The Conclusion of The Man in a High Castle

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“The Nazis have no sense of humor, so why should they want television? Anyhow, they killed most of the really great comedians. Because most of them were Jewish. In fact, she realized, they killed off most of the entertainment field. I wonder how Hope gets away with what he says. Of course, he has to broadcast from Canada. And it’s a little freer up there. But Hope really says things. Like the joke about Goring . . . the one where Goring buys Rome and has it shipped to his mountain retreat and then set up again. And revives Christianity so his pet lions will have something to—”

Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle (1962)

 

 

So, the fourth and final season of The Man in the High Castle will be up on Amazon Prime on November 15, 2019.  I have enjoyed the series, although I could have done without a lot of the melodrama which inevitably creeps into television dramatizations.  I find the concept of parallel universes, and the alternate histories which result from them, endlessly fascinating. They illustrate the different paths that History could have traveled, and how the direction History did take is the result of an enormous amount of contingencies.  God is the Lord of History, and the rest of us are merely bit players, for good and ill.  However, in all the endless course of History good and evil remain, and the choices we make between them are the stones of which are all worlds are made.

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Ecclesiastes 12:5

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve read the novel and I have to say the series has been much better. The novel has no real denouement. Looking forward to see how they end it.

  2. I think all we did with our victory in WW II is buy ourselves several generations of relative peace and prosperity. But I think we are headed to a liberal dictatorship as ruthless and inhuman as the Nazi one depicted in Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle.” It’s already started. It’s becoming increasingly prohibited to support the right to life and the sanctity of marriage on social media without being banned from various platforms. If any of us conservatives talk between ourselves about the news at work or school or elsewhere, then we have to go behind closed doors and whisper in hushed voices or else we’ll be reported to HR. If we dare to oppose the mantra on global warming / climate change, then we’ll be openly laughed at and ridiculed, and told we aren’t supporting company values. Donald Trump offers only a temporary reprieve. The demons of hell are gathered together. And sadly we’ll have to do what Mattathias and his sons did in defeating the Seleucid Overlords. You might think me overly pessimistic or even (God forbid) desirous of such an eventuality. Far from it. I hope I am utterly and laughably wrong. I want to be completely incorrect. But I can tell you only what I see and hear as more and more of those of us who are conservative talk in soft murmurs while liberals shout their murderous perverted filth from city hall. Just look at major cities where the police no longer stop Antifa and how the news media is completely against what America once was. Even Fox News is starting to turn against Donald Trump. We won’t see the swastika over the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. But we’ll likely will see the hammer and sickle or the clenched fist instead.

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  3. Agreed on most of this, Don. Though i am immensely curious as to where the show can even go? Examining life in a “what if” tale could work for a season, but what do you do after?

  4. Dick’s novel (as is so often the case with Dick) throws a lot of things at the wall, in the confident hope that most will stick – even if this means, as George suggests, it helps deprive the story of a clear denouement. But this also made the book a particular challenge to adapt to the screen.

    For the most part, I think the adaptation has worked, in some ways providing more dramatic focus to the narrative (even if the most compelling characters are the Axis characters, not the resistance ones). But it does make me wonder if they’ll retain the unresolved ending of the book. Frankly, I think it must, because otherwise it becomes a very different story. There is no conventional victory that the resistance can achieve that can really undo the Axis victory, because Axis military power is still too formidable to overcome, and because the Western world has now changed far too much to restore what existed before; while on the other hand, allowing the multiverse hopping to simply wink the The Man in the High Castle timeline to merely wink out of existence is almost impossible not to come off like a deus ex machina resolution on the screen.

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