The 7 Reasons Why Amazon is Successful in Video Streaming!

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Two in One , Realistic Dystopia and Deranged Utopia

I will take two examples lower down, The Man in the High Castle and Bosch. Amazon is a success for several reasons.

1- Their video streaming is part of their Prime subscription and as part of this prime subscription it is carried by something wider than just the desire to watch videos or films and it leads to something wider than just watching videos and films: a fully integrated commercial relationship.

2- The basic prime subscription at Amazon gives customers such a privileged position that it is justified by this position and is profitable because of it. It covers all transportation and delivery costs of a tremendous number of products, and there is always a good wide choice for those articles who are prime articles.

3- The basic prime subscription guarantees a tremendously fast delivery from “on the next day” to “as fast as can be” via “as soon as available.” And the delivery can be in your mailbox or some other delivery spot at a collecting point of your choice.

4- But the main argument for these videos, theses films, these series, is that the original products signed Amazon are very systematically based on the work of an original author, hence on a literary work of quality, relayed later on by a real team of TV authors to serialize the stories — and expand the stories.

5- There are a few series working like that on common television or channel TV. I can think of Dexter for one example with an original literary author behind, though this series-type is one case or nearly one case per episode, with some longer lines running behind a few episodes and emerging from time to time. Then you can think of the TV series Prison Break or Lost that have one long story that is central, essential and fundamental with some particular circumanstances in each episode but you cannot miss one episode without missing something in the wider picture.

6- Amazon apparently chose a mixture of the two: one main single story per season, a story that comes to an end in the season; some side events, connected most of the time, unconnected at times; some longer situations and stories running from one season to the next. But the main character is the creation of Michael Connelly, and the TV series devlopment of the character is the result of the work of a team of authors.

7- That gives a perfect result with Bosch. But it also gives a perfect result with The Man in the High Castle, a series that uses the exact same procedure. Here is my coverage of these two series. I will soon bring together the coverage of mine concerning series like Prison Break, Lost and Dexter. If you are really interested in series you can also check “Supernatural” Car Chase or Joy Ride? Kindle Edition, by Jacques Coulardeau (Author),‎ Ivan Eve (Author),‎ Annunzio Coulardeau (Illustrator), ASIN: B00C3ODA0S

That’s why Amazon video is going to be a tremendous success: it will make viewers regular customers since they will have to get the prime subscription to really benefit from the best price/quality/value relationship with Amazon Video.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

BOSCH

This series is based on two crimes or two criminals and one victim for the first one and many victims for the second one.

The first one will manage to escape the police and any prosecution because of the twenty or so years that elapsed between the crime and the present possible prosecution, and other small technicalities. The murderer walks free out of custody.

The second one — and main one — is playing with the police, with Bosch himself too little by little makes it a personal chase, hunt and to attract Bosch into a place where he will be shot dead because of the gun he is pointing at the detective, though afterward the gun will be revealed as being empty, not loaded, hence harmless.

We actually know the end of both cases from the very start, at least if we know a little bit about American law and American justice. We must also know a little bit about profiling. A serial killer is finding his pleasure in his murders and in his escaping the police and justice, hence direct scrutiny though he enjoys media coverage. That’s the main difference with a mass murderer who wants his actions to be seen and himself to be seen and admired, or hated, it does not really matter which. So a serial killer who starts begging for being recognized and seen and who then enters a systematic and total chase and hunt, a sort of competition with the police or one particular individual in the police, has to be caught because he wants to be caught and he wants to be killed by the police because that’s true sacrifice that justifies his whole quest. He does not enjoy killing anymore but he enjoys the perspective of being killed by the police in his last stand against the world. He is a predator caught in his very last stand against the hunters who have been tracking him.

But this series is a little more complicated at other levels. We are in Los Angeles and this is one city that is crucial in modern times because it is a big microcosm that may explain the macrocosm of the USA.

First, we have the inner functioning of the police department of this city. The top chief of police is appointed by the mayor of Los Angeles, and this one is elected by the people. Hence the Chief of police or the one who wants to be the chief of police has better be on the side of the winning mayoral candidate. That reveals that such top jobs are politically dominated. This is in many ways a mistake but it is the way it works over there. Note it is slightly better than having the chief of police, or sheriff or marshal elected by the people since then it is populism and demagogy first with the majority “group” in the population, be it racial, sexual, economic or whatever.

