I can’t remember when I bought the sixth printing of the 1974 Berkley Medallion edition of Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle for a long time — it was a long time ago — but I do remember being both happy to have the novel to read and unhappy with the cover. Specifically, I’ve always been irritated by the wide red banner that the folks at Berkley Books rudely slapped across the face of Richard Powers’ lovely cover art in order to have a spot to brag about their decision to re-print a much-admired novel and to inform/remind readers that Philip K. Dick’s book had won the Hugo Award for “the best S-F novel of the year” — in 1963! But I am irritated about that no longer, because today I found a copy of the novel with the same cover but without the red banner — Berkley Science Fiction, 1982, tenth printing — in lovely condition, and it only cost me ninety-nine cents and tax to add to my collection.
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
Do you see now what was obscured by the red banner? Ironically, it is none other than a little silhouette of “the man” standing ramrod-straight in a void (or hole, or window, or empty eye socket) in Powers’ oddly sculptural, strangely forbidding “high castle.”