BySree Lal, writer at
Engineer by occupation. Movie geek for a lifetime....
Sree Lal

There is no need for an introduction about the works of Philip.K.Dick, who was one of the prolific American Sci-Fi writers. His works, ranging from 'The Minority Report' to 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' have a reputation of being genius interpretations of a world beyond our comprehension and many of them had their adaptation on the silver screen. His ‘The Man in the High Castle’ follows a certain fan-base due to the subject it deals with. Seemingly a bit philosophical in the nature, also being a thought provoking piece of fiction, Man in the High Castle always deserved a live action adaptation. Now that Ridley Scott, director of Blade Runner which was adapted from 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, along with Amazon created the series of the same name, every fan including myself was eager about how sincere the adaptation will be. It’s safe to say that Mr. Dick’s brain child is treated with respect by Amazon and here are the 5 reasons why I think so:

5. Japanese Pacific States - Neutral Zone - Greater Nazi Reich

I hope everyone knows the story. For those who are unaware of it, ‘The Man in The High Castle’ is the story of the United States of America, which was torn into pieces by the Nazis and Japanese after WW2, which was surprisingly won by the Axis force. So, this world is an alternate timeline, where there is no USA. What it has left is three different states where Nazis ruling the east coast and a major chunk of the States namely Greater Nazi Reich, Japanese ruling the west coast, the Japanese Pacific States and a piece of land in the middle, which is neutral to both of these powers. It’ll be a dream for a reader to see these places on a screen, even though the ultimate pleasure is visualizing it over the wide screen of our minds. The rich Nazi York and the rising sun laded Golden Gate Bridge, and many more. I hope the future episodes of the series will provide us much more detailed scenarios of this alternate history…

4. Juliana, Frank, Joe and Many More

For those who have read the novel, Frank, Juliana and Bob are no strangers. Along with them, we will also remember the names of Mr. Tagomi and Byrnes. All these characters are present in the series with flesh and blood and to make things better, their character arcs are getting much well-constructed. Mr.Dick utilized them as a vehicle to portray a world where there is no hope and how they will react to certain situations. The creators of the series are much more generous and they are developing the characters in a much more intimate way. Instead of having a single-dimensioned persona, each character is securing a multi-layered nature as the series progresses. Some characters have much better scope; even they are branded as anti-heroes. Now, we can’t expect to have unexpected redemption or falls here. Not every show is Game of Thrones…

3. The Society

“The evil wins not when bad people do bad things. It’s when good people do nothing against them”

Philip.K.Dick’s alternate world had its share of casualties. These casualties made the people inert to social situations. People lived in fear and it became their trait. They even forgot why they even fought the war. The series successfully conveyed this scenario in elegant fashion. Issues ranging from racism to holocaust deals with this thread and within two episodes, we were able to watch certain examples in the series. It’s no surprise considering a Nazi dominated world, but what Dick and in turn the series had succeeded was in providing a note on our present society. The differences that created inadvertently between the people are a serious issue that should be tackled with patience and preparation. If don’t, that will be the fall. ‘The Man in the High Castle’ thus becomes a lesson for all of us….

2. Where Visuals are Beyond Words

‘ The Man in the High castle’ is an important piece of fiction. It’s genius, but still unexplored in many parts. This makes Amazon’s series a much more important work. It turns out to be that’s what exactly they are doing. Instead of sticking with the book, the series goes beyond the limits to test its characters. It also creates a much more detailed picture of such an era with going to its extremes. Frank Fink’s ancestry and Juliana journey to the neutral zone actually helped to broaden the scope while the resistance movement gave a different dimension to the whole series. With certainly providing much more thought provoking elements, Amazon can make the most of its source...

1. The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

Finally, the most important element of the book, the most controversial object of the Nazi Reich: ‘The Grasshopper lies heavy’. In the Book, it’s another book which shows an alternate history, much like ‘The Man in the High Castle’. In the series, the book is replaced by a 16mm film reel. Now, for starters, the book plays a much more acceptable role, while words are much easier to accept as fiction whereas a film reel contains actual footage. But, if you have read the novel, you could understand the importance of the Grasshopper, for not just being a book but a piece of proof of an alternate world. That ambiguity makes High Castle a classic. When the philosophical approach is taken into account, you can discount the inconvenience of having a Grasshopper film reel. If the future episodes carry on the same philosophical elements, it’s easy to say that the film reel is the most brilliant decision the makers of the series had done so far.



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