Narrative, Temporality, and
Historicity in Philip K. Dick's
The Man in the High Castle
Work the sentences, if you wish, so that they will mean something….
Or so that they mean nothing. Whichever you prefer.
—Mr. Tagomi, High Castle
Chapters 2 and 3 rely on events-based cause-and-effect nexus points. Ward Moore's Bring the Jubilee (1955), the focus of chapter 2, has as a nexus point the Confederates' winning the Civil War, an outcome that occurred from a single but significant chance encounter. Chapter 3 focuses on simultaneous, parallel alternate worlds as articulated in H. Beam Piper's Paratime works and Frederik Pohl's The Coming of the Quantum Cats (1986). These texts focus on the infinite number of causes that literally bring about every possible outcome. Both of these chapters are based on the premise that events bring about effects, which is why I say they are both concerned with the genetic theory of history, which is concerned with the origin of something.
This chapter also uses the genetic model of history as its base. However, instead of actions—either significant, as in Jubilee, or insignificant, as in Quantum Cats— Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle (1962) relies not on events but on the individual construction of reality. Dick sees the world as a reflection of the mind, not as something that results from historical forces.