What? A new Total Recall? How did I not know about this?
To say that Philip K Dick was a prolific writer is an understatement. He wrote nearly 50 novels, 150 short stories, 6 tomes of correspondence and a handful of works have been published compiling his non-fiction writings. He was the master of paranoia science fiction, which is generally credited to his drug use in the 1960s. Dick spoke openly about the hallucinations he experienced as a result and incorporated those experiences into his writing.
Despite being recognized with nominations, awards and the esteem of peers like Heinlein, Bradbury, Zelazny and the like, his writing never garnered mainstream popularity. His ideas were on the fringe and people didn’t know what to make of them. Filmmakers on the other hand have embraced his ideas many times over with 13 films being based on short stories and novels that he penned. He is often cited as an influence for many contemporary writers and filmmakers. I was particularly excited to learn that Michel Gondry is pursuing a film version of Ubik.
Back to Total Recall. I loved the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie when I was a kid; not because it was fine filmmaking. I simply hadn’t seen much like it (mutant with three boobs included) up to that point and it piqued my curiosity. The other film I’d seen that intrigued me was Blade Runner. These films helped introduce me to the world of science fiction, which was a huge favor that I won’t forget. Little did I know at the time that the mind of one man was ultimately behind both works.
I’m generally not a huge proponent of remakes. This time, I might feel differently. The majority of movies based on Dick’s work were spun from short stories. Short stories are about ideas. It’s rare that a short story can develop a palpable, breathing character in the few pages they cover. Making a new film based on a short story, based on an idea, leaves room to imagine a richer plot in new ways. I’m not saying that I think this film will be a masterpiece by any stretch, but it should be entertaining to watch and give the viewer something different than the first film version. Worst case scenario, I can be entertained by the videogame-esque fight scenes and enjoy the AC.
This brief interview with Dick gives a small insight into his mind. The man was married 5 times but was alone at the end. Well, not completely alone. He had two cats, Harvey and Mrs. Mabel M. Tubbs. Those are some great cat names. It’s a meaningless detail but it makes me like him even more.