Click here to support the Daily Grail for as little as $US1 per month on Patreon

The Man in the High Castle: Amazon’s Pilot Episode Available for Free

Throughout most of his life, Philip K. Dick was obsessed with the concept of alternative realities. There was a time for instance, when he believed he’d switched places with his twin sister, who passed away only six weeks after they were born prematurely, and that he was the one who had died. On other occasion he became convinced that the Nixon regime was actually a ‘projection’ of the Roman empire in which he was still living, as a persecuted Christian of the first century A.D.

Schizophrenic delusions or perhaps glimpses of parallel universes, we’ll never know for certain. What we do know is that his visions inspired his literary work, and in 1963 he won the Hugo award for his novel The Man in the High Castle, an alternative history novel in which the Axis powers won the 2nd. World War, and have divided the rest of the globe among themselves.

Now Amazon has made a video series adaptation of Dick’s story –Must we still call these ‘TV series’?– Starring Rufus Sewell, Luke Kleintank, Alexa Davalos, and executive produced by Riddley Scott; you can watch the pilot episode for free by clicking here.

Here are a couple of segments to pique your interest:

Whether Dick would be pleased with this adaptation –or surprised with the fact that the United States is now more resemblant of a police state than ever– is also something we’ll never know… or will we?

    1. Dystopias & Boiled Frogs
      What a great review!

      But while life in the novel’s alternate reality is certainly awful in many ways, it’s not exactly a dystopia, which is precisely why it’s so chilling. Dick’s book has little of the pulp melodrama of the TV pilot; there are no torture scenes, no supervillains, and not even a single scene set in the repressive Nazi-controlled region of the former U.S. Instead, the action occurs in the independent Mountain States or on the Japanese-controlled Pacific areas, and most of the characters go about their daily lives just as most of us do now. They have small problems and worries and cares, they adapt to quotidian injustices. But they do so without great urgency about the genocidal violence being inflicted on people on the other side of the world, continent, or neighborhood. The frightening thing isn’t the dystopia. It’s that the dystopia is so familiar it doesn’t really feel dystopian at all.

      This reminds me of the 1st time I saw V for Vendetta. My 1st reaction was of annoyance: Why didn’t the Wachowskis portray England under Norsefire fascism more brutally? More like Oceanica in 1984? The people weren’t starving and even had pubs and tellie!

      But then, with subsequent re-watches of the film, I understood the genius of it: They wanted to show a Dystopia that was still relatable to us, in order to make us understand how easy it is to live under Fascism and not realizing it.

      It’s the paradox of the frog in the pot of water. If the water is already boiling, the poor amphibian will fight with all its might to jump out of it; if the water is nice and tepid, and you start to gradually increase the heat ever so slightly… Voila! It’s frog soup for dinner.

      But getting back to Philip K. Dick, I’m uncertain if Operation Paperclip was still unknown by the public by the time he wrote The Man in the High Castle; I suspect it wasn’t, but the only one who wouldn’t have been shocked about it, would have been Dick himself.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mobile menu - fractal