Top positive review
Things are not always as they seem. Skim milk masquerades as cream.
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2016
As I progress through life, and accept that I'm not young any more, I also realize that the younger generations do not ingest books the way I do. If you look at the reviews for this book, especially at the 1 and 2 star ratings, you'll find a deplorable pattern. "It was too slow." No, you're not considering what you're reading. "The author is a racist." Definitely no, he's almost drawing a caricature of them to shine a great big spotlight on facism and bigotry in order to persuade the audience of just how evil these things are. "The ending was too abrupt." or "He obviously meant to write a sequel." No and no. After many thousands of words placed in thought provoking ways, the author challenges the audience to decide what the story means. And gives us license to pick the ending that we think fits the best.
This story was written in the 60s, and is set then as well. What if the Axis won World War II is the major premise behind the setting. The conflicts highlight the extreme to which Japanese and German cultures could have gone, and the possible effects of living in a land under the control of one, and strongly influenced by the other. Imagine the Japanese concept of place, mixing with facist bigotry, overlaid on oppressed Americans living in a totalitarian world. PKD thoroughly denounces facism, bigotry and xenophobia.
But the story is more than that. The plot is hidden from the reader as we see events from several points of view. And the narration ends with barely a paragraph of denouement. If you are not driven to contemplation about the meaning of life or the nature of reality by this work, you should read it again, slowly.