The Blade Runner Experience: The Legacy of a Science Fiction Classic (NONE)

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The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is a novel that appears to make perfect or at least relatively perfect sense until you realize that you have deluded yourself—due to an epigram that appears to undermine what you think is the ending. Earth is all but uninhabitable, Mars is being colonized, and the explorer Palmer Eldritch is returning from an encounter with something. The novel becomes a battle of drugs—Can-D, which gives a sense of a false reality, and Chew-Z, which makes the hallucination real.

Here there are only seven or so notes supplied, mostly Biblical allusions, although Palmer and Eldritch remain unglossed. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Hills, Matt. 2011. Blade Runner. Coll. Cultographies. London; New York : Wallflower Press. (ENG)

Paul Brians has long maintained a set of notes and queries on the book on his website, which put the notes here in the shade, and here again there is scope for a scholarly edition. Again, too, there are significant names—Penfield and Al Jarry—and more cultural allusions that also remain unglossed. The volume is rounded out by Ubik , in which Joe Chip slowly comes to the erroneous?

This time there is a page of notes given, but this again feels thin; at the least, the theological wordplay in the advertisements for Ubik might have been noted. If pushed, I think this is more or less the set of novels I would have chosen to cover the period—but I would have wanted to include Martian Time-Slip to give a second example of how well Dick could construct a novel; it also brings together his two themes of What is real?

It is a novel that also grew in stature in my mind as I spent a decade trying to track down my own copy—there is that personal relationship again. Heretically, I would probably have sacrificed The Man in the High Castle , which has a sometimes confusing prose style. Equally, Dr Bloodmoney stands out as the novel that most closely examines the fear of nuclear apocalypse; it includes a faked radio broadcast that looks back to the radio stations of The Broken Bubble indeed to characters from his earliest surviving novel, Voices From the Street [written ] and that anticipates the messianism of Radio Free Albemuth written and VALIS Perhaps this could have been substituted for The Three Stigmata , which is never quite as great as I remember it, but I think it has to be included as one of his most disturbing novels.

This leaves the s novels untapped, as well as the late religious works. What would Dick have made of the canonization that comes with uniform editions and film adaptations? Some days he would have been flattered, and of course the sales would have helped his always precarious finances. Other days he would have felt the opposite—he knew the potency of cheap music and that God lay in the trash. Being respectable might have attracted the wrong kind of attention—and he certainly feared and hated Hollywood. Some of the time.

When Do Androids Dream was first optioned in , Dick naively? I have moved through awe, hatred, accommodation, boredom, and indifference to the film, having first caught it on a rental video. Eventually I came to a point where I could separate film and book as distinct entities, but by then I had overdosed on repeated viewings of the video, not to mention all the articles and essays about it.

The Blade Runner Experience , edited by Will Brooker, shows the way that the film has synergized in many directions—the psychogeography of Blade Runner tourists, the official sequels by K. Jeter, the computer games, and the fandom. It also examines the politics of the film—especially in terms of race and gender. Dick spelled Phillip on the first page of the introduction , Alan E. Sometimes they are mentioned but are absent from the index; there is little sense of the relationship between their careers and this collection.

The only author that seems to matter is the author of each chapter.


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The net result is a set of very personal responses. After a troubled gestation and production, Blade Runner gained an afterlife on home video and cable channels and in time laser discs and became canonized as an example of great cinema. Repeated viewings exposed flaws six replicants have escaped from the off-world colonies, but only five of them are accounted for and caused arguments is Deckard an android?

In some inexplicable way certain brief moments in the film meant he was an android and even less explicably number six, but that had to be nonsense. At the turn of the twenty-first century there was an attempt to do the job properly, which stalled—presumably due to ownership issues—and then was finally completed in time for the twenty-fifth anniversary. This version offers five versions of the film, complete with commentaries.

Then there is the so-called Final Cut, sans voice-over and footage of an implausibly verdant forest cobbled together from materials shot for TheShining , with numbers of replicants corrected along with other problems in synchronization. The dove now flies up into an industrial night sky rather than a sunny day. All the footage has been restored and the sound remixed for the latest version in stereo. Further discs include Dangerous Days , a three-hour-plus documentary about the film featuring interviews with virtually everyone involved in the production down to the tea boy.

Other featurettes focus on Dick, design elements, costume, behind-the-scenes footage, and audition tapes. There are also deleted scenes and alternate versions. In production terms, at least, this set will tell you almost everything you want to know—and many things you do not. Some of the same ground is covered by Brian J. There is much summarizing of scripts and many interviews with scriptwriters and designers, largely from film magazines. Dick, similarly lacking academic apparatus.

It is profusely illustrated, but has not been well served by its printing, the tiny font tending to grey. I ended up reading much of this in cinemas, and it did not take much dimness to render it invisible. An index would also have made the book more user friendly.

If Robb focuses upon the making of the films at the expense of their meaning, Jason Vest reverses that emphasis. While some production difficulties are acknowledged, the focus is on textual analysis. Yes, Vest admits, there are omissions of elements from the source novel in the final film, but this is inevitable in adapting any book to the screen. By now there is a good forty years of reflective thought on the nature of adaptation, but Vest alludes to little of this work here.

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For Vest there are clearly three masterpieces of adaptation Blade Runner , Minority Report [], and A Scanner Darkly [] , four interesting failures Total Recall [], Barjo [], Screamers [], and Impostor [] , and a dud which is not a dud Paycheck []. He repeatedly asks what Dick would make of the finished projects, although my experience is that virtually any statement of opinion by Dick in one interview or speech can be matched with the contradictory statement elsewhere. He might write letters of praise to a critic, whilst denouncing her to someone else The FBI, say in another.

This is an author who is dead. His opinion would be no arbiter—although I suspect he would have been more comfortable with deletions rather than additions. Interest in adapting Philip K. Director Martin Scorsese was interested in filming the novel, but never optioned it. Robert flew down to Santa Ana to speak with me about the project.

And the first thing I said to him when he got off the plane was, 'Shall I beat you up here at the airport, or shall I beat you up back at my apartment? The screenplay by Hampton Fancher was optioned in Scott had previously declined the project, but after leaving the slow production of Dune , wanted a faster-paced project to take his mind off his older brother's recent death.

Fancher's script focused more on environmental issues and less on issues of humanity and religion, which are prominent in the novel and Scott wanted changes. Fancher found a cinema treatment by William S.

Blade Runner: anatomy of a classic | BFI

Burroughs for Alan E. Nourse 's novel The Bladerunner , titled Blade Runner a movie. Dick became concerned that no one had informed him about the film's production, which added to his distrust of Hollywood. Despite his well-known skepticism of Hollywood in principle, Dick enthused to Scott that the world created for the film looked exactly as he had imagined it. I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.

Blade Runner: anatomy of a classic

The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel. In , Ford revealed, " Blade Runner is not one of my favorite films. I tangled with Ridley. I thought that the film had worked without the narration. But now I was stuck re-creating that narration. And I was obliged to do the voiceovers for people that did not represent the director's interests.

In , Scott was asked "Who's the biggest pain in the arse you've ever worked with?


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Now he's become charming. But he knows a lot, that's the problem. When we worked together it was my first film up and I was the new kid on the block.


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  7. But we made a good movie. We had a bad patch there, and I'm over it.

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