Spacetime as a Multicursal Labyrinth in Literature with Application to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle

In: KronoScope
View More View Less
  • 1 University of the Sciences, 600 S. 43rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
  • 2 Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics University of the Sciences, 600 S. 43rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

Login via Institution

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€25.00$30.00

Abstract

We examine the narrative structure of The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. We place the novel in the context of the alternate history genre of speculative fiction. Noting its complex plot with multiple timelines, we apply the theoretical ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin and Umberto Eco and show how its chronotope, or relationship between space and time, resembles that of a multicursal labyrinth. We connect this analysis with ideas in quantum physics, particularly the Many Worlds Interpretation, and show how it explains the ambiguity of the novel’s ending, and the failure of the characters to reach their goals. In particular, the characters’ search for truth is thwarted by the existence of multiple truths in a maze of competing realities.

  • Bakhtin M. M. Holquist Michael Emerson Caryl & Holquist Michael The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays 1981 Austin University of Texas P

  • De Witt Bryce “Quantum Mechanics and Physical Reality.” Physics Today 1970 23 30 35

  • Dick Philip K. The Man in the High Castle 1992 [1962] New York Vintage

  • DiTommaso Lorenzo “Redemption in Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle Science Fiction Studies 1999 26 no. 1 91 119

  • Eco Umberto Postscript to The Name of the Rose 1984 New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

    • Export Citation
  • Einstein Albert Osers Ewald “Letter from to Vero and Bice Besso.” 21 Mar. 1955. In Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein 1997 New York Penguin

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eliade Mircea The Myth of the Eternal Return, or Cosmos and History 1954 Princeton Princeton University Press

  • Eliade Mircea Trask Willard R. The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion 1957 San Diego Harcourt Brace

  • Everett Hugh III “ ‘Relative State’ Formulation of Quantum Mechanics.” Reviews of Modern Physics 1957 29 no. 3 454 462

  • Freedman Carl Critical Theory and Science Fiction 2000 Hanover and London Wesleyan University Press

  • Gould Stephen Jay Time’s Arrow Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time 1987 Cambridge, MA and London Harvard University Press

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Halpern Paul “The Labyrinth Chronotope.” Society for Literature and Science Annual Meeting Oct. 1991 Montreal, Canada

  • Halpern Paul “Time as an Expanding Labyrinth of Information.” Kronoscope 2010 10 Nos. 1-2 64 76

  • Halpern Paul & Hurewitz Felicia “Eco’s Symbolic Cosmos: Trapped in the Labyrinth of Metaphor.” Ometeca 5-6 2002 323 323 334

  • Hammond John R. H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine: A Reference Guide 2004 Westport, CT and London Praeger

    • Export Citation
  • Hellekson Karen Bould Mark, Butler Andrew M., Roberts Adam & Vint Sherryl “Alternate History.” The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction 2011 London and New York Routledge

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hills Matt Bould Mark, Butler Andrew M., Roberts Adam & Vint Sherryl “Time, Possible Worlds, and Counterfacutuals.” The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction 2011 London and New York Routledge

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rieder John “The Metafictive World of The Man in the High Castle: Hermeneutics, Ethics, and Political Ideology.” Science Fiction Studies 1988 15 no. 2 214 225

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stableford Brian Barron Neil “Science Fiction Between the Wars: 1915-1939.” Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction 2004 5th ed. Westport, CT and London Libraries Unlimited 23 44

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 238 125 13
Full Text Views 149 11 1
PDF Downloads 22 13 2