Challenge: Adapt The Man in the High Castle

I'd say that not counting non-novels (books and games), besides Guns of the South (which shouldn't really count since it's more of a time-travel story), The Years of Rice and Salt (which is way too long for this discussion), and Bring the Jubilee (which is too old and I haven't read it), the most classic, definite alternate history novel would be The Man in the High Castle. Draka wouldn't count, since it's been bashed even by fans who like the concept.

Anyhow, I think that to expose AH to the great masses through adaptation (as opposed to, say, getting Turtledove to write an original script), we should get a film adaptation of The Man in the High Castle, because Philip K. Dick's the hot new thing in sci-fi films, dammit!

How would you make it? Who would you cast for director, producer, actors? Remember, both Minority Report and Total Recall were excellent films in their own rights, but diverged strongly from his stories whilst preserving themes and concepts. The Man in the High Castle: the movie, would probably have to do the same. But maybe we shouldn't inject violence or false drama (Frank Fink is discovered early on! It quickly become your standard Turtledovian AH where the secret Jews must hide from the neo-Gestapo!) that wasn't in the story itself.

So, think about it.
Nah... they'd just let the nazis and the Japanese make war against each other. I don't envision TMITHC as yet another action movie.
Didn't The Man in the High Castle have something of a tendency to drift? IIRC, we had about four (or so) major plot threads running concurrently, but they didn't seem to be really building up towards anything. If anything, the novel was more like an extended philosophical rumination than an easy-to-adapt thriller.

Of course, having identified a problem, I must now confess that I don't really have much of an idea as to how to fix it without completely murdering the story. That's a job for someone a bit more familiar with it than me, alas.
It drifts waaaay too much to be easily converted into a thriller. Basically, you'd have to kill it and turn it into Presence of Mine Enemies. :(

To Strategos' risk: read Bring the Jubilee! Even if you have to buy some archaic anthology, it is a classic.
Okay, but I doubt that it'll be adapted for the big screen anytime soon.

I don't think that different plot threads barely connected would to that big a liability. What were two great films from 2005? Crash and Sin City. They never fully connected their storylines within themselves, and they were critically acclaimed.


I must admit, cant say I liked it. I even stopped halfway through. So, nah, noo for adaption :p


If you have to make it as a live action movie then my first choice for director would be Oliver Stone. A major theme of all his movies is how much of history is real.

But I think it ought to be an anime. In the first place, the main character is Japanese and I don't think the present Japanese male actors stable has enough well-known artists who would have both the wide emotional range this part would require and the English language skills to make him acceptable to American audiences, I could very well be wrong here.

Much more importantly, the story itself is both confusing and difficult if considered as mainly an action or thriller novel. It can work that way, but only if one pauses occasionally to set or shift mood, something which anime does well, but American moviemakers regard as "popcorn" (as in I'm going to get popcorn) and make every effort to avoid.

My choice for producer here would be Satoshi Kon. His anime "Paranoia Agent", often compared with "Twin Peaks", deals mainly with the theme of shifting realities and gains versimilitude by a very realistic, "warts and all" cartoon style; using almost none of the regular anime symbology coupled with a story emphasising character development.
Why did I choose The Man in the High Castle, you ask? Four points:

1. It is considered by many critics to be one of the greatest alternate history novels ever, at least one of the first of the best, and perhaps the one that caused alternate history to be mainstream, maybe because a mainstream author wrote it. In any case, it deserves a special place of honor, and so deserves to be adapted along with the other (adaptable) AH greats.

2. It doesn't have some of the nerdier aspects (time travel, ISOT, futuristic Draka) that would probably turn off mainstream audiences, who we are trying to attract so we can have more AH films.

3. It isn't as obviously AH as mainstream audiences imagine. This is how I think of it: mainstream audiences don't think of AH, usually, but rather "alternate universes." That is, they think about what-ifs without all of the annoying plausibility and timelines. So, their take on a different scenario tend to be more obvious. To wit:

World War II ends differently: Basically, it's a worldwide version of 1984, except with Germans and a more colorful ideology. Or from another view, what the eastern Europeans experienced for the bulk of the twentieth century except with Britons and Americans, and the bad guys have swastikas on their patches. Why never French? Probably because 1)Anglo-centrism (they went through it for a couple of years as Vichy, so they already know it, don't they?) and 2)the perception that all French are collaborationists, or defeated.

American Revolutionary War ends differently: Everyone speaks with English accents, wear powdered wigs, eat terrible food, and live in homes that look like castles. Also, Congress is called "Parliament."

American Civil War ends differently: Confederate zepplins!

Dinosaur War ends differently: Lizards crawling everywhere, chariots pulled by hominids.

The Man in the High Castle is unique, in that the WWII scenario doesn't have Nazis marching everywhere on American soil, being oppressive bastards, hunting out secret Jews with fine engineering. Most "Axis wins" scenarios, though I wouldn't say most AH books, have that happening. The Man in the High Castle is the only AH I have ever heard about where an honorable, not too evil Japanese occupation force is mostly seen, and where the Americans warm up to their captors by adopting their culture (through I Ching and eastern philosophies). Possibly there could have been more works showcasing the Japanese occupation of the U.S., but the authors realized that the ideas were too similar to The Man in the High Castle's, and got embarassed and stopped.

4. It's written by Philip K. Dick. That guy's on a roll. After A Scanner Darkly, Nicholas Cage is going to release . He's gonna be big, my friends. And just as he opened up AH literature to the mainstream, he'll do the same for AH movies... at least that's what I'm hoping. Better him than Turtledove, Stirling, Flint, Harrison, Birmingham, or even L'Sprague.
The Man in the High Castle was one of the best books I've ever read. And this is coming from a guy who only reads a half dozen or so books a year.