Man In The High Castle / Why You Should Read Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick is one of the world’s weirder authors. He’s waaaaayyyyy out there; pretty much a world apart from everyone else. Here’s how I describe his writing:

Remember that one night you drank too much tequila and were absolutely certain that it made perfect sense to drunk dial your ex and then set your pants on fire? Philip K. Dick understands that moment. His moment is the time when it all fits together and it’s logical and right to do precisely this thing to which you’ve set your mind, and all the people telling you to put down the matches, they’re the fools! If only they would just listen to you it they’d understand too and then you’d all set your pants on fire together and it would fix everything. That’s Philip K. Dick’s natural state.

Philip K. Dick is going on the trip with or without you. In his best works the reader gets to come along. In his lesser works you’re halfway through the book and still haven’t figured out whether the main character is or is not dead (see Ubik).

Is he that good? Yes, excellent! Is he that bad? Absolutely, terribly bad! Is he confusing? Usually, in fact when it makes sense is when you’ve really lost it.

Lucky for us, Philip K. Dick was a prolific author. Even so I try to pace my reading of his stuff because the dude’s dead and when I’ve read the last Philip K. Dick book… then what? Also, if you binge read too much Philip K. Dick you’ll wind up spaced out and floating.


My favorite Philip K. Dick book is The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Yes, it is a snappy title. I read that a zillion years ago and loved it.

I held out forever to “save it” but last year I finally read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It was pretty good. It was also entirely unlike it’s derivative movie, The Blade Runner. This doesn’t detract from either the book or the movie. With a guy like Philip K Dick you just accept that the movie and the book live on different dimensions. Also the movie had an unfair advantages. Daryl Hanna tried to kill a guy with her thighs (which might be worth it) and Rutger Hauer, a murderous inhuman creation, has the world’s greatest death scene.


Last month I bought Ubik to celebrate the resurrection of my kindle. It was pretty good but not his best. I got overly distracted by the whole “is this guy dead or not” question. I know; I’m such a square.


The same time I was puzzling out Ubik, Roberta X recommended a TV show called The Man in the High Castle. This is a Philip K. Dick book made into a TV Series. I intended to ignore it because TV pisses me off but Tam seconded the recommendation. You can’t ignore two such recommendations!

Holy shit! It wasn’t good it was goddamn awesome! The production quality was great. The acting was seamless. The plot was… Oh my God if I don’t get the plot figured out I’m gonna’ die! Don’t take my word for it, there are 6,400 reviews and the average is 4.8 out of 5 stars. In a perfect world any review below five would result in execution.

The Man in the High Castle is a Philip K. Dick book that I haven’t yet read. Those monsters at Amazon made one and only one episode and so now I’ve got to read the book immediately. I’m freaking out! Will the Nazis nuke San Fransisco? Will the Japanese invade Canon City, Colorado? Where the hell was Churchill and how did he get on the ilicit movie reel?

I recommend the following:

  1. Watch The Man in the High Castle. Do it now (it’s free on Amazon Prime).
  2. Comment on Amazon and tell them to get their ass in gear and film the rest of the series!
  3. Buy The Book and read it.

So there you have it. I’m already on step 3.

A.C.

P.S.#1: The links to Amazon are sponsored. If you use them I get a haypenny and six farthings or some shit. Feel free to click a link and buy any darned thing you want on Amazon. It won’t cost you a penny and commercialism didn’t bias my recommendations. I always recommend Philip K. Dick without reservation. Well there is one reservation, if weird turns you off, click on the link and buy something else because P. K. Dick will totally melt your head.

P.S.#2: I do not want any spoilers in the comments. I just bought the book and I don’t want some tool hosing it up. If you’ve got a spoiler comment, please clamp it until I give the go ahead.

P.S.#3: There is a pricey Blade Runner (30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition) on Blu-ray. If you think you need it go ahead and buy it from the link so I can be rolling in that sweet sweet Amazon kickback dough. Think about it first. A book written in 1968 was turned into a movie in 1982 and it’s supposedly an even more super extra awesome experience because it’s on a form of media invented in 2006? Really? If you think this makes sense then Philip K. Dick is perfect for you.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.

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0 Responses to Man In The High Castle / Why You Should Read Philip K. Dick

  1. wibble@gmail.com says:

    I can thoroughly recommend The Man in the High Castle. I will have to see the tv series, I hope they haven’t screwed it up too much! It is a brilliant book but like with all his work you have to be on your mental toes to follow the plot in its entirety.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yup, the Amazon Primo-sphere has been going gahgah over TMitHC. Thanks for the review, AC; now that I’ve read a review from someone I can kinda sorta trust, I’ll watch it.

    PKD and Roger Zelazny co-authored Deus Irae. It was… different. I heartily recommend it only for super hard-core fans. I forced myself to finish it and was glad it was over. Sigh.

  3. Weisshaupt says:

    They semi-recently did A Scanner Darkly as a film, and did a decent job of it too. SO check that out if you haven’t already.

  4. aczarnowski says:

    Agree about Amazon’s TMitHC pilot. I also think A Scanner Darkly, the film, nailed it. The actors were all on vibe and the illustration over drawn style was weirdly right.

  5. Spoilerman says:

    Winston Churchill turns out to be Luke’s real father who then kills Spock to save the Earth.

  6. Thanks, A. C. I’ve been reading science fiction since the 60s. Got to meet Asimov and Harlan Ellison when they spoke at my college in the early 70s. Recently plunged back into Ursula K. LeGuin. Wish they’d make a movie series from Zelazny’s Amber books. And still, I don’t think I have ever read anything by Philip K. DIck. Always meant to. Never got around to it. So, thanks for the push. Went on Amazon and downloaded one to my Kindle. (I know what you mean about “he’s dead and there won’t be any more.” Same problem with Ellison. Not with Asimov, though. Dude wrote over 500 books. Not all science fiction by any stretch, but all good and worth reading IMO. OK, I’ve only read 100 or so.)

  7. LabRat says:

    I read Man In The High Castle on a backpacking trip on the Mogollon Rim when I was 17, a few months after I graduated high school. A coyote came up to me while I was mid-read at the campsite and barked at me, affronted. Probably more affronted I’d taken over his spring than by the literature.

    I can’t tell if this is the best possible circumstance in which to read Phillip K. Dick or one of the worst.

    To my mind Phillip K. Dick in a nutshell is the fact that he refused steadfastly to explain Android’s Dream or Blade Runner till the day he died. And apparently he also refused to explain it to Ridley Scott. Yeah.

    Not quite in a nutshell, is the story of what happened to the android head of Phillip K. Dick after his death. http://archive.wired.com/wired/archive/14.04/posts.html?pg=2

  8. Pingback: I’ve Been Philip K. Dicked Over! | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

  9. Robert says:

    Just watched TMitHC. WOW!
    Dr BA: AFAIK, Ellison ain’t dead yet.

  10. Pingback: The Man In The High Castle Is Here! / Amazon Is Using Me As A Lab Rat | Adaptive Curmudgeon

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