Second, the inside functioning of this enormous machine is the very negation of any logic and reasonable conception of things. It is ambition everywhere. It is social climbing all the time. And on the other side it is constant menace and endangered defense on the side of the underlings and of course the constant attempt to just do what will satisfy the sharks on top who are constantly after you because in such a situation a “chief” can only work if he has an “enemy” in front of him or her. We are dealing here with a perverted hierarchical two-tier system: you are at the top or you are nothing since just plain under. And that works at all levels of this hierarchy.

Third, though this is more or less secondary, the justice system of the USA appears at this level of state justice, hence local justice and not federal justice, as being thoroughly perverted by some regulations that enables any judge to reject some evidence just on the basis of any technicality either in the nature of the evidence or in the police work that led to getting this evidence to the court. The second absolute dictatorship of this system is the compulsory jury in most criminal cases or even civil cases. Then the prosecutor or the defense counselor have to think twice before any question or act since they have to satisfy the jury and that comes with a fair amount of populism and flattery. That gives to the District Attorney an enormous power though he has to be elected and that requires a lot of ^popular flattery to the people and all juries come from these people and represents them.

You just add to this the particular divorced life of Bosch and the growing pains of a nearly fifteen-year-old daughter and you can imagine the mess of this Bosch in such a cesspool of a professional and family life.

The action then is just nicely dynamic and sufficiently violent to be slightly gut-gripping. Bosch as the son of a single mother who was a prostitute who was killed when he was twelve throwing him into foster care and other juvenile punishing institution with what he calls the “trunk” where rebellious incarcerated children were systematically beaten. That leads to the worst possible vision of humanity. We are dogs and in us, we have two different dogs. One is good, the other is bad. The one you feed in the end is the one who wins. And then Bosch can explain that he and the serial killing psychopath he is chasing since both were incarcerated in the same juvenile institution with the same trunk, they diverged in the end: he, the detective or police officer, chose the good dog; the serial killing psychopath chose the bad dog. That’s primitive thinking and a barbaric social vision. But that’s how Trump sees the world. I just wonder what is the trunk in which such binary, “bipolar” people have been locked up when young to produce such a caricature of life.

But that is in total agreement with the theme song of the series “Can’t Let Go” by the group Caught A Ghost.

Corn sugar and caffeine
I feel my body in two different places
Still playing for both teams
Sometimes it feels I was born with two faces

I feel the smoke climbing up my cheeks
I hear the jokes and I smell the punchlines
I lay broken in my bed for weeks
My room’s too dark and my bed’s on the fault line

I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
Can’t let go

Sing a song about heartbreak
What do you know about the sweet taste of sadness?
I got a name for each one of my headaches
What do you know about the thin line to madness?

I need a new part with new lines
Anything if it’s good for your head
You can donate your heart to science
But it won’t bring you back from the dead

I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
I got a feeling that I can’t let go
Can’t let go

You’ll find the sweetness
You’ll find the sweetness
Like me
Sweetness
Like me
Like me

Songwriters: Jesse O’Brien Nolan

Can’t Let Go lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Caught A Ghost is an indie electro-soul band based in Los Angeles, California; The band is a new project from Los Angeles singer, songwriter, and producer Jesse Nolan and kindergarten classmate Stephen Edelstein on drums. Their debut album, Human Nature, was released 1 April 2014.

That’s what happens when one is entirely dominated by if not enslaved to one’s own feelings, convictions, unthought and unthinkable deeper motivations that do not listen to any reason or reasonable and sensible elaboration but only to the gut feeling that is the basis of all racism, supremacy and supremacist behavior. Let such a person capture a majority of the electorate and you have a dictator in the making, a white tornado or hurricane building up in the community, in the country.

The old cold-standing case of the murder of Bosch’s mother when he was young and she was a prostitute becomes solved. A phone call, a visit to a dying old woman who was a friend and colleague to Bosch’s mother, a pseudo, a hotel, a room number, then an old register book from this hotel and some discrete inquiry in the narcotics service of LAPD and he finds the real name of the pseudo, and then some leverage and he finds where he is and is supposed to be. The case can be solved, and closed.

