Science Fiction

Jump In The Urinal And Stand On Your Head. I'm The One That's Alive. You're All Dead.

|

Our friends from Frolix 8 have a recurring feature worth noting: "Which Philip K. Dick Story Are We In Today?" Your options for March 28:

Vulcan's Hammer"Just like in the real world it can take 20 to 30 thousand generations before the system finds the perfect design to solve the problem, but this will happen in just a few seconds…"

Sales Pitch"But there is something incredibly boring and sad about giant companies who constantly chase the fleeing tailcoats of the latest Internet trends."

A Scanner Darkly"The state tells its people that the cameras are there for their benefit and to prevent crime, but the crime they are preventing is insurrection."

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said"The way in which the list is being used goes far beyond contexts in which it has a link to national security."

Solar Lottery"These 3D models would be physical entities, not holograms. You could touch them and interact with them, just as if the originals were in the room with you."

The Simulacra"In order to prove to us you are not a robot, select the three hot people…"

[Via bOING bOING.]

Advertisement

NEXT: Going, Going, Gonzalez...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I know it is not in the list, I vote for “V for Vendetta”.

  2. Just curious. Are there other, libertarian decoder ring wearing, sci-fi reading, certified geeks, that don’t think Philip K Dick is all that insightful or engrossing?

  3. I feel no need to explain my art to you, Warren.

  4. PKD has more to say about the future everyday. He should be required reading in schools to cushion the blow of future shock. Forget all the crap movies* and get to the actual books. His throwaway lines and ideas are enough for lesser wirters to hang whole novels on: Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch‘s Dr. Smile, a suitcase psychiatrist that attempts to convince the protagonist that he’s is insane so he can get a deferment out of migrating to a craptacular planet. The coin-operated front door to Joe Chip’s apartment in Ubik. A planet that uses orange marmalade as currency…

    In reference to the headline: The PKD adapted screenplay for Ubik is hard to get a hold of, but is fantastic. (My wife is an awesome X-Mas presenter.)

    *Scanner Darkly was fairly good, but they ruined the ending and Blade Runner was too influence by the emerging cyberpunk trend top really get at what PKD was trying to say.

  5. SugarFree: Let’s not forget that the emerging cyberpunk trend managed to ruin Johnny Neumonic, it’s no surprise that they consistently fuck up something like PKD.

  6. Scanner Darkly was fairly good, but they ruined the ending and Blade Runner was too influence by the emerging cyberpunk trend top really get at what PKD was trying to say.

    I’d say Blade Runner did more to set the trend than to follow it. At any rate, there’s one more PKD adaptation worth mentioning: Barjo, a French film based on Confessions of a Crap Artist.

  7. Warren,

    There’s not much for a libertarian to really hang his hat on in PKD. Dick was pretty much a squishy Bay Area 60’s liberal and his politics bleeds fairly subtly into his books when you consider he was practically a Red Diaper baby. If they don’t do much for you, I can understand. It’s fairly unstable fiction and extremely paranoid. That is a literary distaste I can understand…

    For those who are interested, I highly recommend the Lawrence Sutin biography: Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick. He was as interesting a character as any he ever wrote.

  8. Jesse Walker,

    I forgot about Barjo.

    You’re right about Blade Runner and cyberpunk. Some of the early (eventually called) cyberpunk material had already been published (Shockwave Rider,The Girl Who Was Plugged In, True Names, early Sprawl stories from Gibson) but none of them really established the BR future that became the cyberpunk cliche.

    What I can never understand is why they left out what is possibly the best scene in the novel. Decker is captured by a police officer who drags him to a police station he has never seen before and proceeds to administer a different “are-you-human” test than the Voight-Kampff empathy test seen int he movie. Decker fails and the officer plan to kill him. They are all androids who think they are humans and kill humans who they think are androids because they administer a test that humans fail.

  9. …Blade Runner was too influence by the emerging cyberpunk…

    I believe that it is the other way around.

  10. And of course the ever brilliant Jesse Walker beat me to the punch. 🙂

    And sugarfree agrees with him.

  11. I like PKD quite a bit, though I don’t read him to bolster my libertarian views.

    As for what story I’m in today, I’m living in a High Castle.

    Everyone who pointed out that Bladerunner helped launch the cyberpunk movement and not the other way around is correct. Also, although the movie was a poor adaptation of Dick, it was a danged good movie, anyway. That’s a rarity.

  12. Anyway, I appreciate Blade Runner as something inspired by a PKD novel, but with a life of its own, and not to be judged in relation to the novel. Let’s face it, amongst other things the movie is probably one of the best explorations of the sociological, philosophical, etc. aspects of slavery ever produced.

