back to article Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate history' story made into TV series

Ridley Scott has signed on to make Philip K Dick’s Nazis-in-America story The Man in the High Castle for Amazon Studios, according to industry mag Deadline. Blade Runner screenshot Ridley Scott's Blade Runner Scott’s production firm Scott Free and X-Files writer Frank Spotnitz will make the alternate history tale in which …

  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

    Very difficult, as typically for PKD, this has less to do with Nazis as with the exploration of "inner space" and the frankly Jungian connections between what we perceive and how that perception seems to alter what is real. There is lots of internal monologue in that story (and the style of that monologue is important), something which can never be rendered on-screen. No, "hard boiled" voice-overs don't work.

    Still, I wish success.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      alternate reality??

      Corporatist state - check

      Perpetual war - check

      Rejected ethnic group - check (in USA case Arabic rather than Jewish)

      What are we missing?

      Anonymous for obvious reasons

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: alternate reality??

        "What are we missing?"

        Suborbital airliners?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: alternate reality??

          "Suborbital airliners?"

          Well, we ain't got orbital airliners so what's left must all be suborbital ones.

          1. Bleu

            Re: alternate reality??

            Ooh, aren't we the clever one, ballistic trajectories is the intended meaning. Have you had a flight on a ballistic trajectory lately?

            From what I hear, until Branson gets his overpriced fun-fair ride off the ground, cheapest way is in a high-altitude fighter in Russia.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

        Re: alternate reality??

        I'd say that while the US has a greater diversity, almost all countries have the same problem.

      3. DrGoon

        Re: alternate reality??

        "What are we missing?"

        The irony of the giant Amazon corporation taking on the role of the Wyndam-Matson Corporation.

      4. N13L5

        Re: alternate reality??

        That would be exactly the reason why Scott Ridley would be interested in doing this.

        The Nuremberg court records where Nazi war criminals were sentenced show that all the I.G. Farben executives got their multi-year to life sentences commuted after just one or two years and - wonder of wonders, mostly got flown out to the USA, where many of them hold high positions in large corporations.

        Hitler's top lawyer - (who carried out the I.G. Farben's number 1 priority to institute a new patent law in all occupied territories, before any other changes to local laws) - later became the founding Architect of the modern EU, actively shaping it for its first 10 years.

        Thanks to the German's pedantic record keeping, you can also find in Nuremberg documents proving, that most concentration camp inmates didn't die in the camps, but were sold in bulk to I.G. Auschwitz (the largest industrial complex of its time) for "scientific tests", involving new medications, poison gas and other new weapons developments.

        German Concentration camps also saw the first case of putting fluoride into drinking water - effective at keeping prisoners docile and, at sufficient doses sterilization of inmates.

        German Chancellor Kohl was the offspring of an I.G. Farben executive - and the long time patron of current Chancellor Merkel.

        On the day after the Nazis burned down and destroyed the German Parliament, the I.G. Farben transferred 500,000 Reichsmark to Hitler.

        Nothing changed, except the language used in the news papers.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

      Also multiple points-of-view and the book-within-a-book. And being fairly cerebral though the "Nazi's won" aspect will catch the public's attention.

      It's been a long while since I read any PKD let alone Man in the High Castle so my memory is probably faulty but I never would have put it down as something you could easily make into the visual form.

      Might have been easier to start with Eye in the Sky?

      1. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

        My default setting when hearing of Philip K Dick adaptation is, 'How will they fuck it up this time?' At least 'Flow My Tears' remains so far unsullied. Best yet? My vote goes to 'Through a Scanner Darkly'. My nightmare would be any coupling of the names Michael Bay, Gerald Butler, and Palmer K Eldritch

        1. Conrad Longmore

          Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

          "Scanner" is definitely the closest adaptation of a book, and not the easiest book to film. And it has the advantage that it looks amazing too.

          I was disappointed that the remake of "Total Recall" wasn't actually a make (?) of "We Can Remember it for you Wholesale" which is an intriguing story in its own right.