The main central case of this season is the killing of a pornography film producer who is, in fact, laundering money with bonds and other manipulations under the radar from Las Vegas where he resides and Hollywood where he more or less works. The money is not clean and when you are dealing with drug money or casino money you have to be careful. He is not and steals from the drug dealer and other illegal financiers. Bad Boy. Dead. At the same time, his wife who is only after her money and would like to get rid of the husband but in a clean way so that she can keep the money is surrounded by a gang of ex-cops and rotten cops for her security. She may have used them too in the field, which means two masterminds for one killing, or more. Dangerous.

The drug dealer wants to get his millions back. The widow wants to get the millions, full stop. But the pornographer was going around with a younger girl and he was getting ready to divorce the marital climber who would have gotten little, and marry the younger one. He deposited a big box full of several million dollars in a bank under his name and her name. As soon as he was killed the young girl gets the box and the millions out in a suitcase, gets some refuge time in an Armenian Catholic church in LA, and finally, disappears.

You can imagine the wife, the band of rotten cops and ex-cops plus the narcotics dealers all meeting outside the bank on the day the wife can finally ask for the bank deposit box to be open so that she can recuperate the money. Quite a few dead people on the ground and a couple who escape too. The wife manages to get out of custody easily since she did not do anything illegal, but she learns about the Armenian church and that is slightly iffy.

She kills the priest who refuses to give her back the money, the little share he actually managed to get from the girl he helped. Then we can let her live the aftermath of it in prison and in court. That might not be that easy to manage to convince her for anything.

On the side, his ex-wife being kidnapped with their daughter by a band of narcotics dealers in Las Vegas, some kind of a hardly professional subset of criminals, Bosch cuts it short fast and takes his ex-wife and their daughter to Los Angeles for a few days. He has some information that could help an FBI case be solved. Since his wife has been approached to spy on him, he proposes her to “steal” the information the FBI might appreciate having, and sure enough, the case is closed and the ex-wife manages to get a recommendation to be reinstated in the FBI. She has to solve the problem she has been developing with her current “boyfriend.” Their affair has come to an end but she is slightly too vain and too proud to admit it. But if she is reinstated in the FBI she will have to do something about it.

On the other side of rottenness, the election for mayor of Los Angeles is going on. The incumbent is a Latino who does not have a chance to win and would prefer dropping out of it. The main challenger is the white deputy District Attorney, an Irishman by name, who is not very competent except in giving orders that become very dangerous when implemented. The deputy chief of police is a black man and his son manages to be shot within his undercover operation to infiltrate the network of rotten cops and ex-cops when the main man in this network finds out he is wired through his watch. Bosch will get the chap and clean up the plate after the out-of-the-bank shooting. But in the meantime, the incumbent Mayor appoints the deputy chief of police in the top job with the understanding that he will resign after a while after having appointed a Latino in the deputy position so that when he resigned this Latino will be able to be appointed chief of police. White supremacy at times has some strange sidelines.

This series is good because of the rather clear unity of a season. It is also interesting because all elements are connected, be they personal or professional or circumstantial. Nothing is outside the main tense and dense atmosphere of the police and the criminals. Some may regret there is little about the rest of the world, but it gives the series a palatable and drinkable cocktail taste that is not a mixture of badly blended elements, like too much lemon juice and a lot of sugar to cover it up.

You will enjoy the title song of course. It hasn’t changed, nor the opening credits with their inverted half frames. We can rest a little before getting to the third season where a few things and a few people are going to change.

The Third season is centered on a team of ex-military people from special forces, decorated and all who became US-military-money, embezzlers. They hi-jacked money in Afghanistan and also all kinds of goods, including weapons, that they sold on the black market in the US. A fairly complicated system that gets money and goods out of the way in Afghanistan and then repatriates it illegally on various military transport planes back to the USA for black market exploitation. This case is closed up by Bosch but with a lot of effort from others, effort and pain, wounds and spilled blood. It reveals that military dependency among some over-trained elite special forces is so strong that they can move from the war battlefields to criminal life as if they were one and only one. Yet one of them is the officer, the commanding officer and when the other members of the team feel that commanding officer is cheating them in a way or another, in military terms they would say betray them, then they will not rebel, not kill him. They can’t because of his rank and their military subservient obedience, but they will definitely trap the commanding officer before he kills them, because they know the betrayer is also a killer and that they have to accept to submit to his command, even if it is to die or be executed.

