Review of The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

I’ve bought this book a while ago, since before I knew that Ridley Scott was working on a TV series based on it. Since the pilot was released on Amazon, Marie borrowed and read it before she started to see spoilers on her social network. Since she read it, we watched the pilot. Since I watched the pilot, I started reading the book in the evening. Since I started reading the book (and it is sci fi/fantasy), I finished it sometime in the middle of the night.

This is why I don’t read science fiction anymore.

Most movies (and I’ll assume this TV show) based on Phillip K Dick are usually loosely based on his books and short stories, where the core ideas (or, more likely, one or two of them) are kept and most of the storyline is not. From the pilot it is clear that this will follow that trend.

I mention this because I find it interesting that when this is done to nearly anyone else’s work readers are angry that either it doesn’t hold true to the original (in the case of contemporary writers), or they clearly list it as an adaptation (in the case of classic writers such as Shakespeare). The only common exception I can think are movies based on comic books—but the source material itself is inconsistent and full of reboots and retellings.

My only real criticism of the book is the use of the I Ching which I found frustrating and boring. After all, you are talking about someone who used to publish “horrorscopes” in college — horoscopes with unfortunate fortunes. This scientist has never taken kindly to that sort of mysticism.

Continue reading some spoilers after the jump