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->''"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."''
-->-- '''Captain Rudolf Wegener''', on how the GrassIsGreener

'''''The Man in the High Castle''''', published in 1962, is not only one of the defining works of Creator/PhilipKDick's career, but also one of the seminal AlternateHistory novels. The novel, which won the Hugo Award, goes through the looking glass into a then-contemporary United States. After [[ForWantOfANail the assassination]] of UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt in 1933, the USA did not embargo ImperialJapan over her occupation of China and so stayed out of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo. Free China fell and, invaded in two theatres, the USSR was eventually defeated. With all of Eurasia's resources at their disposal Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan went on to defeat The Commonwealth and, many years down the track, occupy The Americas. By the time the novel begins ImperialJapan has occupied the west coast of the USA, Nazi Germany has made a puppet state out of the east, and both superpowers have fallen into a UsefulNotes/ColdWar paralleling the {{RealLife}} one between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

As is standard for Dick's stories there are no true heroes, just an ensemble of [[NormalPeople 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 [[ShowWithinAShow a mysterious book depicting an alternate universe where the Axis forces lost]]; and Mr. Baynes, allegedly a Swedish 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 UsefulNotes/{{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 [[YouALLShareMyStory the connections between them and their actions]] becomes apparent.

A pilot episode for a [[Series/TheManInTheHighCastle live-action adaptation]] of the novel was released for Amazon Prime's new season of pilots. After it aired, Amazon ordered an entire series. Please put tropes associated with the series on [[Series/TheManInTheHighCastle that page]].

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!!This book provides examples of:

* ALighterShadeOfBlack: Imperial Japan keeps its old ways, but their distant colonial rule is at least fairly negligent and it's nothing compared to what the Nazis are doing in their empire.
* AlternateHistory: Both the book itself and the book-within-a-book ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy''. This eventually verges into AlternateUniverse.
* AlternateUniverse: Aside from the book itself ''and'' the fictional book inside the book, near the end Tagomi [[spoiler: concentrates on a piece of folk art so hard he literally dislodges himself from time and space. In a haze, he wanders into another universe where the whites treat him as a minor inconvenience and the Embarcadero Freeway has been built, heavily implying it's our own]]. The implication seems to be that the events of the novel take place in one of the awfuller worlds of TheMultiverse.
* AlternateHistoryWank:
** By modern AH standards, the Nazis and Japanese conquering the USA by 1947 is rather unrealistic (even Hitler himself, in his long-term plans, thought conquering the USA would not be possible for the Germans until TheEighties). This is because Dick did not have access to much of the data about WW2 that has become common knowledge since then but was still classified in TheSixties when he wrote the novel.
** Interestingly, this trope is also used by the book-within-a-book ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy''. The aftermath of World War 2 in that story has Britain and America splitting the world instead, with the USSR being a nonentity. And the British empire, thanks to the authoritarian leadership of Churchill, would eventually beat the Americans. It could be that Dick realized the certain futility of what he was doing with the book itself, and so lampshaded it by introducing the book-within-a-book. It's also played for a certain amount of irony as well; notice how, aside from the Allies winning the war, almost the exact opposite of what Amendsen proposes as happening in ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy'' happened in the actual world. It was the Soviet Union, not Britain, that became America's post-war Cold War opponent. Far from ruling Britain like a warlord, Churchill was kicked out of office barely two months after Germany's defeat. Far from the British Empire getting stronger and stronger, his replacements began the process of dismantling it. And so on.
