Philip K. Dick

This is the sum­mer of sci-fi for me. Last year was the beat gen­er­a­tion, and distopias. Philip K. Dick could some­how qual­i­fy in each of those cat­e­gories. What I find most inter­est­ing how­ev­er, is the ease with which his sto­ries are con­vert­ed into films. Blade Run­ner is based on his nov­el Do Androids Dream of Elec­tric Sheep?; Total Recall is based on the short sto­ry ‘We Can Remem­ber It For You Whole­sale;’ Minor­i­ty Report and Imposter are based on short sto­ries of the same titles; and Scream­ers is based on his short sto­ry ‘Sec­ond Vari­ety.’ All of which I have now read.

It has been said that the dif­fi­cul­ty in con­vert­ing a sto­ry to a screen­play and then a movie lies in the inevitable loss of detail and nuance that is present in the writ­ten form. The rea­son it seems that Dick is so eas­i­ly con­vert­ed to film, is not because his work is shal­low, far from it, but the fact that he pro­vides impli­ca­tions for his read­ers to pon­der. The open-end­ed themes point to a feel­ing in Dick’s writ­ings that the sto­ries are not book­end­ed, what he writes about is some­thing that is always con­tin­u­ing. This allows a great deal of manip­u­la­tion to be present in the con­ver­sion from writ­ten to visu­al, while keep­ing Dick a pres­ence. I’m glad I’ve read him, it has giv­en me a few insights into both writ­ing and film. hoo-eee!

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  • His life’s just as?if not more?inter­est­ing than his books. e.g.: “Rome nev­er died.”

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