          Actually, the best PKD adaptation that I have seen recently was "Oblivion"*

          *yes, I am aware that it is not a PKD movie. It just feels like one.

          1. Ian 55

            There was no Total Recall remake

            It was all in your mind.

            If you would like to lie down here, normality will be resumed in a few moments.

      2. SisterClamp

        Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

        Did you mean Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Stalker)? Actually, I thought it was his cinematographer, Vadim Yusov, who was the superior image-maker. Wasn't really impressed by Andrei Arsenyevich himself.

        But if you're talking inner-space, puzzles within puzzles and general chaos, then you can't go past Terry Gilliam. My fav director for this sort of thing by far.

    3. beep54

      Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

      How's about Richard Linklater? His version of A Scanner Darkly certainly shows that he could bring innovation to such a project.

    4. Hud Dunlap

      Re: Tachovsky would be best for this task. But he's dead.

      Internal monologue can work. Watch Dexter.

  2. graeme leggett


    In 2010 they were talking about Scott making it for the BBC

  3. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Here's more hoping...

    Let's hope it's more 'Blade Runner' than 'PayCheck'

    I know Ridley did Blade Runner, but then again he also did Prometheus)

    1. EddieD

      Re: Here's more hoping...

      Blade Runner was a good film, but not much like the book though.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: not much like the book though.

        Part of it were, parts of it weren't. Most of the adaptions made sense for a movie. Except for the ending.* Unfortunately, that sort of invalidated everything they did right. So you earned an up vote.

        *Yes, you can argue you have to put a happy ending on a Hollywood movie so it would fall under my "adaptions made sense" waiver, but given the ending was sort of the point of the whole book, no.

    2. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: Here's more hoping...

      I know Ridley did Blade Runner, but then again he also did Prometheus

      Prometheus wasn't a bad film at all. Stop whining.

      1. pewpie

        Re: Here's more hoping...

        They won't like it cus Ridley refused to reguritate his own product like a vomiting pig.. and there were hardly any guns... they don't like that either.

      2. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Prometheus wasn't a bad film at all. Stop whining.

        Yes it was. Whining not only permitted, but approved.

        1. David Given

          Re: Prometheus wasn't a bad film at all. Stop whining.

          Prometheus is a pile of really great effects, sets, scenes and some reasonable acting all desperately searching for a plot which makes sense.

          This is the best summary of Prometheus I've seen yet:

  4. cs94njw

    Sounds like Wolfenstein: The New Order

    1. Tenacal

      Wouldn't be surprised if the success of the game made people sit up and look around for similar plots.

      I'd also guess that creating a film based of a game doesn't sound as good as creating a film based off a book, especially when its from an author such as Philip K Dick.

    2. Irongut

      Man in the High Castle is nothing like Wolfenstein. Nazis are not the important fact about that book, the reporter just Godwined himself for cheap clicks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Indeed, the main threads I can see running through the book are (1) the thought processes of the the Germans and Japanese and (2) the nested alternative history - whereby in an alternative history where the Axis won, there is a book/movement discussing what might have been had the Allies won.

        Neither really lend themselves to set piece films.

        1. BongoJoe

          But weren't we given two hints in the book that the Allies actually won. The first was when the Japanese character, Mr Tagomi, was looking intently at the silver peice of jewelry and the second when Admunsen mentioned that the Gestapo had ceased to exist after 1947.

