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Showing posts tagged: Philip K. Dick click to see more stuff tagged with Philip K. Dick
Jun 25 2014 10:00am

Party Like Dick: The Charming Audacity of Radio Free Albemuth

Very early on in the film Radio Free Albemuth, we’re straight-up shown an alien satellite in orbit shooting a zap-beam into the head of Nick Brady (Jonathan Scarfe), the movie’s protagonist. This scene almost dares us to just accept what is going on, but when you’re making a Philip K. Dick movie, a disconnect between reality (even a science fictional one) and “normal stuff” is bound to happen. And instead of avoiding that inherent disconnect, this film embraces it. Because if you’re not willing to have a tonally jumbled movie, one in which the movie itself seems to almost parody the human experience, then you can’t adapt Dick.

[Read more]

Jun 10 2014 2:00pm

Aliens Surfing on Arizona Bay: California’s Uneasy Relationship with SFF

Greetings from alternate California

I have had the great privilege in my life of being guided through travel by natives. When I first came to New York, I was told that generally speaking, people in Manhattan were either East-Siders or West-Siders. I’ve found this to be true – I’m an East, and only travel to the West for necessity or friendship. In California, however, you’re either a NorCal or a SoCal. Since I had friends in both, I received grand tours of both cultures, and was able to see the uneasy truce that exists between them firsthand.

When we asked the hivemind to tell us about their favorite California-based SFF, I was struck by the divide between NorCal utopias, and SoCal corporatocracies. Check out your picks below, plus a few additions of my own!

[Read More]

May 15 2014 1:30pm

Check Out the Trailer for Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth

Alanis Morrisette Radio Free Abermuth

John Alan Simon’s adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth will receive a theatrical and digital release on June 27th! Written in 1976 as an attempt to process an earlier religious experience, Radio Free Albemuth was a deeply personal story to Philip K. Dick. But when his publisher wanted too many rewrites, he folded some of the story into VALIS instead. RFA was then published in 1985.

[See the trailer below!]

Mar 12 2014 11:00am

Dethroning The Yellow King: Five Possible Inspirations for True Detective’s Next Case

As soon as it was announced that True Detective was an anthology show, with new crimes and new sleuths each season, Twitter lit up with suggestions for new partners. My favorites include @blairelliott with “Dog & Capybara in Kiddie Pool” and @kellyoxford with “Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak.” I just hope they solve crimes at the Oscars! Then Nic Pizzolato came out and said that Season Two is going to involve “Hard women, bad men, and the secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system.” So far, so good. He also said, “…I realize I need to keep being strange. Don’t play the next one straight.” Even better.

Since he’s already tackled Robert Chambers, Ambrose Bierce, H.P. Lovecraft, and Apocalypse Now, we here at thought some suggestions for further literary inspiration were in order.

[Gnostics on the Highways!]

Dec 16 2013 8:00am

Philip K. Dick Scanned Our Brains, Darkly

In his afterword to a 1977 paperback collection called The Best of Philip K. Dick, PKD writes about the notion of questioning reality. At one point, Dick says the world made “sense” to him:

“I used to dig in the garden, and there isn't anything fantastic or ultradimensional about crab grass...unless you are a sf writer, in which case, pretty soon you're viewing crabgrass with suspicion. What are its real motives? And who sent it in the first place? The question I always found myself asking was, What is it really?”

Looking back on his work today, on the 85th anniversary of Dick’s birthday, the escape from the conspiracy of the mundane is a concept that certainly dominates the oeuvre of perhaps the most famous science fiction author ever. And why not? Don’t we all wish our lives were a little more interesting, a little more fantastic than perhaps they are?

[Read more]

Nov 21 2013 5:00pm

These Animated Blade Runner Paintings are Just as Haunting as the Film

Rick Deckard Painting

Here’s why we like this project. This isn’t just a straightforward retelling of Blade Runner in 12,000 aquarelle paintings, which would have been impressive enough. Instead, Anders Ramsell reinterpreted the film, digging into the characters’ true natures through some off-kilter surrealist imagery, and amazing color choices. Deckard is nearly faceless, while Pris and Roy Batty become more expressive than ever, and Rachael is aloof, shrouded in steam... So, so pretty.

Click through to watch the entire piece—it may be the best 35 minutes of your day.

[Tears? Rain? I’m the guy with the dove.]

