Philip K. Dick

Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Total Recall"

Vegas on Mars: Recalling ‘Total Recall’ 25 Years Later

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Philip K. Dick has enjoyed a surprisingly active and commercial afterlife considering the decidedly non-commercial nature of his output and the fact that, from a sales perspective, he was never more than a cult success during his lifetime. Then again, Dick’s posthumous popularity as the source for big-budget science fiction movies both revered (Total Recall, Minority Report) and not so revered (Paycheck, Next, The Adjustment Bureau) should perhaps not come as a surprise because Dick trafficked in the kind of sexy, hooky, accessible ideas movies love.

Dick has been adapted extensively in part because his work is so adaptable. Filmmakers can take the core of an idea explored in a Dick short story and adapt it any way they see fit, secure in the knowledge that if they take as many liberties with Dick’s work as filmmakers have tended to take, they only risk alienating a small core of Dick cultists. Sure enough, by the time the Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” was adapted into 1990’s Total Recall a quarter-century ago by a divisive satirist with a uniquely bloody, extreme take on the grotesque excesses of American culture named Paul Verhoeven, it had already been through several different strikingly different iterations.
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Viral ‘Hits’ and Philip K. Dick Pics: Links You Need to See

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Broad City‘s second season has been alluring audiences even more than its first, exuberantly expanding the wild world in which it takes place (Gowanus, apparently, at least according to the wisdom of a giant tooth who now has his own Twitter account). This season, Abbi and Ilana have pegged, endured swamp-ass, exploited unpaid labor, cleaned up after rogue exercise balls covered in vomit, and sent perfectly innocent friends into the dangerous territory of Frozen Yogurt fortress “42 Squirts.” But despite their consistently brilliant tackling of risqué topics like fro-yo, co-creator/star Ilana Glazer says, in a new interview with The Daily Dot, “Risk-taking isn’t really on our radar when we’re creating. We just wanted to make the show something we’d want to watch and laugh out loud at.” She also reveals their dream guest-star. Read the interview here. 
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Paul Lehr.

10 Science Fiction Illustrators You Should Know

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We’ve been big fans of Swedish illustrator, animator, and graphic designer Kilian Eng for some time. Eng’s science fiction-inspired artworks are architectural, elegant, and punctuated with electrifying colors. They also channel the iconic illustrators from the past — especially French legend Moebius. It’s no wonder the artist’s monograph Object 5 has been out of print, but publisher Floating World Comics has reissued the book as a European album hardcover with 16 new pages of art. Eng’s style has us nostalgic for some of the sci-fi illustration greats we love. Here are ten you should know.
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50 Essential Literary Biographies

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Literary biography is a hugely significant, if often overlooked, enterprise. Today, much of what we know about the authors we admire is filtered through an ocean of online mini-biographies, nearly all of which are copies of copies. The original source of an enormous amount of this information is the literary biography, and in the case of most authors, there are precious few examples of such books. Even exceedingly famous authors are gifted only a handful of quality biographies. With this in mind, I’ve come up with a list of 50 essential literary… Read More

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The Short Stories Behind 10 Famous Films

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We’ve been anticipating the audiobook release of John McManusStop Breakin Down — the short story collection that won him a prestigious Whiting Writers’ Award, for which he was the youngest recipient. “Here is rage on the page,” the Los Angeles Times wrote of McManus’ stories about “people driven to the brink of endurance and survival.” Writer Dane Elcar narrates the audio version, imbuing the tales with a cinematic quality. The release got us thinking about the ways literature is translated from page to screen and the many short stories that have made the leap to cinema. Here are ten of our favorites for your comparison and perusal.
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robot uprisings

6 Books That Will Prepare You for the Inevitable Robot Uprising

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“Our great-grandparents loved killer robots. So do we. But why?” Daniel H. Wilson asks that question in the foreword of the short story collection he edited, Robot Uprisings, which includes work by Cory Doctrow, Scott Sigler, Charles Yu, Robin Wasserman, and many others. It’s full of stories of the near-future, when the things we created, as Jeff Abbott puts it in his piece, “wanted to be just like us.”
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10 Fascinating Fictional Cities in Film

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It’s been two years since Wes Anderson’s last film, and we’ve been having serious whimsy withdrawal. The director’s latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, invites audiences to a fictional spa town, the Republic of Zubrowka. In typical Anderson fashion, the filmmaker has decked out the European hotel, leaving no detail unturned:

Even the smallest concrete yet imaginary element of Grand Budapest‘s main setting… was fanatically created by Anderson and company, down to its newspaper of record, the Trans-Alpine Yodel, and its pastry of choice, the mouthwatering Courtesan au chocolat, always packaged in the unmistakable pink boxes from Mendl’s Patisserie.

Anderon’s immersive environs remind us of other fictional film locales that transport us to fascinating worlds of wonder and mystery. Here are ten cities, big and small, that stem from the wild imaginations of their creators.
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Celebrate Philip K. Dick’s 85th Birthday With Mindbending Art From His Paperback Novels

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If there is such thing as a holy day for science fiction fans, Philip K. Dick’s birthday is it. Born 85 years ago today in 1928, the author (who died in 1982) has attracted the sort of diehard followers who consider him a prophet, predicting and problematizing the future in stories whose common threads include totalitarian governments, religion, and — maybe most famously — robots.
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