The Man in the High Castle

The novel The Man in the High Castle is my favorite novel by Philip K. Dick.  (Granted I haven’t read all of them yet so that could change.)  I was interested when Amazon did a pilot for a teevee show based on the novel.  Mostly I thought it was an interesting adaption.  It did a lot of work to recreate the alternate universe.  I was a little less excited about the change from a book to a film for the central plot device.  (A macguffin or a metaguffin perhaps but important to the story).

I haven’t had a chance to watch the whole series (10 episodes) yet — I thought I would keep a running blog post to record my impressions as I do.  (TO BE CONTINUED!)

UPDATE: Finished watching the first season of The Man in The High Castle.  So overall I enjoyed the show even if it showed how in many respects the novel is a difficult thing to translate to the screen.  The main thing the show does is faithfully translate the world-building of the novel.  That part is amazing.  Perhaps that is enough — there is a lot of the novel that rests on the alternate history it constructs.  What the show doesn’t quite capture well – although there is a late twist that suggests it might try to grapple with it in Season 2 (yes – there will be a season 2!) – is the ambiguity in the novel between whether the alternate world that exists is true or our actual world (which is an alternate history in the world of the novel) is true.  The show is much more plot-driven than I recall the novel being — but this also highlights the unanswered questions of why everyone in this world cares so much about the underground films that show the U.S winning the war.  (Also the show never addresses the fact that these films show so much — seriously, they are either from a parallel universe or the Man in the High Castle has special effects technology generations ahead of his time).

2018 UPDATE: Season 2 was pretty good but the more we dive into this world the more the show tries to explain the world which ultimately maybe defeats the point of the original Philip K. Dick novel.  Season 3 looks to be even more in that direction as this teaser scene talks about “travelers” between planes, i.e., alternate worlds.  This show may wind up being regarded as a fun science fiction show but I think I will try to separate it in my mind from the novel going forward.

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