The second case that is solved is the murder of Edward Gunn and this murder leads to the main culprit, the brain of the whole case which has to do with using prostitutes slightly violently which means they are killed by that rough intercourse because the real pleasure of the pervert is to have that intercourse with a dead body they have just killed and is still warm. But the brain of that network of perverse killers is a filmmaker and he has to decide to get rid of one member of the network because he has become sloppy and also slightly overzealous in his killing spree or sprees. But the filmmaker has been chased by Bosch. So he will manage the whole thing so that Bosch will become a person of interest, if not the main suspect. He overdoes it in a way by inserting in the crime scene an owl which is a direct allusion to the Renaissance painter Hieronymus Bosch. Too subtle to be true. The filmmaker must have watched Seven too often. This subtlety leads to curiosity, and then to pointing out a cultivated brain that cannot be the underlings who have as much culture as an army of snails.

What is surprising is that the Los Angeles PD does not seem to be using profilers that would enable them to narrow their chases and to become one-pointed, which is the only guarantee they will not waste their time on side-cases, on side-tracks, on fake possibilities. And it is true they do waste a lot of time and effort beating about the bush and running around. This also lets the various detectives alone in front of the cases they work on. There is no leading force. And the natural shortcoming of human nature comes back all the time: hostility, competition, jealousy, suspicion, ambition, social climbing and grade climbing, etc., among the various members of the department. And this is all the more effective in ruining the effectiveness of the teams when we take into account the political pressure on the Police Department, the vanity of those who have rank and want to control and command all those under them with just plain authority and no real police work or police thinking. Not to speak of the political dimension, since he is elected, of the Attorney General in his office and position who wants to make things easier, with many deals, saving court time and court cost, etc., all perfect arguments to win his re-election, or at times an election to a higher job like Mayor or Los Angeles.

Then the personal dimension of police work for the individuals who are in the Police Department, but also for their families, spouses, and children, is often reduced to a side effect of police work that cannot be avoided and that typically comes from fear which is a normal human reaction, so they say at least, from women as wives and from children. This is an obvious sexist position because fear is not really human, and spouses should be supportive instead of being “hostile” when it is not even purely aggressive more or less blackmailing the cop in the family. It is difficult to explain to kids what it means to kill someone, even if he is a criminal. It is difficult to explain anyone that there must be people who are ready to even sacrifice their own lives for the security of the community.

But it is true the press, and other media, are not helping since they systematically put on the public place things that should be nicely hushed up, not erased or totally banned, but muted down. In the name of the freedom of expression they even at times put many officers and policemen in danger by revealing their identities and the details of their operations. That’s far beyond simply blowing whistles about police brutality, police illegal action, and even police corruption. In fact, they make police work more complicated, more difficult and more dangerous. It is true along that line that the fact the various branches of police work have little communication among one another does not simplify police work since it is quite common to have some police officers confronted to some covert underground and unpublicized police operations leading to one policeman arresting another when it is not shooting to kill. Absurd and yet quite common.

This third season keeps some cases and situations unsolved, which is normal since then there will be a fourth season.

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

The novel from which this TV series is adapted is an old dystopic novel of 1962, entirely positioned in an alternative world in same year. But first of all let’s speak of the novel itself.

This book is an old book, in fact a classic, rather confidential at the time of its first publication and even when recently republished because of its theme, but it has been brought to new awareness in the public because Amazon has just decided to produce an adaptation of it for video streaming. Is it a good decision to bring it back to fame, because it will be fame this time? We’ll see right now why it should not have been kept more or less confidential for more than fifty years.

The genre is difficult because it is RETROSPECTIVE SCIENCE FICTION. Science fiction is supposed to imagine what the future will be or may be according to one or two parameters that are changed in our present in absolute or relative value. Of course you can cheat the way “Back to the Future” did at least three times, and we may regret it does not go on at least one more time, but things are what they are and life is a truck full of manure as we all know. Here the author imagines in 1961–62 what the world would have been if in 1945 Germany and Japan had won the war. It is the basic hypothesis so many people work in their minds or in bar and saloon discussions: what the world would be if… And there is no limit to these IF’s. As they say in Paris the Eiffel Tower could be put in a bottle if… and the same for the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building in New York if …, and for the >Washington Monument in Washington DC if … And after every presidential election in the world people imagine what it would be or would have been if the loser had won. Follow my eyes and read my lips.

But what is the main and basic interest of this book?

