Sunday, February 22, 2015

Reviewing Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle

When I heard that Amazon was going to do a television pilot for Philip K. Dick’s 1962 Hugo-winner, The Man in the High Castle, I cringed for a moment.  Had not both BBC and SyFy both passed on the project?  Even though Ridley Scott was serving as executive producer, who was responsible for Blade Runner, the excellent 1982 adaptation of Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I was still concerned. 

I need not be.  The pilot for the series that has just been green-lit by Amazon for a full season, is faithful to both the plot and feel of the novel. It tells the story of a 1962 America occupied by the victorious Axis.  The Japanese Empire has the west coast under its thumb and Nazi Germany occupies the east coast to the Mississippi, with a neutral buffer state in between. 

Without dropping spoilers in your path, the pilot episode introduces the characters and sets up their relative story arcs. It also vividly paints what life under occupation is like, down to the little details.  Although it is an adaptation, it is a faithful one. It includes references to the I Ching, which takes a prominent role in the novel (Dick consulted the I Ching in writing the book) and plays upon Dick’s themes regarding the nature of reality, represented by The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, which is a novel within The Man in the High Castle that tells the story of an allied victory in the Second World War, but different again from our own.  

And that’s all I’m going to say. I am pleased that Amazon is going ahead with this series, which promises to be some of the most literate television to come down the pike in a long time.  And I suspect, that somewhere out there in the multiverse, Philip K. Dick is pleased, as well.

Meanwhile, I am continuing to read The Long War, by Terry Prachett and Stephen Baxter.  I am thoroughly enjoying the sequel to The Long Earth and will review it next month.

In the meantime, have a look at my own books, Elvis Saves JFK! for just 99 cents and War Plan Crimson, A Novel of Alternate History, for $2.99 and now The Key to My Heart, also $2.99 (all are free to preview). All books -- which are already on Smashword's premium distribution list -- are also available through such fine on-line retailers such as Sony, Chapters Indigo, Barnes & Noble and Apple's iTunes Store.   Thanks.

No comments:

Post a Comment