Thursday, December 31, 2009
The Decade's Top Ten PKD Moments
Everyone and their subsumed evil twin is compiling some list or other to mark the year and decade's end. We here at the Total Dick-Head humbly submit our own list: Top Ten PKD Moments of the Aughts:
10. Total Dick-Head Is Born: perhaps it's more than a tad egotistical to suggest this blog is in any way significant, but it's my blog and you're reading it - so there.
9. Blade Runner (Final Cut): Hollywood doesn't create so much as repackage these days, but we should feel quite lucky that Blade Runner finally got the box-set treatment it so richly deserved - with tons of extras like The Edge of Blade Runner documentary and the short doc about PKD. Plus, how much fun was it to watch this classic on the big screen?
8. Dissed in the New Yorker: With Dick's newly found literary success came a slew of articles pondering his rising star, none quite as snobbish, effete, and misguided as Adam Gopnik's piece "Blows to the Empire" in the New Yorker.
7. Sketchy Movie Details: during the whirlwind goodtimes of 2007 it seemed every other post on this blog was announcing a new movie deal or PKD adaptation in the works. At one point it seemed there would be two dueling bio-pics about PKD, one produced by Dick's daughters, produced by Paul Giamatti (who was slated to play Dick) called The Owl in Daylight, the other a low-budget independent initially titled Panasonic, but eventually released as Your Name Here, which subsequently dropped off the face of the earth. I recently asked the director Matthew Wilder when we might get a chance to see the film and he replied, "When Dakota Fanning looks like Phyllis Diller." But in the clear light of the late Aughties recession, many of these other adaptations have been shelved. Script problems and production company hangups have stalled Owl, and I fear The King of the Elves, Ubik, and others may meet similar fates. Halcyon Productions, who signed a first-look deal with the Estate is in the midst of filing for bankruptcy (or applying for TARP bailout funds, or hawking Terminator Salvation posters cheap).
6. The Penultimate Truth: This Argentine documentary has tons of never-before-seen footage including clips from PKD's infamous Metz speech. Extensive interviews with Tim Powers, Kevin Jeter, Ray Nelson, and three of Dick's five wives make this video worth watching and owning.
5. The Search for Philip K Dick Revised: For years Anne Dick's memoir/biography of PKD was impossible to find and/or hundreds of dollars. Now, thanks to the internet and Anne's tireless effort to self-publish, everyone can read this fascinating look at our favorite author.
4. Mainstream Novels Published: In perhaps the greatest pyrrhic victory in publishing (an arena where all victories are pyrrhic) Dick's handfuls of mainstream novels written in the 50s and 60s were finally published by Tor in nice hardcover editions. If you ask me, Puttering About in a Small Land is the best of these.
3. PKD Android Loses Head: If anybody needed additional evidence that Philip K Dick is scripting our world from beyond the grave for his own amusement, you need look no further than the strange story of Hansen Robotics and the Case of the Missing Head.
2. Scanner Darkly: The most faithful cinematic adaptation of a PKD novel yet, this effort, the first produced with hands-on input from Dick's daughters Laura and Isa, proved Dick's works don't need to be augmented with action sequences and CGI explosions to succeed. A great film, and one that I think will grow in popularity in the future - Linklater set the bar quite high for subsequent adaptations.
1. Inclusion in the Library of America: How fitting that in the decade when the world became the most like a Philip K Dick novel, Dick's work is finally getting the literary recognition it deserves. These three volumes from the prestigious publishing stamp help cement Dick's literary status, forever enshrined with great American writers like Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Faulkner.
Did I miss anything? Chime in in the comments section.
Need a little hope going forward? OK, how about a Radio Free Albemuth adaptation hopefully hitting theaters in 2010, and Laurence Rickels forthcoming scholarly work on PKD: I Think I Am: Philip K Dick - due out in April of 2010? Should be a good year!