First the world is cut in two with Japan on one side and Germany on the other side. The Communists have disappeared due to a strict eradication of all Slavs by Germany. The racial problem has also disappeared by the elimination of all black people in the world and first of all in Africa by Germany. In the same way the holocaust of Jews was continued though here the Japanese refused to cooperate. Imagine the world without Black people even in Africa, with maybe a few survivors surviving since it would be their only function as absolute slaves to be used, and abused, by any one of a paler complexion including children and even babies. I regret the book does not expand on this subject as much as it does on Jews, and particularly the few Jews who managed to get out of the influence of Germany and be de facto protected by the Japanese.

But the most frightening part is that Germany is in the hands of the few people who were leading Germany in the war. In spite of the fact that Hitler is dead in 1961, it is his direct lieutenants and underlings that have taken over and are fighting for dominance, Goebbels first of all. The book is quite explicit on what happens in such a totalitarian state that is like a pot with a dozen spiders locked up in it who can only manipulate the crowds of people through the glass wall that protects them (the leaders only) and of course they have their legions outside that can eliminate all those who have to be eliminated for the dominating underling(s) to remain dominant, and at the same time these legions can go on some blood baths of their own for the fun of shedding and drinking the red stuff we call blood and they call a delicatessen though the Jews would consider it to be the soul of man, the divine part of man.

And yet the book is fascinating for other reasons. It explores the very contemplative and oracular culture of the Japanese who have some kind of portable oracle in two volumes they consult regularly to know the meaning of the present and try to cope with the future. It provides the believers with Hexagrams that are both sibylline and enlightening in the shape of Haikus of six or about six lines. But the inner psychology of these Japanese is explored in depth: contemplative, extremely civil and polite, courteous and maybe even servile, but never revealing their true feelings and avoiding expressing any emotion and sensation. Cold for sure and yet tremendously empathetic, but unexpressed and unaired empathy. It is this very quality that makes them resist the German Nazis because they are able to communicate with the deepest forces in the universe, what every geological element carries, atomic forces and the power of any design, the design of molecules, or human-created designs and there we have a tremendous surprise. Two people launch a jewelry production unit in San Francisco and the main worker of the two is a Jew running incognito under a false name and under the de facto protection of the Japanese, a little bit more at the end of the book. And it is this Jew who is the creative jeweler, the creative artist, the craftsman who is producing with his hands the world of tomorrow as the Japanese main character tells us over and over again.

That would symbolically tell us the German Nazis tried to eradicate the Jews because they represented the future and the Nazis represent the past. Simple, symbolical but is it really cathartic? There I cannot answer because anti-Semitism is slightly more complex than just a simile or a metaphor. It has to do with the fear that developed somewhere in the Middle East some 10,000 years ago in the vast confrontation of three cultures emerging from the ice age and trying to invent the future of the planet: The Turkic peoples, the Semitic peoples and the Indo-European (Sumerian) peoples. We are still living on that heritage, the heritage of an anthropological rivalry that became the differentiation of three linguistic families, and of three cultures with three religions, and what’s more the Semitic community got split in two along a social differentiation (exploiter and exploited) and a religious antagonism (Judaism and Islam). Christianity is the third religion branching out of Judaism and it is more or less assumed as part of the European, hence Nazi definition. The Christian religion is vastly absent from the book.

Of course in this book the Arabs and beyond them the Muslims are totally ignored and unconsidered, being replaced by the fourth human group that never had any role to play in the previous triad, the Buddhist and Confucian human family who are also from another linguistic family, isolating languages, here represented by the Japanese. That’s the main element that is absent from this book. Northern Africa, Egypt were essential at the end of the Second World War and still enormously influential in 1962, but yet the Arabs and Muslims are just not considered at all. That’s the shortcoming of the book in our modern times because since 1960–62 it is the community that has emerged most strongly from the initial triad and today the Asian isolating family is no longer represented by Japan but China. But of course this book did not aim at telling us its future which is our present, but only the present in 1961 if …

The last element I would like to show is that the book has no end, precisely because of what I have just said. It does not open on the future in 1961 so it cannot have any end. It is coming to several open-ended dead ends, open-ended because we can imagine what we like, but dead ends since it does not tell us anything about what may happen after 1961. That’s the doom of retrospective science fiction. It is dramatic, frightening but at the same time it leads to no vision of the future. It is some kind of castrated science fiction that cannot tell us anything about our real world, the world of the real readers of the book, particularly those who read it a long time after the writing time. And that’s where the video adaptation will be fascinating since it will have to be adapted for today’s and tomorrow’s publics. But we’ll have to wait for it to be available in the whole world to add a paragraph, in fact a few paragraphs, to this review.