          The second one may be due to renaming of the verious Nazi groups but the first one where Tagomi saw the hideous looking freeway, a lack of pedalcabs and no American would give up his seat for him.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Could be even more effective on film

            The problem with Tagomi's brief crossover into the (other) reality where the Allies won is that the differences are so subtle, and the episode is over so quickly. PKD does a terrific job of making us share Togami's disoriented state. It could actually be even more effective when portrayed visually, because the audience won't have the time to absorb what was happening the way you might when reading it (well, many readers -- I personally was left pretty confused until I re-read the scene again).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought that we were already living in that reality with the left "we want to control every part of your lives" wing Euro state we live in. Not forgetting of course the left wing mantra that under no circumstances should any Jewish state be allowed to defend itself.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      under no circumstances should any Jewish state be allowed to defend itself

      ...Dragging pro-cleaning operations via mechanized armies by ultranationalist religious nutcases into a discussion about PKD

      ...Being that kind of an asshat

      His brothers had been killed in ‘44, strangled with wire by British commandos, the Long Range Desert Group which had operated behind Axis lines and which had become especially fanatic during the last phases of the war when it was clear that the Allies could not win.

      “How do you feel about the British now?” she asked haltingly.

      Joe said, “I’d like to see them do to England what they did in Africa.” His tone was flat.

      “But it’s been—eighteen years,” Juliana said. “I know the British especially did terrible things. But—”

      “They talk about the things the Nazis did to the Jews,” Joe said. “The British have done worse. In the Battle of London.” He became silent. “Those fire weapons, phosphorus and oil; I saw a few of the German troops, afterward. Boat after boat burned to a cinder. Those pipes under the water—turned the sea to fire. And on civilian populations, by those mass fire-bombing raids that Churchill thought were going to save the war at the last moment. Those terror attacks on Hamburg and Essen and—”

      “Let’s not talk about it,” Juliana said. In the kitchen, she started cooking bacon; she turned on the small white plastic Emerson radio which Frank had given her on her birthday. “I’ll fix you something to eat.” She dialed, trying to find some light, pleasant music.

    2. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      "We want to control every part of your lives," and "No Jewish state should be allowed to defend itself"?

      Doesn't sound left-wing at all, to me. Unless you consider the Nazis liberals, that is...

      1. Ted Treen

        @ Mr Moyle. I think... don't get out or read enough.

        Anti semitism? See Stalin. See Beria. See Ulbricht. See Honecker

        Control every aspect of your lives? See all of the above.

        Don't recall any of those wearing belts with "Gott mit uns" on it.

        And no, I'm not Jewish.

    3. Bleu

      I'd go along with you but

      I only agree with your first point.

      Your second is odd at best.

      Both are completely off-topic.

      I must watch Prometheus at some stage, sounds pretty stupid, but I am an effects fan, small-time maker at times, missed my vocation.

      Am quite sure that Scott will f*** this up completely, since he is not a reader, and his scriptwriters will be intent on imposing their own orthodox and cretinous visions, you, current anonymous coward, are doing a very good job of suggesting a possible very propagandistic twist.

      Mr. Nagomi will become a cameo for someone, everyone in fictionality will be subject to a reality shift like Mr. Dick was so deft at depicting.

      I didn't leave the cinema during Stargate, felt like it, but the angle was pretty obvious (and I loved the small scenes that brought the gods of ancient Egypt to life).

      You may consider changing your user name from anonymous coward to keen user of Internet megaphone?

  6. Mike Wilson

    Shame...'s on Amazon. I closed my account as I no longer wish to do business with them. I can see now how dystopian futures can come into being -- it can become too inconvenient to protest or the public can become too complacent. I'm drawing a line here and will live with the inconvenience.

    1. AceRimmer


      Torrenting is still more convenient

  7. stu 4


    and I wonder if they'll cover what happened in Africa ?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: africa

      No-one talks about what happened in Africa.

  8. Jim 59


    ...tells the story of American life under Fascist rule while the Axis Powers

    I suppose for a foreign power to occupy the US would not be easy given that the general population is armed.

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Guns

      And more right-wing than the occupiers ...

    2. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: Guns

      I fail to see the relevance of an armed population to stopping a totalitarian occupier.

      Half of those armed would welcome the occupiers anyway because they would help them combat whichever "other group" they disliked - Jewish, gay, liberals, atheists, left wing or whatever. The Nazis always found collaborators and they were often those who considered themselves superior to the rest - pretty much like conservatives and elites feel today.