* AmericaWonWorldWarII: Inverted and Played Straight at the same time. Obviously, America ''doesn't'' win the war in this timeline, but the timeline's main point of divergence is Franklin Roosevelt's assassination, which meant that America stayed isolationist and didn't get involved in UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, implying that the Allies never could have won the war without America's help.[[note]] Which is certainly true for Chiang Kai-Shek's Nationalist/Free China, which was completely dependent on American loans to survive after Soviet aid was withdrawn in 1941. US manpower also made an invasion of continental Europe by the British Commonwealth without too much use of non-white manpower or a WWI-style expenditure of blood possible. Finally, US lend-lease saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Soviet lives through various means - not least through the provision of food, which suffered after the Germans captured (and later razed when retreating) a third of the Soviet Union's farmland, the provision of combat vehicles in 1941-2 (when the obsolte tanks and fighters provided to the Soviets were literally better than nothing) and the provision of raw resources in 1944 (before liberated Soviet mines had been repaired). While defeat of the Soviet Union was far from guaranteed even if Japan joined the war against them, it was actually possible without American aid [[/note]]
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: Dick was lambasted by his Japanese translator for confusing "inferior" Chinese culture (Taoism, Confusianism, the I-Ching) with Japanese culture.
* AuthorAppeal:
** Philip K. Dick likes Japanese culture. A lot. He also appears to know a lot about metalworking, or at least [[ShownTheirWork did a lot of research into it.]]
** Subverted with the research he did into UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo and Nazi Germany, which -- not entirely surprisingly -- he found profoundly depressing and soul-draining. To the point where he decided not to write a sequel he'd been toying with purely because he couldn't bring himself to go back to that particular quagmire.
* BittersweetEnding: While the protagonists do prevail, the resolutions of their plots aren't necessarily ''happy'' or certain.
** Tagomi [[spoiler:successfully passes on the information about the Nazi plans for a nuclear strike and saves Frank from execution. However, he suffers a heart attack and it is left uncertain whether he survives or not.]]
** Baynes [[spoiler:succeeds in warning the Japanese about the Nazi plans for a nuclear strike, but returns to Germany uncertain of whether Heydrich's antiwar faction will prevail or not.]]
** Frank [[spoiler:is saved from execution by Tagomi and returns to work making jewelry. However, he's still living under a totalitarian government.]]
** Julianna [[spoiler:finally meets Abendsen, the Man in the High Castle himself. She then consults the ''I Ching'' about the true purpose of the ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy'' and only receives the cryptic answer that it conveys an "Inner Truth". Still unsure of what to do, Julianna wanders off into the night.]]
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Life under Japanese occupation is pretty bad. Life under German occupation is hell on earth.
* BoomerangBigot: Robert Childan, a white man with inferior social status who is racist towards the Japanese. While at the same time constantly emulating them, ingratiating himself with them, and even, according to the Foreword to some editions of the book, ''thinking like them''.
* ChekhovsGun: The "authentic" Colt replica.
* CrapsackWorld: An extremely hellish and oppressive one. Not just for the actual characters, but also applies for the book-within-a-book ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy'' -- an incredibly racist United Kingdom ends up winning the Cold War and conquering the world. Of course, compared to the one they live in, the characters view the one in the novel as paradise. Similarly, the divide between Nazi-occupied territories and Japanese-occupied territories reflect this divide; while the Japanese are certainly not nice to their subjects, they are on the whole far more humane, rational and sane than the Nazis are, who practically become {{Omnicidal Maniac}}s in their endless war to attain racial purity.
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: With all the characters, but especially Robert Childan. Deliberate, as they live in a world where the Nazis / Imperial Japanese won World War II and divided up the entire world between them, which would no doubt result in a drastic shifting in the dominant attitudes and cultural mores. This is done particularly cleverly with how ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy'', an AH-within-AH in which the Allies win WW2, is different from our own history. It's informed by the sensibilities of the author Abendsen, influenced by the Nazi-dominated world in which he lives, so it assumes that after the defeat of Germany the Cold War will be between the USA and the British Empire, as those subhuman Slavs in the USSR will never amount to anything. And in the end Britain wins the Cold War, because it is more racially pure than the USA and therefore superior.
* DatedHistory: Dick was in an inferior position compared to modern AlternateHistory authors because many important factors in World War II, such as the breaking of the Enigma code, had not yet been declassified. The Axis victory as shown in the novel is totally implausible even if America stayed out of the war. An intercontinental invasion of the United States requires so many different factors to favor the Axis that it might as well be physically impossible.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: With the Nazis occupying the east, the Japanese occupying the west and a buffer zone in between.
