The Man in the High Castle (1962)

Extent

Read in 2018.

Subject

28 years after the 1934 assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt, a lot of people are reading a novel about an alternate history where the fascists lost WW2.

Commentary

Regrettably the focus is not on the meatier aspects of history. Instead, Dick’s preoccupation with fakeness dominates the narrative. His perspective on women is creepy and also takes up a lot of the foreground. Fortunately, it seems plausible that the Japanese occupiers would be so interested in pre-war American artefacts that the fake ones can be profitable. Still, as Dick seems to know, his Japanese are Said-esque “orientals”, technologically stranded with the Chinese I Ching and pedicab while the Nazis miraculously colonize the inner planets in plastic rocket ships and barrel toward a collapse that never comes: an endless fascist freefall. Compare the real-world Japanese economic miracle. That nation was not stagnant in defeat, so why would it be stagnant in victory? It isn’t a credible meditation on the idea of the Allies losing WW2, but the more colourful aspects are entertaining.

References here: “Red Star, Winter Orbit” (1983).

fiction text