The Novel

The Man in the High Castle is an alternate history novel by Philipp K. Dick. It is set in the year 1962 in a world in which the axis powers have won World War II. The early assassination of U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt is the cause for the defeat of the allies in 1947. Japan invades the western coast of the USA which becomes the "Pacific States of America". Nazi Germany occupies the east. Inbetween the "Rocky Mountain States" are forming a buffer zone. In this world several characters of the novel try to lead their lives and are confronted with the troubles caused by totalitarian rule.

The publication of a book leads to much agitation and unrest. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by Hawthorne Abendsen, who is nicknamed "the man in the high castle", discribes a world in which the allies have won the war. It is however in many respects not our world. When this book starts to circulate in the Rocky Mountain States, the Nazis regard it as a threat to their rule.

Juliana Crane is a judo instructor who has moved from San Francisco to Canon City, Colorado in the RMS. There she gets to know the truck driver and ex-soldier Joe Cinnadella. After they have started a relationship Joe persuades her to visit Hawthorne Abendsen together in his alleged "castle" in Cheyenne, Wyoming. On their way Juliana finds out about Joe's true motivation for this trip.

By dipicting the eerie and nightmarish world of his setting, Philipp K. Dick once again explores his favorite topic - the nature of reality. Some characters in this novel, including Juliana and Abendsen, start to believe that the world they live in is not the "real" one.