"On some other world, possibly it is different. Better. There are clear good and evil alternatives. Not these obscure admixtures, these blends, with no proper tool by which to untangle the components. We do not have the ideal world, such as we would like, where morality is easy because cognition is easy. Where one can do right with no effort because he can detect the obvious."The Man in the High Castle, published in 1962, is not only one of the defining works of Philip K. Dick's career, but also one of the seminal Alternate History novels. The novel, which won the Hugo Award, goes through the looking glass into a then-contemporary United States which, after the assassination of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, stayed out of World War II, thus allowing the Nazis and Imperial Japan to steamroll the globe and carve up continental America. By the time the novel begins, the Empire of Japan, occupying the west coast, and Nazi Germany, which has made a racist puppet state out of the east, have fallen into a Cold War, paralleling the real one between the United States and the USSR.As is standard for Dick's stories, there are no true heroes, just an ensemble of ordinary schlubs trying to make a living for themselves: Frank Frink, a metalworker who makes fake American kitsch popular with the Japanese; Robert Childan, a prominent seller of the aforementioned Americana; Mr. Tagomi, a ranking Japanese official and regular customer of Childan's; Juliana Frink, Frank's ex-wife in the Rocky Mountain States (a neutral buffer-zone between east and west) who becomes engrossed in a mysterious book depicting an alternate universe where the Axis forces lost; and Mr. Baynes, allegedly a Swiss businessman, who is coming to meet Mr. Tagomi with a dire warning.But you come for the fascist dystopia, and you end up staying for the Taoism. This book was one of Dick's first to explore eastern mysticism, and marked a turning point away from his earlier, mostly secular anti-fascist novels. In this alternate world the I-Ching is as common as the phone book, and most of the characters rely on sampling the winds of destiny to determine their every move. And to the reader's omnipotent eye, the more they cross paths, searching for something truthful in a world of fake kitsch and fake identities, the more the connections between them and their actions becomes apparent.
— Captain Rudolf Wegener, on how the Grass Is Greener
This book provides examples of: