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Review of 'The Man in the High Castle' 3.1

Real People in Alternate History

With the kick-in-the-gut news of the all-but-certain confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U. S. Supreme Court yesterday, I only managed to see the first episode of the third season of the brilliant Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime last night. Its alternate history of the Nazis and Japanese winning the Second World War was much more enjoyable than the real news in our reality. Herewith a review of that first episode, with more to come as I see the rest over the weekend.

I especially like the mix of real people from our own reality into the American Reich in 1962. J. Edgar Hoover, unsurprisingly, fits right into Nazi New York, collecting all kinds of "scheiße" for the Reich, and, if he's anything like our J. Edgar, for himself to use to maintain his power as well. George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party in our reality, is the North American Führer in Man in the High Castle. He and Edgar will no doubt cause Smith a lot of trouble, even with his promoted status, and vice versa.

Leni Riefenstahl, the brilliant Nazi film maker (Triumph of the Will) who lived to be over a 100 years old in our reality, gets a shout-out—and a put-down—as being more than 60 in this episode by a dazzling young blond Nazi film maker who has some talent with the camera herself. And Elvis's "Can't Help Falling in Love" gets sung in the Neutral Zone by someone who reminded me a bit of Buddy Holly, but probably isn't.

So the first episode comes packed with lots of things that make alternate reality storytelling so much fun. And, speaking of alternate realities, there's also a hint that they'll play a much bigger role—literally interacting with and bumping into one another—than they did in the first two seasons, with Juliana talking to her sister about the different realities they each inhabited, one of which, as we know, had the sister dying.

The story is now moving well beyond Philip K. Dick's novel, but still true to its intentions, and I'll be back here tomorrow with more.

Paul Levinson
Paul Levinson

Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code (winner Locus Award, Best 1st Science Fiction Novel of 1999) & The Plot To Save Socrates. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context has been translated into 15 languages. 

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Review of 'The Man in the High Castle' 3.1
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