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

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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.

Affiliations: 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


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