Philip K. Dick

Philip

Philip K. Dick, well respected science-fiction writer, worked closely with the BLADE RUNNER producers until his untimely passing in March 1982. (photo by Tessa Dick)

Do Andoids Dream of Electric Sheep?

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, the classic science-fiction novel from which BLADE RUNNER was adapted, was first published in 1969.

"All I can say is that the world in BLADE RUNNER is where I really live. That is where I think I am anyway. This world will now be a world that every member of the audience will inhabit. It will not be my private world. It is now a world where anyone who will go into the theatre and sit down and watch the film will be caught up and the world is so overpowering, it is so profoundly overpowering that it is going to be very hard for people to come out of it and adjust to what we normally encounter.

"Once the film begins, you are taken from this world into that world and you really are in that world. And I think the most exciting thing is that it is a lived-in world. A world where people actually live. It is not a hygienically pristine space colony which looks like a model seen at the Smithsonian Institute. No, this is a world where people live. And the cars use gas and are dirty and there is kind of a gritty rain falling and its smoggy. Its just terribly convincing when you see it.

"Everbody seems to have some kind of business that he is engaged in. Everybody is involved in some kind of thing. Which is what you really do see in a big metropolis. You always wonder, who are these people? Where are they going? What are they doing? What kind of lives are they leading? You become endlessly curious about this amazing complex life of the metropolis. What exists behind those closed doors? What is going on behind those lighted windows? You get a glimpse but you never get the full story.

"One day I woke up and realized that there are 47,000 barrels of nuclear waste that have been dumped in the Atlantic and about half of that in the Pacific. In 45 years those thousands and thousands of barrels of nuclear waste, radioactive waste will begin to leak into the ocean and begin to destroy the life chain at its source. And suddenly I realized that, although I won't be alive when it happens, my children and other people will be alive. I realized that this is the most urgent problem that faces us. Destruction of the ocean is destruction of the whales, the porpoises and the life chain itself. We are poisoning our entire life and we really must be the guardians and the caretakers of the whole biosphere. I allways thought of it as a hypothetical situation and all of a sudden it became extremely real.

"The Voight-Kampff empathy test is probably as valid a test as there is ever going to be--because it is testing for something beyond intelligence, but which is still a form of intelligence. It is sort of a higher form of intelligence, that is, a concern for other living beings. What the test really asks the replicant to demonstrate is a reciprocal concern for other life. One is concerned for the replicants and one asks in return from the replicants a concern for the lives of other creatures. The replicants are entitled to this concern but only if they themselves exhibit it.

"The purpose of this story as I saw it was that in his job of hunting and killing these replicants, Deckard becomes progressively dehumanized. At the same time, the replicants are being perceived as becoming more human. Finally, Deckard must question what he is doing, and really what is the essential difference between him and them? And, to take it one step further, who is he if there is no real difference?

"Seeing Rutger Hauer as Batty just scared me to death, because it was exactly as I had pictured Batty, but more so. I could have picked Sean Young out of a hundred different women as Rachael. She has that look.

"Ofcourse Harrison Ford is more like Rick Deckard than I could have even imagined. I mean it is just incredible. It was simply eerie when I first saw the stills of Harrison Ford. I was looking at some stills from the movie and I thought, this character, Deckard, really exists. There was a time that he did not exist, now he actually exists. But he is not the result of any one individual's conception or effort. He is to a very large extent, Harrison Ford's efforts. And there is actually, in some eerie way, a genuine, real, authentic Deckard now.

"Friends of mine who looked at the photographs, who read the novel, said, 'Do you realize that if you had not written that book, Harrison Ford would not be wearing that tie, he would not be wearing those shoes?' And I said, 'That is true. But what is more exciting is that if Harrison Ford had not played that role, Deckard would never become an actual person.' Ford radiates this tremendous reality when you see him. And seeing him as a character I created is a stunning and almost supernatural experience to me."

-Philip K. Dick

PKD Biography

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