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‘On some other world, possibly it is different. Better. There are clear good and evil alternatives’
In 1962 Philip K. Dick conjured a new vision of our world – a twisted simulacrum in which the Axis Powers have won the Second World War. America is now divided: the eastern United States is the puppet of a maniacal German Reich, while the western Pacific seaboard is governed by a militaristic, yet spiritual, Japanese dictatorship. Amongst the complexities of this new existence, a group of unremarkable people – an American- Jewish craftsman, a judo instructor, a Japanese diplomat – play out their everyday lives, each striving to uncover a remnant of goodness in the shadow of a gathering evil. As their narratives intersect, Dick poses larger metaphysical questions concerning the authentication of history, perception and the building blocks of destiny.
The Man in the High Castle is considered to be Dick’s greatest novel, and was awarded the Hugo Award in 1963. With it, he jettisoned the traditional trappings of science fiction that had defined much of his previous work. Gone were the spaceships, strange worlds and telepaths; what remained were the ideas that had begun to set him apart as a significant thinker of the age. As Ursula K. Le Guin discusses in her new introduction, the text’s innovation and skill took some of the first steps in dismantling the traditional barriers between science and mainstream fiction: it would become ‘the first big, lasting contribution science fiction made to American literature’.
This edition features the work of Shanghai-born Shan Jiang, lead illustrator at design company Shotopop. His graphic images, strongly influenced by Japanese manga and comic book art, channel the text’s melding of cultures.
'This is my first ever work for The Folio Society, of which I have been a fan for many years. When I opened the package and held the book, the print and the binding made me feel that it is very precious ... Although I am familiar with every stroke of the design and illustration, those are all on paper or on screen. It is more than exciting to hold the real book in my hand'
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928. At around the age of 12 Dick read his first science-fiction magazine, which led to a lifelong engagement with the genre. After a brief stint at the University of Berkeley in 1949, he worked in a record store, Art Music Company. He wrote full-time from 1951, when he sold his first short story, and went on to produce forty-four novels and five collections of short stories. Dick struggled to achieve mainstream success, his non-science-fiction novels being returned by his agent in 1963, but received enormous acclaim in the science-fiction world for his works exploring metaphysics, theology and politics. His best known novel, The Man in the High Castle, won the Hugo Award in 1963, while Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1975. Married five times, Dick died in 1982.
Ursula K. Le Guin was born in 1929 in Berkeley, and lives in Portland, Oregon. She has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many honours and awards including the Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Her best known work, A Wizard of Earthsea, was published in 1968; it is the first book of Earthsea, which includes The Tombs of Atuan (1971), The Farthest Shore (1972), Tehanu (1990), Tales from Earthsea (2001), and The Other Wind (2001). Her most recent publications are Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems, 1960–2010 (2012) and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Short Stories (2012).
Shan Jiang was born in Shanghai in 1979 and studied fine art at Shanghai University. He completed an MA at Edinburgh College of Art in 2004 and worked for the design studio LoveDust from 2005–12. He went on to become the third partner at design company Shotopop, in London, where he has worked for numerous highprofile clients. Shan’s work is strongly influenced by his home city of Shanghai; its skyscrapers and bungalows, contemporary concepts and traditional superstitions, communist ideology and flourishing subcultures. He has been inspired by Chinese Meticulous Art, Ukiyo-e, Bauhaus design, Durer, manga and anime. He lives and works in London.
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Review by anon on 1st Jun 2015
"This was my first time reading Philip K Dick and the Folio Society edition made it a rich, rewarding experience. The cover and slipcase are especially beautiful to the eye and touch. I admired the nov..." [read more]