The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Allow to begin by saying I love Philip K. Dick as an author. He is responsible for some really thought-provoking works of literary art. He is the author of some true sci-fi classics such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and even some of his lesser known short stories are wonderful. Now before you attack me for only pointing out his famous works, I have read a number of his lesser known stories…
Dick, however, is also a very prolific writer. He seems to have a pretty good number of both AMAZINGLY OUT OF THIS WORLD creations and so-so stories. For me, The Man in the High Castle is one of his more mediocre works.
I first took up The Man in the High Castle because of the upcoming Amazon series based on the work. I loved the pilot, as did many other people across the internet world.
The book does offer the typical otherworldlyness of Dick’s novels. And, he plays on his themes about the nature of reality. In some ways, his themes are more accessible because he grapples with the idea using the backdrop of post-WWII America. Although the Axis Powers have won the war, Dick is not transporting readers to another planet or even to thousands of years in the future. Perhaps that is what falls short for me. I never felt truly captive to the alternate universes Dick creates in many of his stories.
I still love Philip K. Dick and his a Grand-Daddy in Sci-Fi literature. But for me, the book was not on par with some of his other great works.
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Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore
I went through a phase where I was a big Christopher Moore fan. He certainly has a certain reverent style that lends itself to guilty humor. At this point, I lost track of how many of his books I’ve read. Although, I haven’t read one in years.
I briefly flirted with reading his Merchant of Venice to be right but couldn’t finish it.
But when it came to Second Handsouls, I decided to give it the old college try. I very much enjoyed the first Grim Reaper book which Christopher Moore wrote almost 10 years ago. That was my first experience with Mr. Moore’s writing style and I did quite enjoy it.
Second Handsouls is a sequel that picks up where the previous Grim Reaper book left off. Much like the first book this one is full of silly one liners and ironic comments on the state of modern American affairs. There’s nothing overly political and most of it makes fun of cultural norms.
All and all it’s a typical Christopher Moore book and if you like the style you like the book. I’m not sure if it’s just that I’m getting older but I didn’t enjoy this novel quite as much as I enjoyed some of the previous ones. Perhaps my taste or raunchy humor is ebbing with my years.
I did sincerely enjoyed the cameo stories Mr. Moore crafted of the trapped souls’ lives. I wish the book had more of them. From the baseball player to the vet all the stories were interesting and entertaining. I’d love to see a collection of life stories from the trapped souls.
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