The ultra-rare, and until now difficult-to-find screenplay PKD wrote for a cinematic adaptation of his novel Ubik, is now available as a hardcover from Subterranean Press.
I have yet to read this, as I was reluctant to shell out well over $100 bucks to read the previous edition and just yesterday discovered this new edition was out.
According to Subterranean's website:
"The screenplay features an ending that differs markedly from that of the novel."
What else does the screenplay feature?:
"Dick included far more parenthetical description and interpretation than can be standard for screenplays, and so we have here his considered, after-the-fact portraits of Glen Runciter, Ella Runciter, Joe Chip, Pat Conley, and Ubik itself. And too, with a facility that's scarce among novelists, he smoothly adapts his story to the wider, deeper ranges of the film medium. The Ubik 'ads' are much more effective as actual intrusions than as chapter headings, the soundtrack becomes a central element (and makes us wonder what music Dick would have chosen to complement some of his other novels), and he presents the dysfunctions in time and perception even more effectively when he imagines them enacted on a movie screen. In some ways, in fact, it almost seems as though we're getting a purer version of UBIK—something closer to the original conception than the text of the novel." - From Tim Powers' new Forward to the screenplay.
Sounds good. Interesting to note that Dick seemed to both enjoy writing the screenplay but also benefited from it by learning something about his process as a writer.
In an interview with Paul Williams on Halloween 1974, PKD said: ""When I was doing the [Ubik] screenplay, I realized I've got a little screen in my head, and the people walk around on it"
Williams says: "They're real" [unclear if this is a question or a statement]
PKD responds: "They're little, Paul, they're about that big - [laughter] - Yeah, they move around, you know, I was going like this, looking up, talking and saying, 'there goes Joe out the door, slam.'...I didn't realize it until I did the screenplay [for Ubik] where I had to visualize, and I realized I didn't have to 'cause that was -- I didn't know any other way to do it. And I got to going -- I was literally looking up, type type type and look up" (Only Apparently Real 76)
PKD was originally asked by Jean-Pierre Gorin to write an adaption of Ubik, with hopes that Francis Ford Coppola might finance production, alas, funding fell throuh and the Ubik adaptation was scrapped, that is until recently when a production company called Celluloid Dreams optioned the novel. It's unclear whether or not the production will be using PKD's screenplay. I seem to remember a Hollywood friend of mine saying that PKD's script was on the long side and contained so many directions that many filmmakers might balk at trying to shoot it.
The screenplay is still on the expensive side: hardcover editions are listed $35 and the Wub-fur bound 'lettered' editions, signed by Powers and Tad Williams (who wrote the Afterward), are $150. So the screenplay went from expensive and difficult to find, to expensive and easier to find. At least we seem to be moving in the right direction, though I wonder, perhaps it'll be cheaper when (and where) we're all dead.
Buy it new at Amazon for $25.15