The Man in the High Castle was never one of my favorite PKD books, but it’s the one that won the Hugo and had some interesting elements along with its elaborate confusion of cross-reality checks. Now it’s an Amazon series in the making (the pilot is all we get so far) produced by Ridley Scott and put together with former X-Files and Heroes veterans. It plays very much like a contemporary television series – lots of great visuals and music, pretty girls and pretty boys, vicious Nazis and Japanese agents (the story is basically ‘they won World War II and partitioned America between them, but they really hate each other’). It’s America in 1962 and things have settled down really pretty rapidly. The fascists are brutal (hospitals burn cripples and the terminally ill, and the ashes fall all over) and have cowed pretty much every one, Jews and people of color are seriously endangered species, but fortunately for us there are attractive young white people to join the underground and give us our main characters to love and hate and root for and against. In other words, sexy ultra-violence, our favorite kind of show.
Trust no one.
The show is dark. Literally. I could barely see it on my screen. Expect a lot of twists and turns, suspense, surprises, betrayals, torture, sadness, murder, hydrogen bombs, meaningful I Ching glances, and above all “The Grasshopper Lies Heavy”, a novel (or film? in the book it’s a novel. In the show it seems to be a movie) about an alternate reality in which the Allies actually won the war!
Recommended? Yeah, I guess.
Better yet, if you want to watch something, watch “Enlightened”, on HBO, the Laura Dern – Mike White collaboration about a woman who gets her head straightened out after a major meltdown, but then has to go right back to the same old life she left behind. Great writing, great acting, great directing, really good stuff. Much more recommended by yours truly.