      1. Jim 59

        Re: Guns

        ...Jewish, liberals,... Nazis... elites......etc

        Lol. A top quality rant. Fact-free, prejudice packed, explosive delivery. Complete with obligatory Nazi comparison.

        March 12, 1989 - Tim Berners-Lee switches on the first web site

        March 13, 1989 - Cern scientists go online, disagree about something, call each other "Nazis"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guns

      Any resistance by that "general population" armed with military small arm look-alikes would crumble as soon as they were fired on by real weapons, like 155mm artillery or MRLs. One big difference between the civilian populations in the US and Europe during the Second World War is that the latter actually experienced the devastation of modern heavy weapons first hand, while by and large the former did not. General audiences are going to find PKD's conception of a post war America that looks and feels so much like occupied Vichy France to be disturbing.

  9. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Only in the Hollywood version

    The Americans win

    1. Conrad Longmore

      Re: Only in the Hollywood version

      SPOILER ALERT (although this is actually printed on the back cover of some editions of the book).

      In reality, the Allies *did* win.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: Only in the Hollywood version

        Technically, the British Empire won...

      2. Tom 13

        Re: In reality, the Allies *did* win.

        Are you sure? Wherever I look I see socialists. About half of them are International Socialists and the other half are National Socialists. But they all grow from the same corrupt root and lie about their roots being on the left instead of the right.

  10. TheOtherHobbes

    Amazon makes TV series about dystopian future?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The US seems to be desperate to portray Germany in a bad light at the moment; Watch the US news, listen to what the US politicians are saying and you'll see an awful lot of hate toward Germany at the moment, and an exceptionally unhealthy veracity in the use of the word Blitzkrieg.

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      A bit of a consolation...

      It's not that the US doesn't like Germans, it's simply that Germany has not yet fallen in line with the orders for the Cold War II with Russia, at least not enthusiastically enough.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Easy explanation: they have something to hide (again)

      The US seems to be desperate to portray Germany in a bad light at the moment; Watch the US news, listen to what the US politicians are saying and you'll see an awful lot of hate toward Germany at the moment, and an exceptionally unhealthy veracity in the use of the word Blitzkrieg.

      That's pretty much a standard diversion tactic for the Americans: when they have screwed up somewhere, the party that shows them up will be made the bad guys. When they yet again nuked the global economy, the first people they were putting in a bad light were the Swiss, because their economy (where not exposed to the US) was doing fine (or did you really think it was about the *money* in tax evasion? What they have reclaimed so far is worth about 3 seconds worth of Iraq shock and awe bombing).

      It had the benefit of both drawing the attention away from Wall Street's role in again f*cking it up for everyone and at harming their competition at the same time.

      Now we have the Germans taking a hard line of privacy (IMHO the harshest in Europe so far), and doing that against a backdrop of real, documented experience with East Germany. That's too real and too close to the bone for the US, so now the psyops start. Give it a couple of months and it will be Germany who has been at the root of the destruction of personal privacy - you heard it here first.

      Cynical? No, I have just been around long enough to see the pattern.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The US seems to be desperate to portray Germany in a bad light at the moment; "

      Yeah, funny that. Make objections to US poilicy and you become the bad guy.

      Next thing you know McD's will be selling Freedomburgers with their freedom fries.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        too funny

        and too probable. Thanks :)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    its the plot from Wolfenstien The New order. The Nazi's win by dropping a atom bomb on New York

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      The plot from Wolfenstein?

      He thought of it first!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The plot from Wolfenstein?

        The Nazis thought of it first. That's one of the reasons they were working on very long range bombers, submarine launched aircraft and ICBMs along with their nooklear programme.

  13. AdamT

    Also ...

    "The sci-fi author is clearly a favourite for ... Hollywood fodder in general."

    Who can forget "A Scanner Darkly" ? Hmmm, most people, it would seem.