Let the few who can access the video adaptation celebrate! God Bless the Child! (Review published on December 23, 2015, See further down for the original)

The TV Series, the Blessed Child I have just mentioned, whose first two seasons are only available so far, is an expanded vision and the expansion seems to be changing quite a few details, especially since television must be visually acceptable and it does not have to be logically or even concretely possible. The Man in the High Castle is apparently making disturbing films that describe the world the way it developed after the victory in WW2 against Germany and Japan and his “studio” is a big warehouse somewhere in the San Francisco area, at least till he decides to move on and to torch his film producing “high castle.” We are not told then where he decides to move to.

The second remark is that the TV series can easily jump from San Francisco and the Japanese Pacific states, to New York and the Greater Nazi Reich and to Berlin, the capital of this Greater Nazi Reich. To enable this, some characters have to be invented and the series becomes the story of these characters.

In San Francisco the central character is Juliana Crain who moves to the Neutral Zone, a buffer zone between the Japanese Pacific States and the Greater Nazi Reich, in fact Canon City, Colorado, after her sister is killed by the Japanese police, leaving her partner Frank Frink behind. She will come back and later she will move to New York as a refugee from the Pacific States where she is wanted by the Japanese. Frank Frink is also essential in San Francisco because of the role he plays little by little with the resistance against the Japanese. Frank is surrounded by several other characters and he is very complex since he is connected to the Japanese mafia who manages to liberate him and later his friend Ed McCarthy from the accusation of having shot the Japanese Crown Prince, though it was done by a Nazi agent. And on the Japanese side you have one more character (apart from the police and the general organizing the production of an atom bomb), the Trade Minister who is lost between the reality of these Japanese Pacific States, the recollection of his wife before this time (she is dead) and for him the alternative world of Kennedy’s USA in 1962 and the Cuban crisis with the Soviet missiles. He is able to navigate from one level to the other thanks to some kind of typical Zen meditation.

San Francisco then is divided between the Resistance, the Japanese and the Americans who try to survive and strive in this colonized situation, with the Neutral Zone behind and direct bus lines used by the Japanese to transport uranium from the Neutral Zone to San Francisco, unprotected and thus killing all the “American” passengers, which does not count for anything for the Japanese since they are “American” and this ruse enables the uranium to be transported unnoticed by the Germans.

New York is not in any way simpler since it has been totally expurgated like Europe of all the Semites, meaning the Jews, and of all the Blacks since all Africans have been sent back to Africa which is a big German colony, meaning a slave territory for all kinds of work. The main Nazi master of New York and the American Nazi states is a certain SS Obergruppenführer John Smith, and his family. We discover them from the inside because of Juliana Crain who is integrated into the Nazi elite by John Smith himself because he thinks she has some inner information about the resistance and the man in the high castle. The Nazi Reich practices total eugenics and John Smith’s son has the genetic disease John Smith’s brother had. He has to be eliminated. But John Smith is cheating with the system with the plan of sending his son on a patriotic trip in Latin America where he will be kidnapped by some “Semites” and thus will be able to remain alive.

But John Smith is trying to get another young person, Joe Blake, into the position of a special agent but it is difficult because when Joe Blake was sent to Canon City in Colorado he came across Juliana and another Nazi agent who had the order to get the film she was transporting and kill her. Joe Blake saves her and the result is the death of the Nazi agent and the delivery of the film (in fact two because Joe Blake was also transporting one to enter in contact with the resistance) to the resistance represented locally by a black man, Lem Washington. And after that “encounter” entirely based on unshared secrets they go their separate ways though the next mission of Joe Blake will take him to San Francisco to recuperate another film and he will escape the Japanese police thanks to Juliana who manages him to be taken on a boat to Mexico, and he will escape the resistance thanks to a Nazi bribe of the resistance people on the boat who are transporting him to Mexico, but the bribe delivered by air is poisoned and the black people on the boat will all die, both as criminals and as black people, hence duly eliminated from the surface of the earth. The Nazis seem to be waiting for the death of Hitler to seize power, or rather to start fighting to seize power. Himmler started too early so he is killed by Smith. But Hitler does die and the power chase starts.