  13. Dick’s politics were inconsistent and almost impossible to label. But I think there is a lot for a libertarian to hang his hat on in his work, though making that case would require more space than I have here. You might call it a libertarianism of empathy. It shines through in places as different as A Scanner Darkly and that marvellously odd essay, “The Android and the Human.”

    Oh, and I agree with the posters who have said that Blade Runner succeeds as a movie even if it isn’t a fully faithful adaptation of the book.

  14. My recent thoughts on “Blade Runner,” “Androids,” etc. can be found here. Scroll down to March 18th.

  15. PKD gave Blade Runner high praise.

    A much overlooked book of his that I like is Radio Free Alblemuth, which is essentially the first draft of Valis.

  16. I would have chosen Divine Invasion because we’re ruled by Christianislamofascists.
    From their list, I’ll take Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.

    I would like to add that Spielberg’s PKD adaptation is the worst PKD movie.

    Wasn’t PKD dead before Blade Runner was released?

  17. …though making that case would require more space than I have here.

    Right, because 10,000 word manifestos are for the home page.

    I keed, I keed 😉

  18. d’oh! Gro – was just about to recommend yer site!

    The “this is why Duke sucks” link was hilarious, BTW.

    Good call JESSE!

    Timothy – even ROLLINS couldn’t save Johnny “woah” Neumonic…

  19. that’s

    Radio Free Albemuth

  20. VM: And that’s a crying shame, because it’s a great short story. It’s sort of a proto-Neuromancer.

  21. highnumber,

    PKD saw some cobbled together outtakes of the film. As I recall, he liked the atmosphere of the film. I don’t know if he liked the way the story itself.

  22. “Spielberg’s PKD adaptation is the worst PKD movie.”

    I don’t know, as much as I hate Tom Cruise, Paycheck was pretty bad. And Total Recall was shite.

  23. How many of PKD’s novels or short stories have been turned into movies?

  24. And Dick was distrustful of rightists and leftists and gov’t in general. That gives libertarians something to hang their hats on.

  25. Timothy:

    very cool!

    BTW: this was a classic!

    “That gives libertarians something to hang their hats on.”

    um. high#: they hang their hats on… Dick?

    /backs away slowly. puts down corn syrup

  26. Anyway, though this is a bit of a cliche at this point, it is hard sometimes to realize just how revolutionary Blade Runner was. Indeed, to analogize, it is bit like trying to imagine how revolutionary Mozart’s use of the piano-forte was.

  27. Grotius,

    8 Major films,

    http://www.philipkdick.com/films_intro.html

    PKD on Blade Runner…(he saw 20 minutes of it and read the screenplay).

    “…the opening is simply the most stupendous thing I have ever seen in the way of a film. It is simply unbelievable.”

    Read

    What if your World Is their Heaven?

    He talks at length about the film.

  28. VM,
    You can’t hang stuff there?
    I’m sorry.

  29. Phew, I am not a replicant.

  30. A Scanner Darkly – “The state tells its people that the cameras are there for their benefit and to prevent crime, but the crime they are preventing is insurrection.”

    Now, Dick Productions thrust into the market with its new film

    A STEVO DARKLY
    Stevo tells his minions that the cameras are there for their own benefit – namely to answer the question, “is she hot”, but instead the cameras serve as a street-corner cabaret show for Mr. Steven Crain, his assless chaps, and the borrowed Noam Chomsky Blow Up Doll.

    Cu Coming to Theaters this Summer!

    High#: Don’t wanna smear the rainbow, yo!

  31. “Just curious. Are there other, libertarian decoder ring wearing, sci-fi reading, certified geeks, that don’t think Philip K Dick is all that insightful or engrossing?”

    well, i don’t generally care for his (or anyone’s sci-fi) but the valis trilogy is utterly fantastic.

    decoder loss: and i liked the movie version of scanner darkly. it was sad, like the book. that’s the ultimate force that shines through with his work – an alienated, humiliated and isolated sadness.

    further decoder loss: i don’t think william gibson is worth shit as a writer.

    final annihilation: i couldn’t name three rush songs, and would kill myself if i could.

  32. PKD story or novel you would least like to live in?

    I haven’t decided, myself.

  33. That’s what I get by posting before I had lunch…

    I wasn’t suggesting that there was nothing for libertarians in PKD, but if you go in expecting Heinlein or L. Neil Smith you might be disappointed.

    PKD is very mistrustful of government in most of his works, but it seems to come from massive paranoia instead of small government principles. Yes, he believed the FBI had blown up a safe in his house, but he also occasionally believed he was a reincarnated 1st century Christian. He left the house as little as possible, took staggering amounts of amphetamines, was divorced three times and was almost constantly barely living over the poverty line. I think all these things are more important to understanding his fiction than his politics.

