, and I was inspired to read it by our recent trip to the Sci-Fi museum. I am sad to say that I did not enjoy Dick's Hugo winner much. I suspect that The Man in the High Castle was about something other than the story related by it's words. I'm incredulous that Dick would write a story about the actual events depicted; the story and characters are simply not meaningful or compelling enough. Since I'm too young to be a contemporary of this novel, I suspect I'm missing the necessary topical prerequisites to understand the subtext of the book. I've never been skilled at catching the secondary meaning of stories. Several other revered sci-fi novels (A Case of Conscience, A Canticle for Leibowitz, and particularly Stand on Zanzibar) have left me as confused and apathetic as The Man in the High Castle.

My next literary adventure is The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. I think this will be a much better read. Neil Gaiman (Shame on you if you have read nothing of his.) wrote a introduction to the edition I have, and he talks about the fantastic future-resistance of The Stars My Destination. He even suggests that The Stars My Destination may be an early template for the cyber-punk genre. Perhaps I'll appreciate The Man in the High Castle more in a future reading. To quote Neil:

"You can no more read the same book again than you can step into the same river."

True that. I used to think that The Stainless Steel Rat was serious sci-fi.

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Tags: reviews scifi

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