Berlin is of course the heart of the Nazi Reich and we discover it by following Joe Blake there. He is summoned to Berlin by his father, the main minister of the Reich, and he discovers little by little who he is. Not only the son of his mother who eloped to New York with him, but the genetically selected son of both his parents who could have been raised in a special institution to produce the next generation of SS fighters if his mother had not escaped away from Berlin, probably though not entirely clear with the assent of the father who was already an important character in the Nazi regime. He thus discovers his birth place and early infancy institution (closed by then in 1962) with his father, who he hates. But his father puts a young woman his age and coming from the same selective program as him, and the chemistry of hormones and common experience brings them together and though at first he wants to go back to New York where he has a life partner and a son, he decides against his father’s will, after he had been appointed acting Chancellor waiting for the official announcement of Hitler’s death, to stay and be sworn into the SS. He thus endorses the role he was playing in one of the films he has actually viewed and delivered to the Nazis: in this film he is an SS officer who shot the surviving resisting people after San Francisco is flattened by an atom bomb, and among those he shot there was Frank and several other people we have met.

In our present times of tension between the USA and Asia (not only North Korea but the whole of Asia, including Russia of course) the debate about the use of nuclear weapons to conquer the half of America either the Japanese or the Nazis have or do not have is particularly welcome. In the film the Germans already have atom bombs, but the Japanese have to build one and they received the blue print of such a device from a German high-ranking officer who betrayed the Nazi Reich, in the name of equilibrium, peace and the deterring power of nuclear weapons, under a fake British identity and then a fake Japanese diplomatic visa. He was captured in New York by John Smith. The series is slightly light on the question of the use of nuclear weapons that have not been used yet in the dystopic world, though the Japanese Trade Minister in his “trip” to our real world in 1962 discovers about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They deal with nuclear warfare in the dystopic world as a matter of need: strike first and conquer the Pacific States, first meaning before the Japanese have a nuclear weapon of their own. Of course the real world of 1962 and the possible use of nuclear weapons against Cuba is set in parallel with the dystopic world. There is a peace movement in the USA against the use of nuclear weapons in Kennedy’s time, but there is no peace movement in the dystopic world, just a resistance that is not really concerned by the use of nuclear weapons and on the Nazi side the inner conflict to seize power after Hitler’s death.

We have to think twice about this debate. Only terroristic and dictatorial regimes can actually use nuclear weapons in the TV series, and yet it is the USA who used such weapons twice in our real history. True enough Truman had not been elected President but only Vice-President under Roosevelt. But will a fully elected President of the USA use nuclear weapons against a country that has managed to develop such nuclear weapons and the ICBM necessary to deliver them who knows where? Will a fully elected President of the USA take the risk of a nuclear war just because one little country is challenging his narcissistic authority? I will not answer these questions. Only history will answer them though it is obvious for anyone who is not a narcissistic person that negotiating is always, absolutely always better than using force: think of Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria to wonder what two wars started to answer a foolish terrorist attack from Al Qaeda have led to. Certainly not a viable and sustainable democratic and peaceful situation and the coming decade or even decades will not solve the “problem” and bring things back to “normal.”

In short then a visionary novel turned into a deeply reflexive series that we should all watch to just ponder on the question of the use of force and forceful ideologies to conquer the world rather than the use of negotiations to develop and improve the same world.

This book is an old book, in fact a classic, rather confidential at the time of its publication and even recently for a classic because of its theme, but it has been brought to new awareness in the public because Amazon has just decided to produce an adaptation of it for video streaming. Is it a good decision to bring it back to fame, because it will be fame this time? We’ll see right now why it should not have been kept more or less confidential for more than fifty years.

The genre is difficult because it is retrospective science fiction. Science fiction is supposed to imagine what the future will be or may be according to one or two parameters that are changed in our present. Of course you can cheat the way “Back to the Future” did at least three times and we regret it does not go on at least one more time, but things are what they are and life is a truck full of manure as we all know. Here the author imagines in 1961–62 what the world would have been if in 1945 Germany and Japan had won the war. It is the basic hypothesis so many people work in their minds or in bar and saloon discussions: what the world would be if… And there is no limit to these IF’s. As they say in Paris the Eiffel Tower could be put in a bottle if… and the same for the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building in New York if … And after every presidential election in the world people imagine what it would be or have been if the loser had won.

But what is the main and basic interest of this book?

