Sunday, July 17, 2005

Philip K. Dick Revisited

A very odd report on Aint It Cool News regarding Comic Con. To promote the upcoming film A Scanner Darkly based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, they brought in a special guest-speaker. The guest-speaker? None other than Philip K. Dick himself.

What's that? He's dead, you say?

Well, you're right. What they've wheeled out is a very creepy android of the writer. If you look at the photos towards the bottom of the article you get a shot of some of the actual machinery holding this particular PKD all together. A very appropriate way to promote his work.

I have more than a little trepidation about the movie, though. A Scanner Darkly was the first book by PKD I ever read, and it was ASD more than any other single book that brought me back to s/f and re-convinced me that s/f can be as compelling, moving and important as any other type of art. Other films based on his work have not quite measured up to the vision and themes of PKD, the only possible exception to this being Ridley Scott's Bladerunner. A great film, but it diverges quite a bit from the original book.

Richard Linklater's doing A Scanner Darkly and he's made all kinds of references to PKD and PKD-type themes in some of this other movies, most noticably in Waking Life. He's using the same technique used in Waking Life, filming actors and then "painting" animation on top of them. It creates quite an odd effect that might lend itself pretty well to the near-hallucinagenic world of PKD. I hope it works.


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