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Help: Fiction into Film!

August 31st, 2015 | Posted by Philip J Reed in Fiction Into Film | Meta

Blade Runner

Fiction into Film has already gained some pretty awesome traction, due in large part to the official Vladimir Nabokov social profiles sharing my Lolita piece, and John Carpenter himself sharing my writeup on They Live. If you wonder why those have a few thousand likes and shares on Facebook while everything else I write maxes out at about four, there you go.

So I’m feeling pretty good about the series, and I have a nice long list of things to cover on what I hope continues to be a monthly basis.

But there’s one stubborn holdout: Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s 1982 adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

This is why I’m asking, openly, if anyone out there would like to cover it.

Blade Runner is an important film in general, and I believe firmly that a piece discussing the process of adaptation would make for a great read. It’s something I’d like to have. In fact, the series would feel incomplete without it; it’s a film that people keep suggesting that I cover, and for good reason.

But here’s my hesitation: I don’t know enough about the film’s multiple cuts and tortured editing history. In most cases I’d just need to watch a film and read a book, then whack out a brilliant essay about what I learned. (I AM SIMPLIFYING)

In this case, the question of which version of the film to watch, what to consider (or disregard) from the various incarnations and edits, what actually happens and how those events are presented in order to guide our understanding of them as viewers…well, it’s just a bit too much.

It’s something I certainly don’t trust myself to handle authoritatively, and I think it’s wiser for me to step aside and let somebody else take the reins.

Are you interested in covering Blade Runner? I won’t pay you because WHO THE FUCK PAYS ME, but it may get some pretty cool attention and put your name out there. And I can promise you that though these take a hell of a lot of time to write, they’re also a lot of fun, and you’ll find yourself noticing things you hadn’t before, just by virtue of trying to put your thoughts into words.

I’m not requiring that all edits are covered…it’s just that I’m not well-versed enough in Blade Runner to know what should be discussed and what — by and large — we’ve decided not to.

I’d definitely be interested in hearing from you if you think you’re up to the task. If you want to be the gal or guy to cover Blade Runner for Fiction into Film, get in touch. I’d love to have you.

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6 Responses

  • Casey says:

    I had no idea there were different versions of the film! I’ll admit: I absolutely hated the film when I saw it a few years ago after reading the book. So it’s entirely possible I saw something different from what everyone else likes so much.

    • Philip J Reed says:

      Evidently there are seven(!) significantly different cuts of the film. I didn’t realize it was that many. I grew up with a VHS that I later learned was the director’s cut. It didn’t have any narration, among other changes. Then I went to buy the film a while back on BluRay and it was a third version I’d never heard of before. Even with three versions I’d feel like I was in over my head…but seven is madness.

      I’m a casual fan at best…and something like this seems to have enough in the way of real-world variation that I’m not confident I can do it justice.

      • Ridley says:

        I’d love to have you.

        I’ve seen Back to Earth. That’s based on one of them.

      • Sarah Portland says:

        Seven?! Fuck. The book and film are on my to-do list because, well, Ready Player One. But seven is a bit overwhelming.
        Might I suggest, should you not find someone to do the job thoroughly, that you have read the book and seen two versions, and that is at least enough to start with?

  • When I was growing up my dad’s old paperback copy of the book was one of my favourites, so when I finally saw the movie as an adult I was like, wtf did I just watch

    I would say everything that’s important to me about the book got excised for the translation, but that’s not quite right. It’s more that there was no “translation”, or “adaption”, Ridley Scott just took the main character’s name, that it was set ‘in the future’, and that there were robots that looked like people, and made up the rest whole cloth.

    There’s an entire religion based around empathy that’s forced on people out of a guilty obligation to the planet due to the whole irradiated-wasteland-outcome-of-WWIII that is completely missing. The main character’s WIFE is missing, the one he “cheats” on with a robot. The Penfield Mood Organ is missing. Everything important and interesting is missing. In my opinion, obviously.

    Even the stupid fucking name! “Blade runners” were medical equipment smugglers that Scott read about (literally “running scalpels” across contested borders) and he just thought it sounded cool. It makes no sense! It makes no fucking goddamn sense at all and people love it so much and it drives me crazy. It’s like that episode of South Park where everyone loves dubstep.. er, “tweenwave”, but all Kyle can hear is the sound of butts pooping when he listens to it. This is what everyone thinks is so great?



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