I’ve never liked Blade Runner. I know it’s innovative, I know it’s been imitated by countless other movies (I’ve seen at least a dozen of them) but I’ve never been able to forgive it for cutting out the beating heart of the novel on which it was based.
There used to be an underground station opposite my building. Over the past year it had metamorphosed twice: first into a railway station, then into an inn. I remember the landlord holding court with his customers, telling us about the staircase leading down from his cellar into the tunnels through which the trains had once travelled. The tunnels had shrunk, he said, tightened like sphincters. What remained of those narrowed, fat-filled arteries was choked with black and green beetles, walking back and forth in long lines beneath the city, preyed on by silver snakes and cock rats.
A piece of writing like this is a lot more difficult to achieve than it might appear. We can all generate weirdness, but it’s a much harder thing to be able to generate weirdness that feels convincing and right.
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