Carl enters the alternate world of The Man In The High Castle in Titan Books’ stunning new Amazon Prime tie-in
The Man In The High Castle is an Amazon series that I’ve been meaning to binge-watch for some time now. Sadly, every time I sit down and get myself ready to watch it, I find other series that take my attention away from seeing it (I’m looking at you, Jack Ryan, Stranger Things, etc.) I will get a chance to see it one day but I’m already aware of what the show is about and contains. In a way, the concept reminds me of a TV film/Show that I saw years ago called ‘Fatherland‘ starring the late, great, legendary Rutger Hauer. That too dealt with a world where Nazi Germany won World War II and how the world looked instead of what we are used to today.
The Man in the High Castle: Creating the Alt World | By Mike Avila
Titan Books has published a nice volume entitled ‘The Man In The High Castle: Creating The Alt World‘. It covers all of the show’s four seasons in a fantastic coffee table book written by Mike Avila. The show is inspired by Philip K. Dick’s award-winning novel and offers the world a glimpse into the frightening alternate timeline of Hitler’s victory. It is set in an America which is dominated by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany until the character of Juliana Crain finds a film that could hold a key in toppling the regime. The book starts with a foreword from Sir Ridley Scott, the show’s executive producer. In his writings, Scott recalls his own youth living in Germany between the years of 1947-1952 as the son of a Colonel. He reveals to the world that they lived in a Nazi’s house in the American zone in Frankfurt. He goes into detail about adapting Dick’s novel to the screen. Scott has previous form with the work of the late American author, having directed the author’s ‘Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?‘ otherwise known to the world as ‘Blade Runner‘. We hear from Scott how the show examines what we are in today’s society, about what could have been and how we would deal with it.
The book is split into four sections: the Japanese Pacific States, The Neutral Zone, The Greater Nazi Reich and Alternate Worlds. After our introduction, we are thrust into each of these worlds throughout the pages of the book. Starting off with an in-depth look at San Francisco, we are rewarded with page after page of stunning production art, set photography costume designs alongside cast and crew interviews. As we open the section, we are straight away confronted with a breakdown of the opening sequence. Historical landmarks are seen such as the statue of liberty and Mount Rushmore. Accompanying the behind the scenes and production photographs and storyboard drawings is an in-depth text that goes into detail about every aspect of creating the worlds we will be visiting throughout the show. The advertisements and posters we see adorning the walls of the world we inhabit are presented to us in stunning clarity. Anatomy of scenes we will bear witness to are laid out for us to digest and get to grips with. The wardrobe of the new world is unveiled for us all to see. It is a wonderful look into a totally different world than we are used to.
We come to a profile of the main character Juliana Crain. Played on screen by Alexa Davalos, we are given access to the actress and her thoughts on her character. Ms Davalos was already aware of the work by Philip K. Dick and brought her own feelings to the role. Ms Davalos was at the time of being sent the screenplay considering taking an extended break from the acting profession, only to be blown away by the quality of the script. In her own words, we are taken on a journey through her though processes for the character and who she credits with bringing a great atmosphere to the production.
Throughout the book, we are personally introduced to all the characters and locations we find in the TV show. Nothing is left to chance as we are given full and unedited access to the whole production. From production design through to the costumes and the stunt team and their amazing work, every aspect of the acclaimed show is looked into, with thoughts from everyone involved and their sadness that their roles are drawing to a close. Everyone discusses everything the discerning fan would want to know and leaves almost no question to pass unanswered. Everything from motivation and determination to bring the best version of the novel to the screen is unravelled throughout this enjoying and insightful volume.
Mike Avila has brought us a great book for anyone to enjoy. It caters more to the fans of the show and its characters in reality but anyone who has an interest in the show or what goes into the making of such an ambitious project such as this will be intrigued by what they will discover within the pages of the book. It is an enjoyable book to read through and learn from. Alongside the colourful photographs and such like, the book is one of the better behind the scenes volumes to add to a collection. The cast discusses everything about their respective characters, from costume design, mannerisms and traits through to their emotional output on the screen. The fans of the show will lap the book up as they should. It is a wonderful look inside a top-rated show that sadly has come to its natural end now.
Fans of the show should grab this great book and celebrate what the four seasons they have been granted means to them. The volume is a great stocking filler for everyone to gain pleasure and knowledge from and I recommend it highly.
The Man in the High Castle: Creating the Alt World by Mike Avila is published by Titan Books and is available to buy NOW!
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Indiana Jones and Horror movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!
Editors Note: A big thank you to our friends at Titan Books for the advance review copy.