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Unlike many other streaming video services, Amazon.com is providing some of its series in total (think Transparent) and others are being presented as part of Pilot Season, allowing people to watch and vote. One of the options is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle [HD]
, produced (in part) by Ridley Scott.
Its first episode is being streamed for free, and I heartily recommend you view it. Not just because it's free, but because it's pretty sharp, well-written television.
Based on the novel of the same name,
The Man in the High Castle focuses on an alternate world where the Axis Powers won World War Two....and we catch up with American life in 1962. America is carved up into three zones - the Nazi occupied East, the Japanese-occupied West, and a "neutral zone" along the Rocky Mountains. The series focuses on two people - a man hired for a mysterious cross-country trip, and a woman who meets her sister after years of separation....and both find themselves dealing with a mysterious film can with the title The Grasshopper Lies Heavy. Life for people in this world is gray, and dour, and - admittedly - trying: the episode opens with a film reel of typical American scenes, and the reel ends with an American Flag - with swastika - and the words "Sieg Heil".
...and if you're looking for a comparison with the Phillip K. Dick novel, there really isn't much of one. Both take place in a similar history, but Dick's novel is much more of a meditation on the influence of chance, on the nature of being "authentic", and on the everyday evil that permeates regular life. (The book refers to the I Ching more frequently than the 1896 storyline on Dark Shadows). It's an examination of people living in the aftermath....and although both involve a work of art titled The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the way that art is handled in both reveal levels of meaning. In Dick's novel, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy is a "banned book", and part of the plot involves meeting the author to determine just how he came to visualize such a world. In Amazon's Man in the High Castle, it's an illicit newsreel - a visual representation of what might have happened (in Dick's book, the "Allies won" timeline differs from actual history) - that kickstarts the narrative.
Either way, both the pilot episode of The Man in the High Castle - as well as Dick's novel - are worth experiencing. Since the pilot is free for Amazon members, it's definitely worth checking out.
As far as the book, there's always the local library.