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The Man in the High Castle
By Philip K. Dick

Discussed January 2016

Buy The Man in the High Castle from Amazon.com

Questions

  1. Did you read the book? Like the book?
  2. PKD chooses to set the book entirely outside the German homelands, or even German-controlled American territory. Why do you think he did this? Would you have preferred a closer look at Nazi American/Nazi German life post-victory?
  3. After their victory, the Nazis embark on a number of implausibly world-shaping projects, including the draining of the Mediterranean and the nuclear destruction of Africa. Did you find PKD’s vision of a post-WWII world believable? Interesting?
  4. Many characters base their actions off of the I Ching, and PKD himself made major decisions about the story’s plot based on his own readings of the I Ching. Why do you think the I Ching was so central in the book? What did you think of the book’s role in the story? Why does it seem to communicate the same hexagram to multiple characters who happen to consult it at the same time?
  5. What did you think of the other characters in the story? Were they well fleshed out? Annoying? Compelling?
  6. What do you think of the book’s ending, in which Juliana confronts the author of an alternate history he wrote using the I Ching, and then leaves?
  7. Whose alternate history is real?
  8. Its alternate history aside, the book refrains from any spectacular technologies or fantasies, and the most magical thing that happens occurs for only a split second. What did you think of these anti-climactic/realist elements? Were they frustrating? Interesting?
  9. For those of you who have read other PKD books, how does this work fit into his bibliography re: themes, perceived quality, etc. For those who haven’t, would you want to try another PKD book?
  10. The Amazon adaptation of Man in the High Castle is different in a number of ways. For those who watched it, what did you think of the series? Its acting? The major differences between the the series and the book?
  11. Amazon led a controversial marketing campaign that got quite a bit of publicity for its scandalousness. It also replaced the Nazi swastika with the German eagle, whereas the book is almost always marketed with the swastika on its cover. How should controversial pieces of media be marketed in public? Is The Man in the High Castle controversial?
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