Monday, May 31, 2010

The Hugos: The Man In The High Castle

I really like the movies 'Bladerunner' and 'Screamers', and I'm fond of 'Total Recall' as well. Even 'Minority Report' and 'Paycheck' were pretty cool. I confess I zoned out halfway through 'A Scanner Darkly'.
The same mind that inspired those movies and others, who asked us to question our identities and the nature of reality asked us to examine one such alternate history in the 1963 Hugo winning novel The Man in the High Castle.

Philip Kindred Dick was a self-described freaky dude, and I can't necessarily condone his excessive divorces and drug use, but wikipedia quotes Dick as liking Robert Heinlein as a person without agreeing with anything he wrote.

If that kooky guy liked someone as different from himself as Heinlein, then I'm gonna hafta say I like PKD, even though I have NOT ONE CLUE what he was writing ABOUT. NOT EVER.

Not in 'Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch', not in 'The Transmigration of Timothy Archer', not even in 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'.

I just don't get it. Paranoid, weird, unfathomable things pouring from the soul of a man who thought he was hit by space lasers and became Elijah the prophet.

If 'getting it' is not the point, then this deserved more than 2.5 stars I gave it. After all, being weird is no crime and usually I LOVE that sort of thing. At the very least, being willing to admit you DON'T know what's going on, what the world really is, or even who YOU really are is at the heart of a lot of science fiction. It's a willingness to QUESTION, to re-examine, that makes science and its fiction great.

Your friendly neighbourhood Bookmonkey loaned me many PKD books in my early twenties.

He'd be glad to recommend some to you.

1 comment:

serket said...

I watched "A Scanner Darkly" a few weeks ago and did not like it. The animation was especially annoying. I also just read "Starship Troopers" by Heinlein and really enjoyed it.