A Mid-Summer Night’s Streaming

This past week I took a break from watching movies I’d requested through my local library (see my previous post about dumping my Netflix DVD subscription) and switched to streaming two new (to us) science fiction series via Amazon Prime.

My favorite thing about streaming a series is not having to wait a week between episodes, especially when you are coming late to the party.  I do occasionally binge watch, but usually no more than four (4) episodes at once.  I have limited myself to two (2) episodes a night of The Man in the High Castle with a solo sandwiched between allowing me to complete five (5) episodes this week.  And I must say I am hooked.

It’s been years since I read PKD’s novel but even with my vague recollections I’m riveted by this production.  I’ve pulled out my ebook edition to reread, but that won’t prevent me from continuing on with the rest of season one.  There’s a reason PKD has so many adaptations.  If you haven’t read anything by him, I highly recommend him.

The second series we started watching this week was Humans (stylized with an upside down A).  I decided to watch this series based on an article I read months ago that stated if you really want to experience a robot rebellion, try Humans instead of or in addition to Westworld.  I very much enjoyed Westworld, especially the cinematography, production quality, story and acting, which sets a very high bar for Humans to meet.  

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Audiobook Review: Minority Report and Other Stories by PKD (3.1 Stars)

Minority Report and Other Stories by Philip K. Dick

Narrated by Keir Dullea

3.1 out of 5 stars

Read in August 2013

Once again I find myself loving and hating PKD’s writing.  He created and imagined very intriguing stories and ideas.  I just don’t always agree with his buried (sometimes not so subtly) political ramblings.  I liked the title story, but not nearly as well as I liked the movie (even with Cruise starring in it).  I should have waited and read the story first, I suppose.

I found the gem in this collection to be the one called “Second Variety.”  I wanted more, much more, from that dimension.  I did think the protagonist was a bit slow on the uptake, though, as I thought the actions of the undercover antagonists to be obvious and telegraphed (pardon the pun).

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Movie Review: Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012)

3 out of 5 stars

I find myself drawn to movies inspired from PKD short stories.  I was a bit disappointed when the Adjustment Bureau did not win the Nebula Award (Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation) in 2011.  And I suppose it’s time I watched Minority Report and Bladerunner, but first I’m going to read the original stories as written by the incomparable Phillip K. Dick.  In the case of Total Recall, the short story is entitled ‘We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale.’  Since I have not read the original short story, I will refrain from making comparisons and questioning the adaptation as portrayed in this latest re-imagining.

I will however compare this 2012 version to the other 1990 edition, which I’ve watched many times.  Off the top of my head, I didn’t care for the excision of Mars from the plot.  The Colony became Britain’s Penal Colony continent (Australia) and the world is toast, chemically speaking, except for the British Isles and Australia, connected by a super-fast (17 minutes one-way) tunnel through the Earth’s core called the Fall.  I remain skeptical and would like to see a bit more science and less fiction explaining that setup.

I actually found it hard to watch this remake because I knew, before hand, some of the key plot points that would occur.  No, they didn’t coincide completely with what I suspected, but enough doubt remained in my mind that I did not enjoy the film as much as I probably could or should have.  For example, I really hoped that the ending would return us to Rekall and leave us wondering if it was ‘real’ or ‘Memorex’ but this adaptation preferred to alter reality and continue with less ambiguity.  I think I would have preferred the more thought-provoking ending.

I guess the best thing I can say about this movie is I didn’t fall asleep while watching it.  I know, that’s not saying much, but it happens to me quite frequently.  But it didn’t knock my socks off as I expect when you’re adapting material from one of the 20th century’s most lauded science fiction authors.

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

4/4.5 out of 5 stars

Nebula Nominee

If I had a vote or a voice for this year’s Nebula Award (specifically the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation), this movie would get mine.  I’ve watched it twice now and I loved every minute of it.

The film is based on a short story called “The Adjustment Team” written by Philip K. Dick published in the Sep/Oct 1954 issue of Orbit Science Fiction.  I cannot compare the film adaptation to the original short story, as I have not yet read it, but I can see the hand of PKD in the themes exhibited.

What appealed to me most about this story is the questions it raises, about fate and free will, and how we live our lives.  Science fiction doing what it does best.