The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

Late last year, Tadd and I watched the Amazon original series The Man in the High Castle. We instantly became hooked and watched the entire season within a couple of days. At the end of the season, I found out that the series was based off of a novel - yay - written by Philip K. Dick, so the book was immediately added to my Christmas list (thanks, in-laws for the gift).

Beautiful soup mug from Ox and Otter Pottery
The premise for both the book and the series is the same - Germany and Japan win WWII, and the United States is split between them as part of the spoils of war. The story follows a number of characters and their dealings with one another. This is honestly where the similarities stop, which came as quite a surprise to me.

The overarching difference between the two is a matter of plot. The series has a plot, and the novel does not. For nearly 300 pages, I followed the stories of these characters with anticipation that they would come to some resolution (and probably spoil future seasons of the series for me). About 4/5 through the book, things actually happened, characters were put in danger and encountered action. Then...nothing came of it. To say that the book ends with a cliffhanger doesn't adequately explain how it ends. It just sort of ended, and I was left disappointed and wanting more. The story and the characters were static throughout most of the book, and I sincerely wish more had happened. Moreover, I made no connections with the characters, and I honestly didn't like any of them. I wasn't bought-in to their story, so if anything actually had happened to them, I probably wouldn't have cared.

However, the overall premise is fascinating, although I wish more had been done with the story. Fortunately, the series has taken the premise of the book and given it danger, adventure, excitement, and most importantly direction; the characters are also more developed and likable, which is great. Things have happened in the series, and the story appears to be gearing up for something major - something that was sadly missing from the novel. I understand that this is how Dick intended to write The Man in the High Castle and that he tried many times to write a sequel, to no avail. Some folks may enjoy that type of writing style, but it is not for me.

I hardly ever do this because it feels like a betrayal to the wonderful world of literature, but if you're interested in the premise of The Man in the High Castle, which is really interesting, I recommend that you check out the series, as you will likely find it more enticing and fulfilling. On the bright side, finishing The Man in the High Castle has put me ahead of schedule in my quest to read twenty-four books in 2016.

What shows and/or movies have you enjoyed more than their literary source, Hipsters? Let me know below.

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