Oct 11 2013 8:00am

Morning Roundup: This Red Riding Hood Does Not Need a Woodsman

We’re guessing Red won the fight with the Wolf in Marilen Androver’s retelling. Her fairy tale heroines getting up to some major delinquency, as you can see on her Deviantart page. Her work had gained in popularity but without attribution for a while. Sweater-enthusiast Wil Wheaton got her info and posted her art on his Tumblr, so now everyone can reblog and note with abandon!

Morning Roundup has some beautiful microscopic images, a brief overview of the Zombocalypse, and the most haunted places on earth!

[Plus a poetic sci-fi road trip!]

Sep 2 2013 12:00pm

Austenland is Secretly a Tribute to Philip K. Dick

Austenland Philip K. Dick

Most Philip K. Dick stories feature loners who get themselves into conspiracy situations seemingly, at first, for no reason. Such was my experience with the new Jane Austen-inspired/Keri Russell literary rom-com, Austenland, which purports to feature a plucky young woman immersing herself in a faux Jane Austen-style summer camp.

Except she, and the audience, are really inside some kind of Battlestar Galactica/Philip K. Dick pastiche.

[Read more]

Aug 16 2013 8:00am

Morning Roundup: We Always Suspected Leonard Nimoy Signed Autographs in Blood

Artist Sergio Mora’s work is informed by his refusal to settle for reality. In his paintings, pop culture icons like E.T. stand beside the Mona Lisa, sugar skulls, and rooster-headed men in boxing matches. His work has been exhibited all over the world, and draws on many artistic traditions, but our personal favorites come from his series on the bravest little Vulcan of them all, Mr. Spock. Here we see Spock preparing to sign a paper presented to him by a large group of E.T.s. Presumably he is using a human’s blood because green wouldn’t show up as well? Or Perhaps he and his fellow non-Earthlings have finally decided to use their superior logic and plant-healing skills to subjugate the human race.

Today’s Morning Roundup features an extra-morose Charlie Brown, plus an interview with Chris Ware, some of Alfred Pennyworth’s greatest moments, and a dog who loves Spock as much as we do—read on!

[Also a really disturbing picture of a cat]

Mar 28 2013 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Pow! Zowie! It’s Sherlock & John!

I think we all understand why this Sherlock fan art by harebrained is so amazing. Now, hopefully future episodes of Sherlock will feature Sherlock lecturing John on how to be a good citizen.

Your collection of daily offsite links feature Blade Runner’s no-duh impact, G.I. Joe’s “track,” the future of Independence Day and more!

[Read more]

Aug 31 2012 11:00am

Get Your Space Drug Fix: Narcotics in Science Fiction & Fantasy

Get Your Space Drug Fix: Narcotics in Science Fiction & Fantasy

The season finale of the immensely popular Breaking Bad is upon us, and we can’t stop thinking about seriously unstable bald men Heisenberg, Blue Sky, and all the crime-fueled craziness that has driven the show ever since a mild-mannered science teacher morphed into the Southwest’s most formidable drug kingpin. The dramatic allure of hard drugs in popular narratives is nothing new, however: from Burroughs’ Naked Lunch to Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, to the retroactively fictional James Frey book, A Million Little Pieces, drugs can be almost as important to the narrative as the characters who take them. And of course science fiction and fantasy has a brilliant track record when it comes to speculating on what kinds of memorably mind-bending substances might exist in the future or in alternate dimensions... 

Here are ones we’ve all gotten hooked on.

[Where were you while we were getting high, in space?]

Aug 22 2012 12:00pm

Through a Klosterman Darkly: The Visible Man Is the Great SF Novel You Might Have Missed

Genre in the Mainstream on Chuck Klosterman’s The Visible Man, a Great Science Fiction Novel You Might Have MissedIt’s next to impossible for some writers to escape how their initial success defines them, and Chuck Klosterman certainly became a successful writer, initially, for a specific reason. Making his career as a kind of critic/pop guru at Spin magazine, and then with his debut essay collection Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, you could say Klosterman invented and perfected the culturally savvy voice that so many bloggers rely on today. (I wouldn't be doing what I do if not for him).

But what of Klosterman the fiction writer? Did literary society want this cultural critic/ music journalist/sports writer to become a novelist? Maybe not. But he is one, now, and I’m happy to say that 2011’s The Visible Man (just out in paperback this June) is one of the best crossover science fiction novels I’ve read in years. 

