Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Man in the High Castle

Four years ago I posted on this Blog a series of black and white illustrations for books by Philip K. Dick. I did them as frontispieces for a collector's item edition of PKD's books. Somehow, I neglected to post this one, which was done for Dick's "The Man in the High Castle." I probably didn't post it because of the disturbing references to Nazis and the little picture of Hitler at the top left.

"The Man in the High Castle" takes place in an alternative history where the Nazis and Japanese won World War II. San Francisco is dominated by the Japanese military. I did quite a lot of research for this illustration, such as the antique pistol that the Japanese collector wanted in the story, the elderly jewelry dealer, and the martial-arts woman at the top. The image of Hitler is a piece of clip art. Since Dick used the chance-based oracle "I Ching" as inspiration for the plot of the book, I looked up the hexagrams that he used and lined them up to the right. To the upper left are drawings of famous old houses on a hill in San Francisco. The book on the table is an alternate story in an alternate world, where the Americans and Allies won World War II. The whole image is arranged in a vertical rectangle with arched cut-off corners, imitating a Japanese print.

Original art is black ink on illustration board, 7" x 10", summer 1979.

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