* EnemyMine: The SS, who are opposed to Goebbels becoming chancellor and [[spoiler: nuking Japan and stage a coup against him.]]
* FluffyTheTerrible: The secret German operation to [[spoiler:destroy Japan with nuclear weapons]] is codenamed "Operation Dandelion". This is a reference to the planned Nazi operation in RealLife to invade the British Isles, which was Operation Sealion.
* ForeignCultureFetish: The Japanese occupiers take a patronizing interest in American kitsch, as part of the book's inversion of 20th-century colonialism.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler: The way the U.S.A was divided between Germany and Japan (each invading country receiving one side, with a neutral area in the middle ruled by German security forces) is reminiscent of the way Poland was divided between Germany and Russia before Germany decided to betray them. This, combined with the name of Germany's plan (see ThemeNaming below) serves as a massive hint to what the Nazi's true plans are.]]
* FourLinesAllWaiting: The book is mostly composed of separate simultaneous subplots, with occasional crossover.
* GainaxEnding: Par for the course with Philip K. Dick.
* GrassIsGreener: Captain Wegener, caught in a power struggle among the Nazi leadership, [[DeliberateValuesDissonance laments the lack of a clear-cut]] WhiteAndBlackMorality and longs for a world where good and evil are easy to recognize.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Reinhard Heydrich, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann. [[TheGhost None of the Nazi leaders appear in person (apart from a phone conversation with Goebbels), but they're constantly a looming presence]].
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: ImperialJapan. It's still an oppressive dystopia, but definitely not as bad as Nazi Germany; the Japanese characters (Mr Tagomi, the Kasoura couple, General Tedeki) are also treated much more sympathetically than the German characters. Much of Imperial Japan's racism against non-Japanese is downplayed well below historical levels as well. However, it's possible that this is mainly a local thing. After twenty years of living in their newly conquered territories, it is quite likely that the Japanese living in America would have picked up aspects of their new location and wards, as the British did in India.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: UsefulNotes/NaziGermany, with their victory in the war, are able to achieve new levels of evil they were never able to reach in history -- including the genocide of '''the African continent's entire population''' and using the corpses as HumanResources.
* HumanResources: Most of the African population is used for this. There's descriptions of African tribes being turned into "thousands of chemical heaps". And a disquieting reference to (from memory) lighters made from human bone.
* InscrutableOriental: A few of the Japanese characters, especially Mr. Tagomi, are described this way by white characters. Scenes written from the point of view of Japanese characters, particularly Mr. Tagomi, are written in a fragmented yet hyper-theoretical and erudite language, making the train of thought seem both unnatural and rather difficult to follow. Anything written from a German or American point of view (except the Japan-ified Childan) is written in straight prose.
* InvadedStatesOfAmerica: What has become of the United States. Only a nominally neutral buffer state in the Rocky Mountains remains, which exists only on the sufferance of Germany and Japan.
* JapanTakesOverTheWorld: Not set in the future, but in an alternate 1960s in which Japan has defeated USA.
* LesCollaborateurs: Robert Childan. He is intimidated by and subservient to the Japanese ruling class, while privately hating them and being contemptuous of them.
* LesserOfTwoEvils: At least some factions of the Nazi Party are depicted as more reasonable than the leadership, and oppose its genocidal plans [[spoiler:such as wiping out the Japanese.]] And that reasonable faction is Heydrich and the SS, who already are genocidal maniacs in their own right. Faced with the SadisticChoice of either supporting the SS rise to power or watching [[spoiler:his homeland be exterminated]], Mr. Tagomi has a bit of a HeroicBSOD moment.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The story does not really have a main protagonist, but rather an EnsembleCast of sorts.
* MindScrew: Well... it's a Philip K. Dick novel. Philip K. Dick liked {{Mind Screw}}iness and playing games with the nature of reality. So yeah.
** The ending where Juliana walks away from Abendsen's house, which seems to take place in "our" universe.
** The novel suggests that the characters are living in an illusion they can't break out from. However, it also suggests that the "real" world that the characters can't see is the world of ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy'' -- which would mean that the world the ''reader'' is living in is ''also'' an illusion the reader can't break out from...
