Just finished reading Phillip K Dick’s Man in the High Castle. It was pretty hard to slog my way through it and took much longer than expected. I’ve found most of Dick’s works to be like that, so wasn’t surprised.
I didn’t really like it. The Amazon offering is so much richer than this story. It had some surprising choices as well. The state religion of referring to The Oracle was practiced by every one living on the west coast American or not, even the jew. In fact The Oracle could almost be considered a character in the book. Faith in the Oracle is perfect, there is no room for doubt in this story and the resolution to the story (if one can call it resolution, absolutely depends on it.) I’m glad that the show didn’t take this route and only left the Oracle in the hands of the Japanese trade minister. The show was much better in this regard, especially in its portrayel of the Jewish faith being faithfully practiced behind closed doors. This is religion. This speaks to me. In the book, I kept waiting for the moment when the Oracle gave a fuzzy answer and the characters would have doubts or then suss out the reason why the Oracle was right after-all because that is also religion. It never happened in the book. The Oracle was right every damn time and pretty damn clear about it. Not sure why it bugged me so much, but it did.
The characters Juliana Crain (Juliana Frink in the book), Frank Frink, Robert Childan, Nobusko Tagomi all seem to be the same personalities whether book or show, with the exception of Juliana’s relationship to Frank. In the book there is hardly anything there even though they are technically married in the book.
Joe Blake (Joe Cinadella in the book) is something else. We don’t find out until near the end that he is an SD agent. He is pretty much a 2-dimensional character we don’t care for at all. Amazon Joe Blake was the opposite. There was no love lost for him when he met his demise, would have been different had it been Amazon Joe.
Tagomi’s transfer to the parallel universe happened in the book, though to be honest it was so insignificant to the story, I’m not sure why. In the end the Oracle got the credit for writing “The Grasshopper” so Tagomi’s experience had no real bearing. In the show it made all the difference, because it showed what was possible in this story and gave some insight into how the films were created. A mystery unfolded, whereas in the book it just added to the confusion.
Finally, the book added nothing to my pleasure of watching the show. I thought I might get some more insights into the show, but it didn’t happen for me. I’d be curious if anybody else has both read the book and watched the show and came to a different conclusion.