Man in the High Castle

It‘s 1962. The Nazis and the Japanese have won World War Two. They are running the US as a totalitarian state. Judaism is banned; slavery is back; the threat of nuclear war looms. Philip K. Dick's dystopian novel gives us a chilling alternative version of American history, in which the very nature of human freedom comes under the microscope.


The novel is set in a society where personal liberties are limited. More generally, it questions whether we are all prisoners of inevitable historical forces. Why is freedom so important to us anyway?


By speculating on what might have happened if history had taken a different course, Dick asks us to think about the role of past events in creating the world of today. What can we learn by studying them?

World War Two

The novel is haunted by the ghosts of World War Two – and indeed, seven decades after its end, we are still fascinated by the planet’s greatest ever conflict. Why can’t we stop talking about it?


After the devastating racial policies of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, you would think humans had learned from past mistakes. So why does racism endure around the world?


Dick was a master of science fiction. The Man in the High Castle is set in an alternative present, rather than an imagined future, but its use of a parallel world as a way to examine our own society is pure sci-fi.