    (I liked it)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Also ...

      I've seen the film. Looked great, shame it was crap. Wouldn't mind reading the book though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Also ...

        As far as I know I read all PKD's books - long, long ago - and Scanner Darkly was my favourite. Read it several times. I bought the DVD and thought it was dreadful.

        1. Bleu

          Re: Also ...

          Guess your tastes have radically changed since 'long ago'. Of all PKD 'property' taken up by Hollywood, that is the only one that is faithful to the novel and its good points.

          Two which are faithful to short stories are Screamers, and Impostor: the short (40 minute) version of that is great, with padding for feature length, execrable. I think Screamers worked well as a feature.

          Honourable mention to Total Recall, captured some themes, and fun, wish Verhoeven would make another SF movie, that, with Robocop and Starship Troopers, made up a tour de force.

          Semi-honourable mention to Bladerunner, exploited side themes and decoration from the novel, great movie, but absolutely contradicted the central themes, so a derivative but simply exploitative work.

          There is also a good French movie faithful to Confessions of a Crap Artist, but that is not SF.

          *All* of the numerous others are execrable, as is the long version of Impostor.

        2. Bleu

          Re: Also ...

          BTW, I very much doubt that you read all of them, but congrats for enjoying A Scanner Darkly once upon a time.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

    Similar thing, alternative history in 1950s UK where Winston Churchill never becomes PM and we end up being allies with the nazis. Great book. Depressing as hell.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

      Churchill shacking up with Germany would never have happened though. His favorite pastime was mongering for war against the Huns, since before WWI.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

        "Churchill shacking up with Germany would never have happened though. His favorite pastime was mongering for war against the Huns, since before WWI."

        Correct. That is why in the book he never becomes PM, and ends up leading the underground movement.

    2. Steve Todd

      Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

      Or the's a series of books by S M Stirling that starts with "Marching Through Georgia" where history has diverged at the time of the American Revolution, at which point the British supporters are given the Dutch Cape in Africa as a consolation prize. You end up with a bunch of rabid right wing slave holders owning all of the land up to the Rusian border by the start if the Second World War.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Anyone read Dominion by C J Sansom?

        Or there's "Bring the Jubilee"* by Ward Moore, in which time travelers ... nope, you'll have to read it yourself.

        * the name of the song known by many as "Marching through Georgia", used as an anthem by CSA citizens (and, with alternate lyrics, by Manchester United fans).

  15. Mephistro Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I love alternate realities...

    ... mainly because they highlight aspects of 'real history' (whatever that is ;-) that are usually left aside. In this genre, TMITHC is one of my favourites, up there with "Bring the Jubilee". I'd also recommend a newish novel, "Mysterium", that describes an America withering under the boot of an Inquisition-like religious institution.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I love alternate realities...

      "I love alternate realities...

      ... mainly because they highlight aspects of 'real history' (whatever that is ;-) that are usually left aside."

      Also because they highlight how thin the line is between two completely different outcomes.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I love alternate realities...

      "Mysterium", that describes an America withering under the boot of an Inquisition-like religious institution.

      Is it anything like Heinleins Revolt in 2100 Specifically the first story "If this goes on..." from 1940?

  16. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Hmm, let me see ...

    ... <scans humanities CV>

    I see that humanity admires itself and others so much that it has devised explosive devices to shred skin, tissue and muscle from bone and terminating existence of the human life form almost immediately if not some short while afterwards.

    It, humanity that is, has also optimised its technologies, research, science and wisdom to devise devices that create temperatures exceeding that on the surface of the sun (Earth beings nearest star) and matched those devices with earth related positioning devices so that the impact can be directed at centres of human population.

    Then there is, of course, Krimea, the Ukraine, vested interest and values of numbers held in human institutes named "banks"

    Sad in it?

    </scans humanities CV>

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nazis in America?

    I already have Nazis In America on my TV. It's called Fox News.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nazis in America?

      Nazis in America?

