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Old May 26th, 2018, 09:56 AM   #1
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The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle, written by Phillip K Dick, is one of several books making quite a comeback. The premise of the book is an alternative history where the Nazis and Japanese actually WIN WWII. The world is divided in half with buffer zones in between. The book was written in 1962 and represents Dick's vision for resisting Fascism in America. A television series is now in it's second season (?) on Amazon Prime.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is another dystopian tale that's back on the best-seller list and another television series streaming its way on Hulu.

George Orwell's 1984 is back. Even outside the U.S. 1984 has become popular.

Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here,” about the rise of a demagogue is in it's third printing for the first time since 1935.

Merriam-Webster has reported that searches for the word "FACT" has spiked...which brings me to my questions:

1) Do we have readers here on DTT?
2) Have you read the above?
3) Why do you think these books have made a comeback?
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Old May 26th, 2018, 10:12 AM   #2
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I read a lot ... and you can read my book reviews on Goodreads! LOL

I've read all those, of course ... the latter two were required (thank goodness) in high school, and the first was such a huge controversial novel when it first came out I had to grab it as soon as it was published.

I'm sure The Handmaid's Tale and 1984 are making a comeback because they are cautionary tales which have eerily similar parallels in today's regime. Certainly they are both science fiction - but, they also have tonalities of prescience which are alarming.

I don't know why Lewis' book has made a comeback - I didn't know it had. Frankly, I find it (like most Lewis' books) wordy and tedious to get through. Again, the cautionary aspect is there to easily - too easily, in fact - grasp. But, I think there are far better and more intriguing reads which do the same thing.

How sad that our society has to do searches for the definition of the word 'fact.' And we know who are doing those searches...Dear Leader's Cult Member Trumpeteers who are trying to find some technicality in the word 'fact' which will allow them to endorse and advocate proudly his use of "alternative facts" and be able to use other words than "blatant lies."
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Old May 26th, 2018, 10:34 AM   #3
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Double plus ungood

We read 1984 for book club - an excellent book. But of course, everyone wants to claim Orwell for their side, except that Orwell actually fought for & nearly died for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. He didn't suffer fools gladly, & he called out the Soviet forces when they tried to take over the Spanish Republican field forces by intimidation, assassination & selective support in terms of arms & supplies.

The interest in 1984 is that we can see the beginnings of an organized effort to tame history, news, literature in WADC - the kind of collective dumbing down that Orwell saw in Newspeak. Such an effort is doomed, of course. Any side that abandons human values, science/technology & truth-seeking in general richly deserves whatever miserable fate lies in wait for them.

I'm aware of the other three, I've bounced off of The handmaid's tale @ least once. The other two I haven't tried - must be time to mount up & see what's in there, & the handmaid as well, while we're @ it.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 12:10 PM   #4
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I love Philip K. Dick, one of my favorite authors, I loved the book and the TV show.
Even though the TV show diverges from the book, it contains the most memorable scenes.
Just a note about Dick, he sold most of his work for short money, he did one movie deal,for which he got a check for $30,000 (what became Blade Runner). He died 6 months later. His daughter has done over $100 million in movie deals with his estate.


We just read the Handmaid's Tale in book club, quite a discussion on that one.

1984 has one of the best first lines of any novel ever. Right up there with "Call me Ishmael".
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Old May 26th, 2018, 01:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goober View Post
I love Philip K. Dick, one of my favorite authors, I loved the book and the TV show.
Even though the TV show diverges from the book, it contains the most memorable scenes.
Just a note about Dick, he sold most of his work for short money, he did one movie deal,for which he got a check for $30,000 (what became Blade Runner). He died 6 months later. His daughter has done over $100 million in movie deals with his estate.


We just read the Handmaid's Tale in book club, quite a discussion on that one.

1984 has one of the best first lines of any novel ever. Right up there with "Call me Ishmael".


