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Friday, October 12, 2018

Comic Cuts - 12 October 2018

We had some sad family news on Wednesday which has been dominating my thoughts for the past couple of days. A death can lay you low, and there's no shame in that, but it can also lift you up.

That's how I feel about Maureen, known to us as Auntie Maureen but, thanks to a family tree tangled by divorces and re-marriages, actually my step-grandmother. She was one of life's good people. Generous of spirit and time, she cared for her family, friends and community without asking for reward. Hers is a life to be celebrated rather than a death to be mourned.

That wasn't the intro. I had planned. The intro. I had planned was lighter on sentimentality and heavier on Nazis. I've been doing some final checking and revising of the fourth Forgotten Authors book, which means slogging through 70,000 words that I've already discussed in mind-numbing detail. As that's all I've done apart from watch the TV, I need to fall back on what I've been watching to fill this column. And what I've been watching is the third series of The Man In The High Castle, the Amazon Prime adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel.

I've mentioned before how much I like the series. It was not a straight adaptation of the novel, but in keeping with the tone as it told the story of an alternative world in which the Germans successfully bombed Washington with a hydrogen bomb, which ended the war in their favour. By 1962, the USA is split in two, the Japanese controlling the Pacific states while the East Coast has been integrated into the Reich; a Neutral Zone acts as a buffer stretching from Mexico, through the Rocky Mountain states to Canada.

As the season opens, in the East, Obergruppenf├╝hrer John Smith is dealing with the shock that his son, Thomas, suffering from muscular dystrophy, has handed himself in to be killed. In the West, trade minister to the Pacific States of America, Nobusuke Tagomi, has discovered that our reality is just one of many. The rebel Juliana Craine, who seems to be at the nexus of these worlds, is trying to unravel the meaning of a film in which she sees herself killed.

Twenty-two months we've been waiting for season three and it is well worth the wait. It is one of the best science fiction shows currently being screened, at a time when we have some very good SF shows (e.g. Humans, Black Mirror, Westworld, Stranger Things, The Expanse, The Handmaid's Tale) being broadcast. You need to start at the beginning if you've not caught it before, but The Man in the High Castle is well worth the effort... you might even be able to get a free pass to Prime and then cancel it before you have to pay the subscription.

Amazon have produced a couple of other shows I've watched, including The Tick (great) and the recent Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (OK), but they have lots more in the pipeline, including Good Omens, based on the Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman novel due out next year and a trio of shows in development that I'm very excited about: Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebus, Larry Niven's Ringworld and Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. If those three go to series I will be a very happy bunny. (With the caveat that they're good, of course.)

Random scans are a mix of happy and sad...

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