      I already have Nazis In America. They're called Obamabots..

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: Nazis in America?

        Oh look the news site post trolls have invaded El Reg. Give it a decade or two at most and you will have a new worst POTUS ever and a new worst for profit corporate media outlet (or at least good competition to today's incumbents who have been pushed even further over the bat shit crazy ledge).

      2. Johnr

        Re: Nazis in America?

        No they're called Kochs , Who have out and out purchased the Republican Party and a good portion of the Supreme Court. War's good business so give your son....

        1. TheSteve

          Re: Nazis in America?

          Oh spare me... as if the Democrats nobly refuse to take money from billionaires. Bringing up the Kochs only goes to prove how thoroughly successful your brainwashing has been.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Nazis in America?

            Please, show us billionaires who have more money, donate more money, sponsor more far right (Fascist) groups than the Kochs.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: show us billionaires who have more money

              That's easy:

              Bill Gates

              Warren Buffet

              George Soros

              Any ONE of them has more money than the Kochs do and are far more fascist. In fact, if you look carefully at things the Kochs sponsor you'll find they aren't even conservative but Libertarian. And while I have significant philosophical differences with Libertarians, I do recognize that they are about as polar opposite fascism as it is possible to be.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't Iron Sky based on the same idea?

    Didn't the Star Wreck guys did something along those lines called Iron Sky?

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't Iron Sky based on the same idea?

      Had it been played straight with a good script it could have been a contender...

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't Iron Sky based on the same idea?

      Iron Sky didn't end with the central characters realising that they were all.. oops, better not give any spoilers ;)

  19. asdf Silver badge

    my 2 cents

    I recommend Phillip K Dick to any person even mildly interested in Sci Fi. Start with one of his short story readers as he is arguably one of the best short story writers since WW2 (a dying art imho). Reading him though really gives you an insight into what it was like during the height of the Cold War, being as he was a product of it. It directly (ie see Cobolt bomb story device) and indirectly seeps into most things he writes.

  20. chris lively

    I don't see how this will go over well with the public.

    Just mentioning the word "Axis" and most movie goers at this point will have no clue what you are talking about. Throw in a setting of an alternate reality in the 60s and I think the public won't know what to make of it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Throw in a setting of an alternate reality in the 60s and I think the public won't know what to make of it."

      Spot on! Anyone under 30 thinks it's ancient history. Many of those who lived through it were in their own alternative reality at the time anyway.

  21. Fungus Bob Silver badge

    Better Amazon than Syfy

    If it was a Syfy production there world be sharks falling out of tornadoes and giant freshwater piranhas swimming in the Atlantic ocean.

  22. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Heck, with all the state surveillance going on...

    They can make this a reality show!!!

    (I know, I know--Godwin's law)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If he gets it right...

    Not an easy book to do well I'd think, because so much happens in the mind rather than as speech, and the best of it is very subtle. But I'd dearly love to see this done well; it was the first of PKDs books I read at 12, and its still probably my favourite. Astonishingly my usually ultra conservative Kent grammar school actually handed these out in English lessons*, I can only assume by accident, since they never repeated the error of giving me a decent book to read.

    *By the same teacher actually whose life-force-sappingly dull examinations of King Lear convinced me never to go near Shakespeare with someone elses, ever, although that lasted only till I worked in theatre and discovered it was actually bloody good, although I still vehemently argue that Shakespeare's plays should never, ever be read by sane people who actually have access to a theatre which can do the work the justice it deserves, and never at all by children, who will probably be put off for life.

  24. Alistair Dabbs

    Germany? I thought it was Japan

    Perhaps I need to dig out the book again. I could have sworn the story concentrates on Japanese (not German) occupiers on the West Coast, and the occupation wasn't particularly fascist or military - it just satirised the post-war American in-all-but-name occupation of Japan. The bit with the liberal-minded Japanese visiting a shop and trying to be really nice sticks in my mind. Heck, maybe it was a different book...