  34. highnumber,

    Eye In The Sky for me… reality is shaped externally by the internal crazy of other people. One character is a religious zealot and her world features rivers flowing with grace. Literally flowing with God’s grace.

  35. Neu Mejican,

    Have you ever read about the publication of Radio Free Albemtuh and VALIS? His publisher sent him RFA back with a few minor revisions they wanted made. They didn’t hear from him for months, and he sent them VALIS instead.

  36. Hmm, what I don’t wanna know is what Andy Dick song we’re in today.

  37. PKD has more to say about the future everyday. He should be required reading in schools

    Reminds me of the time my brother has his copy of “the Man In The High Castle” confiscated by one of the nuns in his grammar school. She never gave it back. So much for “Thou Shalt Not Steal”. The Catholic Church has about as much respect for the Ten Commandments as the US Govt. has for the Bill fo Rights. So surely PKD is more likely to be banned from a public school than be assigned reading in one.

  38. was divorced three times

    Five times, actually.

  39. That’s what I get for being at work w/out my reference books…

    Have you ever read the book about him that Anne wrote? Hatchet job.

  40. Didn’t know that such a book existed. What’s it called?

  41. Search for Philip K. Dick, 1928-1982: A Memoir and Biography of the Science Fiction Writer

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0773491376/reasonfoundation-20/

  42. Thanks. That one slipped by me entirely.

  43. I read it on an Interlibrary Loan from where I work.

    She’s clearly quite bitter that she doesn’t have any stake in the movie money and the impression you come away of her from Confessions and the Sutin biography are starkly confirmed.

  44. it is hard sometimes to realize just how revolutionary Blade Runner was. Indeed, to analogize, it is bit like trying to imagine how revolutionary Mozart’s use of the piano-forte was.

    Well, except that a lot of us were actually alive and can realize it because we were there (cue LCD Soundsystem), while Mozart is long dead and all we have are some writings and our own aesthetic judgement.

    And +5000 points for managing to work the sentence “Mozart’s use of the piano forte” into a PKD thread.

    Bonus link: A good ukelele flavored cover of Are Friends Electric

  45. The most points go to Jesse Walker for the Ubik derived title.

  46. dead elvis,

    Well, I was pretty young in 1982. I believe I saw it on videotape in 1983 and while my family hated it, I was completely engrossed by the visuals. Anyway, I did see it in all its glory when it was re-released sans the voiceovers and the cheesy tacked-on ending.

    Anyway, how do I redeem this newly acquired points? Can I get a big stuffed animal or some scuh?

  47. dead elvis,

    Another reason I love about Mozart is that he was in many ways a keen businessman. Yeah he overspent, etc. but he could do that because he was such a fantastic self-promoter. In general he created an audience for his work not via court favors and the like, but by his talent and his business acumen. And of course he brought his music to the “people” in the process. Similarly a hundred years later or so the French impressionists did very similar things and through sheer doggedness, talent, etc. created non-state sanctioned art that was sold directly to the people. Artists often demonstrate some of the most passionate and compelling stories of the use of markets to bypass various elites (government and otherwise), etc. I can think of.

  48. I had a total man-crush on Rutger Hauer after I saw the movie.

    My GF at the time had a cold and would quote back Darryl Hannah lines in a very convincing Darryl Hannah voice.

    ‘Twas Heavenly!

  49. I saw Blade Runner on its first outing, in a theater, and knew nothing about it. As I was watching it, I kept thinking “I know this story!” and then “Isn’t Rick Deckarda Dick hero?”

    Then I realized “This is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep!” before the credits rolled.

    But without the wit. The movie prescinded the tragedy from the satire, and gave us a sad tale without a silver lining of black comedy.

    My favorite bit is the opening of the novel, where the husband and wife argue over the settings on their respective Mood Alarms (or somesuch). She’d set her morning mood to “existential despair” (I’m going by memory here).

    We are living in a Dick world. Which Dick world? It depends on which aspect you are looking at. Specify the category on your homeopape and you’ll see the kindred spirit of Dick’s nightmares there.

  50. Grotius- Perhaps you can cash your points in here.

  51. Screamers is the most faihful movie adaptation of a Dick story.Make sure you get the right one, there is another screamers that has nothing to do with it.

    I enjoyed Bladerunner in its initial theatrical release right up till the end which soured the whole thing- they don’t have built in ” death dates” they die just like we do(and wher did all that green come from-it looked like owl habitiat).
    I found the “directors cut” to be much more in the spirit of the book- particularly the scene in which he almost kills the sleeping Rachel).

  52. Oh, and I agree with the posters who have said that Blade Runner succeeds as a movie even if it isn’t a fully faithful adaptation of the book.

    And yet another case where the Directors Cut didn’t make it into theaters for a very, very good reason.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.