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Friday, March 4, 2011

Do Androids Dream Of The Almighty Dollar?

About 15 years ago, I was given a copy of this book by my friend Dan. It's called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and it was written by Philip K. Dick in 1968.

  Somewhat post-apocalyptic, the sci-fi classic focuses on a bounty hunter's quest to remove androids  after mankind's actions caused androids to be indistinguishable from humans. Set in 2021, it includes robotic pets, as entire species have been driven into extinction.

The book itself is quite a short read, and while you may not have heard of it, it was the basis for the film Blade Runner. Ridley Scott's acclaimed 1982 flick starred Harrison Ford and featured more intricate character development than the book, but remained fairly true to Mr. Dick's vision. Blade Runner remains a cult classic- a standard that sci-fi noobs are essentially required to check out. But, like Tron, someone's not content letting this one just be.

Screenwriter Travis Wright has been working on a script for a new Blade Runner film. Original producer Bud Yorkin has sold his rights to Blade Runner to Alcon, who are considering prequels and sequels to one of the greatest sci-fi films ever made. While it should be noted that KW Jeter penned a few dreadful Blade Runner sequels, Philip K. Dick himself never wrote a follow-up nor prequel to Androids. In fact, Jeter's first sequel came out 13 years after the Total Recall writer's early death.

Am I the only person who thinks that messing around with this classic is a very bad idea? Philip K. Dick was a severely mentally ill man, something quite evident in works like A Scanner Darkly. And it's this paranoia that lent itself to his futuristic cautionary tales. It's highly unlikely that a career writer will be able to convey the essence of a man who spent most of his life on the fringes of society, a tortured genius on the outside looking in.

Just like the man-made humans in Philip K. Dick's works, there are some things that will never be able to have the same properties as the real thing. If there is anything that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? taught us is that you cannot replicate authenticity; and try as he may, Travis Wright is not Philip K. Dick.

This dream should be put to rest.

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