Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Evanston: the man in the high castle and the incredible shrinking man

        THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE is a new Amazon streaming series based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick.  Last week Carol and I watched all ten episodes of the first season which ends ambiguously—a second season is coming—and I was curious enough then to read the novel.  
        The premise of both is the same:  Germany and Japan won WWII and have occupied most of the United States, Germany the eastern three/fifths, Japan the west coast, leaving a narrow neutral Rocky Mountain zone in between.  There is scattered resistance to the occupation and an alternate history that in fact the United States won the war, in the television series shown in prohibited news reel films, in the novel a clandestine book.  Both the streaming series and the novel are entertaining and well executed.
        I was surprised to learn that the novel was written in 1962.  Philip K. Dick was a well known science fiction writer who also wrote “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, the basis for the movie BLADE RUNNER.
        There is more science fiction in the novel than the streaming series.  I’m not giving anything significant away when I note that in 1962 Dick had the Germans in possession of the hydrogen bomb and commercial aircraft that could fly from Berlin to Los Angeles in one hour.  They had also drained the Mediterranean to create farm land, landed on Mars and depopulated Africa.  All that is secondary to the drama of the human characters living in a conquered United States.
        Whenever the second series is made, I’ll watch it.


        I have been claiming for decades to be 6’1” tall.  That loses something when expressed as 185.42 centimeters, which doesn’t really matter because though I once was, I’m not any longer.  A few days ago when ordering a dry suit I had Carol measure me for the first time in many years.  I’ve shrunk, as is perhaps inevitable at my advanced age, and am now only 6’ tall.  182.88 centimeters.  
       On the bright side, being shorter is an advantage on GANNET.  Were I taller I’d hit my head in the Great Cabin even more.