    1. johndrake7

      Re: Germany? I thought it was Japan

      Actual reader of the book here: +1 Mr. D. The Wiki article also gets it right for anyone interested in High Castle's backstory: nearly all of the novel takes place in an alternate history Pacific States of America (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, parts of Nevada and Washington), within victorious Japan's post-war Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. The finale takes place in the Rocky Mountain States, a buffer region between the PSA and the remaining USA, which is a Nazi puppet state a la Vichy France ... with the Missisippi River as the Berlin Wall-esque divide between PSA/RMS and post-war USA. The Nazis (roughly) reprise the U..S.S.R's role in the Cold War; Japan approximates the USA's. The only Nazi-related characters of any consequence are covert Nazi agents, operating in the PSA's proto-Japanese/American hybrid society that was to be explored further in the aborted "High Castle" follow-up novel, "Ring of Fire".

      One of the book's core narrative elements (Operation Dandelion) is a preemptive Nazi nuclear strike on the Japanese Home Islands. The Nazis have hydrogen bomb technology and the ability to wipe out the Home Islands. And the will to use it, depending on who emerges as Hitler's successor, who has just died as the novel begins.

      Dick was turning American history inside out to try and come to grips with it: for example, with the exception of a small resistance movement, the role of non-Japanese in the PSA is pretty much that of the Native Americans in "our" world, a far cry from today's cliche Merkin. As portrayed in the book, the PSA is a much humbler and an often-saner place than most of the rest of the former USA, perhaps even arguably the "real" USA.

      I have no clue what the series will do with the book's story line, but in my opinion it's Dick's finest novel and is a much more thoughtful read than the buzz around the upcoming series might lead a casual reader to believe. Anyone who enjoys it might also appreciate his Vietnamese reprise of the alternate post-war history genre in "Faith of our Fathers", whose main theme is literally (yes, literally) indescribable.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought Ridley Scott was only interested in fictional stories. As an American citizen, I find this to be a roman-a-clef for the Tea Party/Libertarian usurpation of the USA. First time I have posted anonymously.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Give them time and they'll be ripe material for a remake of 'Triumph of the Will'.

  26. Stevie Silver badge


    Well, if it sucks deluxe we could always spritz it with UBIK ...

  27. Cipher

    All these comments...

    ...and not a mention of one of the great alternate history writers, Harry Turtledove.

    That said, hard to imagine a better scifi writer than PKD...

  28. Belardi

    Nazis in America?!

    Have you guys seen what Murdoch's Newscorp does in America? Straight out of the Nazi handbook. And a huge chunk of the American population eat it up. Every show from morning till night says the exact same thing.

    Is it like that in all countries that Murdoch sticks his old dick into? I was hoping the old fart would go to prison with the computer and phone hacking scandal.

    Fascism sucks and its alive and well in America.

  29. Bleu

    Scott Doesn't Read

    Ridley boasted of not having read Do Androids before (and after) making Bladerunner.

    Bladerunner is a good movie, but not bothering to read the rather short novel implies that Mr. Scott is a bit of an ignoramus outside the (not always effective) exploitation of talented scriptwriters, effects people, cinematographers, and so on.

    I shudder to think what kind of travesty he and a US network will make of High Castle.

  30. R69

    Not how i remember the book

    ...which was about an american antiques/gift shop owner who had seen his culture deprecated by the Japanese who had taken over - not the Germans. In fact i dont remember the germans featuring hugely at all.

  31. GrapeBunch Silver badge

    The year was 1985, and the young niece of a chess grandmaster was asking if I had ever read Philip K. Dick, her favourite author. Never heard of him. So, if I can find any of his books, which one should I read first? "Man In The High Castle" ..., and I do agree, this is his best book. Dick has since become media currency, but I've been waiting for a screen adaptation of Man for decades. The SyFy pilot was not bad, but don't hold back a modern Bergman from bringing Man to life, even if it extends over episodes or hours.

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