[Read more]

Aug 6 2012 1:00pm

The Farrell Identity: Total Recall Forgets to Have Plot Twists

Unsurprisingly, the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” breaks a lot of so-called narrative rules in terms of basic point-of-view structure. Switching harshly from a close third person narrative to a clunkier omniscient third person, this classic story reveals itself to be less about the characters and more of an exploration of the nature of memory itself. I know a lot of memoirists who worry about the scrutiny of memory-based writing and I often wonder what impact Rekal would have on the non-fiction literary population if it were real.

But until that happens the only place Rekal exists outside of “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale” is in the cinema. And now, it’s back. How does this Total Recall fare against our memories of the bombastic 1990 Schwarzenegger/ Verhoeven joint? Well, let’s just say the movie might be called Total Recall, but Rekal itself barely even shows up.

[Read more, mild spoilers]

Aug 1 2012 4:00pm

The Philip K. Dick Movie Report Card

Friday will see the release of a new Total Recall, which aims to erase our memories of another movie called Total Recall. Do films remember other films wholesale? Or do films dream of electric films? In either case, it remains to be seen if Total Recall is a cinematic imposter of a Philip K. Dick story or is instead just the second variety of a well-worn 90’s action movie.

In the meantime, join me as I turn my scanner, darkly, toward all of the films made from Philip K. Dick’s work and try to figure out which of them are quality movies and which actually have something in common with the source material. I’ll give each movie two letter grades: one for being a good or bad movie and one for being faithful to the source material. (Note: faithful doesn’t always mean just following the plot, but capturing the themes and essence as well.)

[Read on and discuss!]

Jun 28 2012 11:16am

Second Total Recall Trailer Hits

Seemingly mixing elements from the Philip K. Dick stories “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale” and “Paycheck” + aspects of the original film; the new Total Recall trailer actually looks pretty good.

Jun 25 2012 1:00pm
Original Comic

Blade Runner Debuted 30 Years Ago Today. What Would PKD Have Thought?

John Bonner

Today, June 25th, marks 30 years since Blade Runner debuted in theaters. This film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is now considered a staple of science fiction film, so for the anniversary comic artist John Bonner visualizes what PKD might have thought about Blade Runner had he gotten the chance to see it.

Every so often, comic artist John Bonner reviews books, audio, and more, then turns his reactions into a comic strip. You can check out many more of them at Bonner’s site and more of them here on

[Read the comic below]

Jun 5 2012 1:00pm

I, Asimov: Your Picks for Robot Authors

Philip K. Dick android

After getting all excited over the robot Philip K. Dick in our latest excerpt, we asked all of you on Facebook and Twitter which other deceased authors should be turned into robots. Some answers probably shouldn’t have surprised us, but all of them made us giggle. Take a look at the new Robot Author Hall of Fame!

[Read more]

Apr 9 2012 9:45am

Winner of the 2012 Philip K. Dick Award Announced

The Samuil Petrovich Trilogy by Simon MordenSponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and with support from the Philip K. Dick Trust, the Philip K. Dick Awards recognizes distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States. This year, the award went to The Samuil Petrovich Trilogy by Simon Morden, out from Orbit Books. A special citation went to The Company Man by Robert Jackson Bennett, also out from Orbit Books.

This year’s award ceremony was sponsored by the NorthWest Science Fiction Society and held at the annual Norwescon, which was held this past weekend at the Doubletree Seattle Airport Hotel, SeaTac, Washington. The winner of this year’s Philip K. Dick award was announced on Friday, April 6th.

You can read the full release on Norwescon’s site. Congratulations to the winners!

Mar 27 2012 1:49pm

Teaser Trailer for the Total Recall Reboot

The teaser trailer for the Colin Farrell recall reboot of Total Recall  is here. The only question now is if the eventual DVD commentary from Farrell will top Arnie’s.

Trailer via

Mar 9 2012 11:00am

“If I’m Not Me, Then Who The Hell Am I?”: Total Recall

One of the major themes of Philip K. Dick’s work—along with drugs and being awesome—is identity. The question of not only who they are, but what it means to simply be in the first place, is a quite common one for a PKD protagonist, perhaps even more so in the film adaptations of his work. Whether this is due to a greater focus on this question by the filmmakers behind those adaptations or a function of the necessary streamlining when turning a book into a movie, movies made from Philip K. Dick novels and stories have identity front and center. While it is more apparently an intellectual and philosophical concern in a picture like Blade Runner, I would argue that it is even more essential when articulated in Arnold’s question, “If I am not me, then who the hell am I?” in Total Recall.

[Read more]