I am struggling with High Castle. Maybe it's because I don't want to like it??
Just the idea of the Japanese and the Nazis running this country?? It's a sickening premise.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 03:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clara007 View Post
I am struggling with High Castle. Maybe it's because I don't want to like it??
Just the idea of the Japanese and the Nazis running this country?? It's a sickening premise.
It's a great story, the idea that history can diverge and both threads happen.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 03:45 AM   #7
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The trouble with dystopias is that the real world is scuttling to catch up!
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Old June 19th, 2018, 06:42 AM   #8
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Aside from the story, just my thoughts

I caught the PKD bug 20 years ago. I read maybe a dozen of his books and parts of 'THE READER'. The terms PKD uses in his book are in his imagination totally made-up and not for the average sci-fi fan. I did read MITHC. I can't remember much about it.

I admit they were fun to read. I like that PKD books are less than 200 pages. If you can't prove your point after that I've lost interest.

Though I think PKD was and still is used by the illuminati. Just as Stephen King for many years was used for pushing horror stories on the masses.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 03:37 PM   #9
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Pathetic admission: my family was so poor when I was a kid that I only went to maybe 1 movie a year, and that was when I was staying at my adult sister's house (her treat was to take me to a movie every summer). So I READ "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" because I didn't get to see "Bladerunner". The same for many movies over the years: Star Wars (didn't actually see it until I was 19 though it came out when I was 11 or 12), but I read the book. LOL. Alien, too.

I've not read the "Handmaid's Tale", but I hear it's a thought provoking TV show. The Man in the High Castle is pretty decent. I've seen season 1. It's pretty weird, but PKD was a pretty weird guy.

1984 is the most relevant book ever written on authoritarianism. Orwell captured the utter despair and hopelessness of being trapped in such a society. Orwell despised the Nazis so I'm convinced the dystopia that Winston was living in was RW. However Orwell was a humanist and I'm convinced that he saw any authoritarian government, right or left, to be hideous. I also liked "Animal Farm", but it's a more childish tale warning of Communism. Still, the man was a superb writer.
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Old June 20th, 2018, 05:27 PM   #10
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In the interview, Dick roams over so many of his personal theories about what these “unexpected things” signify that it’s difficult to keep track. However, at that same conference, he delivered a talk titled “If You Find This World Bad, You Should See Some of the Others” (in edited form above), that settles on one particular theory—that the universe is a highly-advanced computer simulation. (The talk has circulated on the internet as “Did Philip K. Dick disclose the real Matrix in 1977?”).


The subject of this speech is a topic which has been discovered recently, and which may not exist all. I may be talking about something that does not exist. Therefore I’m free to say everything and nothing. I in my stories and novels sometimes write about counterfeit worlds. Semi-real worlds as well as deranged private worlds, inhabited often by just one person…. At no time did I have a theoretical or conscious explanation for my preoccupation with these pluriform pseudo-worlds, but now I think I understand. What I was sensing was the manifold of partially actualized realities lying tangent to what evidently is the most actualized one—the one that the majority of us, by consensus gentium, agree on.

Dick goes on to describe the visionary, mystical experiences he had in 1974 after dental surgery, which he chronicled in his extensive journal entries (published in abridged form as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick) and in works like VALIS and The Divine Invasion. As a result of his visions, Dick came to believe that “some of my fictional works were in a literal sense true,” citing in particular The Man in the High Castle and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, a 1974 novel about the U.S. as a police state—both novels written, he says, “based on fragmentary, residual memories of such a horrid slave state world.” He claims to remember not past lives but a “different, very different, present life.”

Finally, Dick makes his Matrix point, and makes it very clearly: “we are living in a computer-programmed reality, and the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, and some alteration in our reality occurs.” These alterations feel just like déjà vu, says Dick, a sensation that proves that "a variable has been changed" (by whom—note the passive voice—he does not say) and “an alternative world branched off.”

Dick, who had the capacity for a very oblique kind of humor, assures his audience several times that he is deadly serious. (The looks on many of their faces betray incredulity at the very least.) And yet, maybe Dick’s crazy hypothesis has been validated after all, and not simpy by the success of the PKD-esque The Matrix and ubiquity of Matrix analogies. For several years now, theoretical physicists and philosophers have entertained the theory that we do in fact live in a computer-generated simulation and, what’s more, that “we may even be able to detect it.”




Philip K. Dick Theorizes The Matrix in 1977, Declares That We Live in "A Computer-Programmed Reality? | Open Culture
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