This week I’ve just got started on The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick.
I was turned onto this book after being well and truly, unexpectedly, sucked into the Amazon t.v series of the same name. I never get into any t.v series, ever, and was loath to even give The Man in the High Castle a try, arrogantly assuming it wouldn’t interest me and not wanting to waste my time in front of the tele. About half way through the first episode and I was well and truly hooked. Addicted is not too strong a word to use.
As the layers of mystery began to build up and new layers to the characters emerged, I just knew that I had to get the book and scrutinize this brilliant plot further.
I’m only a couple of short chapters into the book so far so cannot give much of a judgement. What I can say is it is not at all what I expected. For starters there are a lot of differences between the book and the series. The story, for example, picks up in an entirely different place; the series having gone back in time some way to set up the narrative. Also the relationships between some of the characters does not quite match up. The book is far more sophisticated and complex than I was expecting it to be. So far I am finding it reminiscent of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four.
I have been playing around with some ideas for my own dystopian fiction for some time now and was fairly pleased with what I had down so far. The Man in the High Castle has set me back to square one with the harsh realisation of just how lacking my ideas were. Subtleties, sub-plot, deep insight into characters, light and shade. These are all things that I had neglected. Needless to say those ideas have been chucked on the scrap heap. I still plan to write a dystopian novel someday but have now decided to put this on hold whilst I read more of the genre and attempt to mature my ideas considerably. There’s nothing like reading a great book to make you seriously question your own writing! Although, I refuse to give up entirely with the fear of falling short of my idols, but rather I intend to use them as inspiration for my future work.
Keep writing, scrapping, rewriting and improving.