Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Prime Adventure

I think I mentioned how I inadvertently clicked on the wrong button and joined Amazon Prime or rather the free trial of Prime.  I was kind of pissed, but in the end, I decided to try to stream some of the shows that are exclusive to Amazon before cancelling the trial.

It was really very different (and even a bit difficult) for me to be binging on watching television when I truly don't watch it at all.  But there I was watching 2 (and even once 2.5) episodes per night.  In the end, I watched all of season 1 and the first episode of season 2.  I cancelled Prime with about 20 minutes to go before I was going to be charged.  There were definitely some intriguing things about season 2, but I have to say some of the tricks that the writers were relying on were getting on my nerves.  Maybe it is just as well that I stop here and don't go out of my way to try to watch the rest of season 2 or season 3.

Relatively minor SPOILERS follow

I was really getting tired of the Perils of Pauline nature of the show where now 4 different characters (Juliana, Joe, Frank and now Ed) are put incredible danger over and over, and get out of it through the most unlikely of coincidences.  In particular, I thought Frank's methods of getting out of a jam were particularly impossible, and I was frankly getting tired of seeing him on screen.  I also was really tired of the "Is He/Isn't He?" narrative of trying to figure out Joe's real intentions and loyalties.

What I really wanted to see more of was the machinations within the Nippon Building and to a lesser extent in Berlin.  These plots seemed more promising to me, but instead we are going to spend most of our time focusing on the 3 (or 4 if you count Joe) exceptional characters who are drawn into the Resistance.  Finally, there are a couple of smaller points that just rub me the wrong way, such as the Reich outlawing Bibles.  I certainly can't recall that from PDK's novel, and it makes no sense.  Trying to eliminate religion was definitely a line that Hitler wouldn't have crossed.  I also think it a bit unlikely that Hitler would have ultimately honored any pact with the Japanese, though that at least was true to the original novel.  But the idea that Hitler would have given a rat's ass over the bombing of San Francisco just rings so false.  I was practically shouting at my screen when that happened.  I also think that, given the Japanese were "honoring" the Reich's race laws and eliminating Jews (though not as enthusiastically), it seems all but impossible that African Americans wouldn't have been all gassed as well.  Finally, Canada seems to have been a complete anomaly in that, even in the novel, Canada was apparently not conquered by Germany, which makes absolutely no sense.  But in any event, if it were free, then why wouldn't all Jews and Blacks have fled there immediately?

The reality slips that Tagomi experiences seem taken directly from Flow My Tears (rather than The Man in the High Castle).  I suspect the writers would start using this as a crutch, so again, maybe I am leaving at a good time while I still have pretty good feelings about season 1.

One other thing that I did while I had Prime was to order Susan Sontag Essays of the 1960s and 1970s (Library of America).  I've wanted this book for quite a while, though it is a bit annoying that the price never really came down.  Even her collection of later essays sells at a deeper discount.  The first printing of the book had many errors, which were pointed out (by the public no less).  LOA ultimately corrected them, but the ISBN stayed exactly the same, so the only way to know which copy was correct was to look at the copyright page.  I simply couldn't find a seller with a used copy that could guarantee they had the correct version.  A short while back I visited Indigo, and they had the correct version on the shelves, so I assumed the bad copies had finally been purged out of the system, for new copies at any rate.  I also thought (or maybe just hoped) that if I ordered a copy with my Prime membership, Amazon would be slightly more likely to fix the problem if I got a bad copy.  Using some Christmas money, I ordered a copy, which showed up on my last day of Prime membership.  Fortunately, it was the second printing, so I could rest easy and add it to my bookcase.  Maybe this spring, I will start reading through the Sontag essays and some of Joan Didion's as well (though in that case there were no major reported problems with the compilation We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live).

So that's it then.  My Prime membership is over.  Would I do it again?  Probably, but only if I weren't charged for it...

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