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Amazon Studios greenlights pilot for Philip K Dick 'The Man in the High Castle'

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According to a Tuesday story in Deadline Hollywood, Amazon Studios has greenlit a pilot for a miniseries based on the Philip K. Dick novel, “The Man in the High Castle.” The series is set in 1962 in an alternate reality in which the Axis powers won World War II. The series had originally been set up for the SyFy Channel.

In the world of the novel, the east coast of the United States is occupied by Nazi Germany, and the west coast by the Japanese Empire. The Rocky Mountain states are still, more or less, independent. The states of the old Confederacy, where slavery has been revived, are a client state of the Third Reich. Germany has colonies on the moon and Mars.

The complicated plot, which involves multiple view point characters, concerns the forementioned man who has written an alternate history novel set in an alternate world where the allies won World War II. The book is forbidden in any place where the rule of the Third Reich adheres. The details in the novel are not in any way similar to the world in which we reside.

There is a political subplot involving the impending death of Adolf Hitler, greatly aged and rumored to be suffering from dementia. Once the leadership of the Reich passes hands, the plan is to launch a full scale nuclear strike against Japan to capture the rest of the world. It is understood that this event will likely presage the end of the world.

The novel is as much a meditation on the nature of reality, with a heavy reliance on the I Ching, an ancient Chinese text that uses stalks or coins to ascertain the meaning of reality of the moment. The reality depicted in "The Man in the High Castle" is clearly a nightmare, but there are virtuous people, even among the Axis characters. There is thus the hope that even in the very worst of circumstances, which somehow goodness might prevail.

The script was written by Frank Spotnitz. The pilot will be directed by David Seme. The project is being put together by Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free.

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