* ScavengerWorld: Russia has been reduced to this by the Nazis. There are descriptions of the Slavs being rolled back to the Stone Age, now riding yaks and hunting with bow and arrow.
* SanitySlippage: Juliana has a severe psychotic breakdown once she learns that [[spoiler: Joe is actually a Nazi assassin sent to kill Abendson.]], culminating in her [[spoiler: inadvertently slitting his throat with a razor and leaving him to die.]]
* ShowWithinAShow: ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy''.
* StupidJetpackHitler: The Lufthansa rocket ships, which have mostly replaced airliners. Before those rockets, the Germans had already developed jet planes and nuclear bombs, and they're already far into space.
* {{Terraform}}: The Nazis have drained much of the Mediterranean Sea and turned it into arable farmland. There's also mention of them launching space exploration and establishing colonies on Mars and Venus (but bear in mind that in 1962, when the book was written, it was not yet known that those planets were as inhospitable as they are).
* ThemeNaming: "Operation Dandelion", which is [[spoiler:a nuclear attack on Japan]], evokes the name of "Operation Sealion", the planned Nazi invasion of Britain which really happened in this history. [[FridgeBrilliance In real life, the Nazis were notorious for using overly obvious code names]].
* ThoseWackyNazis: Not many of them appear in the story, but they're always lurking in the background.
* TitleDrop: The High Castle was the fortified home of Hawthorne Abendsen, the author of the book within a book ''The Grasshopper Lies Heavy''
* UnbuiltTrope:
** Most Nazi victory AlternateHistory scenarios assume UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler would always be the revered founding father of the Third Reich. ''The Man in the High Castle'', on the other hand, deconstructs it--in 1962, aged 73, Hitler is still alive, but in a lunatic asylum, as even the Nazis have realised he's insane and rotten inside. This is part of the crapsackiness of the scenario--the entire modern world is built upon Hitler's dream, and no-one wants to admit that it was a mad nightmare.
** Although this was one of the first modern AlternateHistory stories, the actual alternate history aspects are often sidelined in favor of the author's exploration of UsefulNotes/{{Taoism}} and the nature of artifice, and it eschews directly portraying the high ranking Axis leadership and their political intrigue in favor of man on the street-style vignettes.
* UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust: Completed. American 'Useless Mouths' (the disabled and elderly) are also disposed of.
* UpTheRealRabbitHole: [[spoiler:Tagomi becomes unglued from his reality and travels into what appears to be ours for awhile before drifting back into the setting of the book. Additionally, Abendsen and Juliana find out from the ''I Ching'' in the final scene of the book that ''The Grasshopper'' is actually true and Germany and Japan really lost the war.]]
* UpToEleven: The setting is arguably based on the OTL 1960s turned UpToEleven - space travel, megaprojects, supersonic passenger liners etc - but given a dark alternate-universe twist.
* WhamLine:
** "The basic purpose of Operation Dandelion [[spoiler: is an enormous nuclear attack on the Home Islands, without advance warning of any kind]]."
** And also:
--> "Juliana said, '[[spoiler:'The Oracle wrote your book, didn't it?]]'"[[spoiler: Which is a double wham, as PKD himself consulted The I Ching at major decision points in the novel.]]
* AWolfInSheepsClothing: Joe Cinnadella claims to be an Italian truck driver, but is actually [[spoiler:a Swiss agent intending to kill Hawthorne Abendsen.]]
* YouALLShareMyStory: All the characters are connected on a surface level, crossing paths with one another, but they're also connected in surprising ways that hint at a greater design to the events of the story. [[spoiler: Frank Frink, for instance, designs a piece of folk jewelry. Through Robert Childan, it ends up in Tagomi's hands. He studies it and has a spiritual awakening, which results in him rudely defying the German consul's request for extradition and execution of a Jewish prisoner, who unbeknownst to Tagomi is the man who created the folk jewelry: Frank Frink himself.]]
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