Sunday, April 1, 2007

Mr Smith Goes to Proxima Centauri!?



In a new book of Dick criticism titled, L' oscuro scrutare di Philip K. Dick Italian critic Frasca Gabriele argues that Dick's alternate realities may have been inspired by Frank Capra's movie "It's a Wonderful Life." In an email to the pkd litserv Umberto Rossi (another Italian Dickhead and critic) writes, "Well, I saw [the film] yesterday and I have to admit it's so true it's almost ludicrous. The Cosmic Puppets comes from that. But also other things (the scene in CASTLE where Tagomi visits our world, plus some aspects of UBIK)." The movie was based on a short SF story by Philip Van Doren Stern called "The Greatest Gift." From what I gather Gabriele points to the film's anti-capitalist subtext -- I wonder if the comparison could be taken further: do Dick's alternate worlds illustrate the importance of the character in his or her "real world"?

Since I do not read Italian I have to take Umberto at his word on the plausibility of Gabriele's assertion but he is certainly a knowledgeable and insightful Dick-head. I guess we'll have to wait for him to review the book for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction -- but in the meantime perhaps I will put "It's a Wonderful Life" on my Netflix queue.

6 comments:

Umberto Rossi said...

Actually the review will be published by Science-Fiction Studies. Of course I don't know when, but will keep you informed.

C. Jerry Kutner said...

It's a Wonderful Life's alternate realities are, of course, directly inspired by Charles DICKens'A Christmas Carol, in which The Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge a future reality he can prevent by changing his miserly ways.

Cliff said...

Charles Dickens: The literary grandfather of Philip K. Dick.

moon_custafer said...

I think Dickens' lesser-known The Chimes might be a closer model for It's a Wonderful Life, being the story of a good man fallen into despair being shown how much worse life would be without him - in the case of The Chimes, Trotty Veckis shown an alternate present or near-future in which he has recently died.

Anonymous said...

Dickens was time-warped pun on the surname Dick. The final sylable gotlodged in a womehole.

Here's to Black Hole prism
and other Dickish jism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCob8g4Hiss

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