First the world is cut in two with Japan on one side and Germany on the other side. The Communists have disappeared due to a strict eradication of all Slavs by Germany. The racial problem has also disappeared by the elimination of all black people in the world and first of all in Africa by Germany. In the same way the holocaust of Jews was continued though here the Japanese refused to cooperate. Imagine the world without Black people even in Africa, with maybe a few survivors surviving since it would be their only function as absolute slaves to be used, and abused, by any one of a paler complexion including children and even babies. I regret the book does not expand on this subject as much as it does on Jews and the few Jews who managed to get out of the influence of Germany and be de facto protected by the Japanese.

But the most frightening part is that Germany is in the hands of the few people who were leading Germany in the war. In spite of the fact that Hitler is dead in 1961, it is his direct lieutenants and underlings that have taken over and are fighting for dominance, Goebbels first of all. The book is quite explicit on what happens in such a totalitarian state that is like a pot with a dozen spiders locked up in it who can only manipulate the crowds of people through the glass wall that protects them (the leaders only) and of course they have their legions outside that can eliminate all those who have to be eliminated for the dominating underling(s) to remain dominant, and at the same time these legions can go on some blood baths of their own for the fun of shedding and drinking the red stuff we call blood and they call a delicatessen though the Jews would consider it to be the soul of man, the divine part of man.

And yet the book is fascinating for other reasons. It explores the very contemplative and oracular culture of the Japanese who have some kind of portable oracle in two volumes they consult regularly to know the meaning of the present and try to cope with the future. It provides the believers with Hexagrams that are both sibylline and enlightening in the shape of Haikus of six or about six lines. But the inner psychology of these Japanese is explored in depth: contemplative, extremely civil and polite, courteous and maybe even servile, but never revealing their true feelings and avoiding expressing any emotion and sensation. Cold for sure and yet tremendously empathetic, but unexpressed and unaired empathy. It is this very quality that makes them resist the German Nazis because they are able to communicate with the deepest forces in the universe, what every geological element carries, atomic forces and the power of any design be it natural, the design of molecules, or human-created and there we have a tremendous surprise. Two people launch a jewelry production unit in San Francisco and the main worker of the two is a Jew running incognito under a false name and under the de facto protection of the Japanese, a little bit more at the end of the book. And it is this Jew who is the creative jeweler, the creative artist, the craftsman who is producing with his hands the world of tomorrow as the Japanese main character tells us over and over again.

That would symbolically tell us the German Nazis tried to eradicate the Jews because they represented the future and the Nazis represent the past. Simple, symbolical but is it really cathartic? There I cannot answer because anti-Semitism is slightly more complex than just a simile or a metaphor. It has to do with the fear that developed somewhere in the Middle East some 10,000 years ago in the vast confrontation of three cultures emerging from the ice age and trying to invent the future of the planet: The Turkic peoples, the Semitic peoples and the indo-European (Sumerian) peoples. We are still living on that heritage, the heritage of an anthropological rivalry that became the differentiation of three linguistic families, and of three cultures with three religions, and what’s more the Semitic community got split in two along a social differentiation (exploiter and exploited) and a religious antagonism (Judaism and Islam).

Of course in this book the Arabs and beyond them the Muslims are totally ignored and unconsidered, being replaced by the fourth human group that never had any role to play in the previous triad, the Buddhist and Confucian human family who are also from another linguistic family, the isolating family, here represented by the Japanese. That’s the main element that is absent from this book. Northern Africa, Egypt was essential at the end of the war but then the Arabs and Muslims are just not considered at all. That’s the shortcoming of the book in our modern times because since 1960–62 it is the community that has emerged most strongly from the initial triad and today the Asian isolating family is no longer represented by Japan but China. But of course this book did not aim at telling us its future which is our present, but only the present in 1961 if…

The last element I would like to show is that the book has no end, precisely because of what I have just said. It does not open on the future in 1961 so it cannot have any end. It is coming to several open-ended dead ends, open-ended because we can imagine what we like, but dead ends since it does not tell us anything about what may happen after 1961. That’s the doom of retrospective science fiction. It is dramatic, frightening but at the same time it leads to no vision of the future. It is some kind of castrated science fiction that cannot tell us anything about our real world, the world of the real readers of the book, particularly those who read it a long time after the writing time. And that’s where the video adaptation will be fascinating since it will have to be adapted for today’s and tomorrow’s publics. But we’ll have to wait for it to be available in the whole world to add a paragraph to this review.

Let the few who can access the video adaptation celebrate! God less the Child!

Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU

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Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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