Tag: Alternate Reality

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Posted July 28, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction, Magical Realism / 0 Comments

1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiTitle: 1Q84 (Goodreads)
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translator: Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel
Narrator: Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett
Published: Knopf Doubleday, 2011
Pages: 925
Genres: Literary Fiction, Magical Realism
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

This book is a bit too excessive; like most other people I think it could have had at least 300 pages removed without affecting the story. At times it gets really repetitive; like the author has thought the reader has already forgetting information about Aomame or Tengo. 1Q84 is the story of two people who meet and fall in love in school and then, many years later spend the entirety of the book trying to find each other again. As the story obviously isn’t as simple as that; it is fair to say it is very weird and probably what you expect from Haruki Murakami. I’ve not read anything else from him and I don’t pretend to understand the genre Magical Realism but this book was indeed somewhat enjoyable to read.

I mentioned that this book was everything you’d expect from Murakami and that I’ve never read anything by him before. But I do know of his works and I’ve seen the movie adaptation of Norwegian Wood so I had a decent idea of what I was getting into. But I didn’t except what I got. As the story unfolds and you get a better understanding of Aomame and Tengo, you can’t help but love these two characters with all their flaws, quirks and of course their personalities.

While this book was way too long, I am very glad to have read this book and to dive into the parallel world of 1Q84. I do feel more of a book snob for reading this and I think I will have to read some more from this weird author. For people looking for a great but odd story about two people and have a lot of time to spare, then I would suggest this is the book for you.


The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick

Posted August 11, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Classic, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickTitle: The Man in the High Castle (Goodreads)
Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: Vintage, 1962
Pages: 259
Genres: Classic, Science Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: Amazon (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

For those who haven’t read this month’s Book club book, the alternate reality classic The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick, I will try not to give away too much of the story. Most of you are aware of the basic plot outline, but I will just give you a quick overview before talking about the interesting concepts I found within the book. Set in 1962, 14 years after a longer World War II, life is under totalitarian Fascist imperialism as the war was won by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Having divided the world the Axis Powers are now conducting intrigues against each other in North America.

Alternate Reality

With Japan and Germany being in power, the world is a much different place; more of a dystopian society, where everyone is considered racially superior to the Americans. The last remaining Jews are in hiding and continually being hunted down. The book actually deals with justice and injustice; gender and power; the shame of cultural inferiority and identity; and the effects of fascism and racism upon culture.

Metafiction

The Man in the High Castle focuses the story around a popular and banned novel written by Hawthorne Abendsen (The Man in the High Castle). The book entitled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy portrays an alternate reality where  Japan and Germany lost the war and America and England become the victors. Changing racialist-cultural tensions and creating a liberal, democratic, capitalist society.

I Ching

In this novel the I Ching (Book of Changes) is often consulted by the characters as an oracle. I Ching is an ancient Chinese book of divination and was used by Philip K Dick to determine the plot particulars. In two separate interviews Philip K Dick has said;

“I started with nothing but the name, Mister Tagomi, written on a scrap of paper, no other notes. I had been reading a lot of Oriental philosophy, reading a lot of Zen Buddhism, reading the I Ching. That was the Marin County zeitgeist, at that point; Zen Buddhism and the I Ching. I just started right out and kept on trucking.”

“In the event, he blamed the I Ching for plot incidents he disliked: “When it came to close down the novel, the I Ching had no more to say. So, there’s no real ending on it. I like to regard it as an open ending.”

Philip K Dick’s classic science fiction novel has a lot of interesting aspects to it. I think it could easily be one of those books you could spend hours discussing all the little characteristics to it. Another book that challenges your views on society by showing what life could be like if the war turned out differently. Reflected above were just the major aspects to this book.