Monday, December 28, 2015

TV Review: The Man in the High Castle S1:E4: Revelations

Alana and I are back to talk about The Man in the High Castle Episode 4: Revelations. Watch as some of my worst fears are confirmed.
In case you missed our earlier reviews, here is the list so far:
Stay tuned for another year! Enjoy the last Monday of 2015 everyone.

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Matt Mitrovich is the founder and editor of Alternate History Weekly Update, a blogger on Amazing Stories and a Sidewise Awards for Alternate History judgeWhen not writing he works as an attorney, enjoys life with his beautiful wife Alana and prepares for the day when travel between parallel universes becomes a reality. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and YouTube. Learn how you can support his alternate history projects on Patreon.


  1. In each of your reviews, you critique the portrayal of the Japanese. While I understand your concerns per OTL, this show is not based on actual history. It's based on a novel by PDK and what he thought the Japanese were/would be. In the novel, the Japanese are technologically behind the Germans (who have flown to the moon and Mars), and the whole plot with the trade minister is to get technological/weapons secrets, and the Japanese are afraid of the Germans starting a new war they could not win.

    MHC is a great thought experiment and certainly a pillar of the genre, but it's hardly a stellar example of good alternate history theorizing. It's based on the Great Man of History idea (FDR getting shot), posits that the USSR would just roll over and die (where's Stalin?), and further argues that somehow the Germans drain the entire Mediterranean Sea with nukes(!) to increase farmland acreage (with no ecological repercussions).

    Seriously, there's plenty to critique in the novel as a serious presentation of an alternate WWII scenario. I think the show is trying to keep the sillier aspects of this world out while still remaining true to the basic framework presented by PDK. That's not to say the framework in and of itself is above criticism: I just believe in doling out that criticism fairly to all parties, not simply blaming the show creators/writers for faults that more properly lay with the source material.

    1. Fair enough, the show is an adaptation, not a divergent from history itself. Obviously you need to keep some elements from the original source material even if they are not plausible.

      The problem is that Dick was rather vague about the Japanese's tech level in the book (although it has been a couple years since I last read it, so I could be wrong). In fact, Rudolf Wegener in the book was just supposed to warn Tagomi about the preemptive nuclear strike and suggest who the Japanese should back in the coming civil war, not give them the technology they should have been able to develop on their own given what we know about Japan in WWII. While the Japanese may not have had the German's space technology, we shouldn't assume that means they aren't on par with their rivals in other areas. OTL China has managed to develop a sizable nuclear arsenal (first bomb tested in 1964) and means to deploy it, without matching the Soviets/Russians or Americans in space technology, and they had access to a lot less resources and infrastructure to develop the weapons then ATL Japan.

      To be fair the show has done a good job removing some of the sillier aspects (I always thought draining the Mediterranean was a stupid idea), but the Japanese tech level seems to be an aspect they added themselves.


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