Re: RARA-AVIS: Noir Sci-fi

From: Stephen Burridge (
Date: 29 Oct 2007

When I was young, sf was my genre of choice, and I read quite a lot of it, including I believe all of Dick's sf novels. Fwiw, I think "A Scanner Darkly" was the darkest sf book I ever read. I still remember how it affected me. I thought the recent movie was actually quite good. It may have lacked some of the power of the novel, but the unique visual system seemed quite suitable as a means of conveying this kind of story, and I thought some of the actors were well cast and performed memorably (Downie and Reeves in particular.)

I pretty much stopped reading sf in the early 1980s. Among the relatively few works by sf writers I've read since then are some of Dick's previously unpublished mainstream novels, which can be noirish, concerned with the lives of unhappy people in 1950s urban America, but aren't typically quite as intense or crime -ridden as real noir (as I think of it.)

I thought of Dick as an influence when I watched the Coen brothers' "The Man Who Wasn't There".

He probably qualifies as more than a cult figure at this point, with one
"Library of America" volume out and another possibly in the works.


On 10/26/07, Nathan Cain <> wrote:
> I made it about ten minutes into the movie and quit watching. I don't
> think
> it really captured the book's essence at all. The movie version seemed
> more
> focused on critiquing the drug war than it was with Dick's ideas about
> identity and reality.
> As for the book, it, like a lot of Dick's fiction, is a mess. He tended to
> write quickly while taking prodigious quantities of amphetamines, and I'm
> not sure how much editing his manuscripts received. If I had to guess I'd
> say not much, with a few exceptions. Still, It's worth reading. It's
> certainly not a bad book. Dick had a lot of talent, undisciplined as he
> was.
> He could've been more than a cult figure if he had been more serious about
> his craft and less so about the drugs.
> On 10/26/07, <> <
> <>> wrote:
> >
> > By the way, there's also a pretty recent movie (and tie in graphic
> > novel) of A Scanner Darkly. I certainly wouldn't watch it before
> > reading the book, but it's worth seeing afterwards. I'm not saying the
> > book is great, in fact I'm guessing parts of it would not have made
> > sense if I hadn't recently reread the novel, but it is interesting the
> > see how Linklater captured the druggy vision of the characters (and
> > author) through his odd rotoscopish animation.
> >
> > Mark
> >
> >
> >
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 29 Oct 2007 EDT