The early eighties were remarkable, to me anyhow. Not only did my fascination with science fiction grind into high gear, but there was an explosion of new and modern genre films that hit the scene at around that time, in particular, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner many having been influenced by film-makers from a bygone era, and more importantly, by novels penned by hardcore science fiction authors, such as Philip K Dick, just a decade earlier.

So, there I was, in the school library, looking for a book that was adapted into a movie I had just seen. Instead of finding the weirdly titled ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’, I ended up with a paperback with an even less appealing name. ‘The Man in the High Castle’. The one with Max Ernst‘s ‘The Petrified Forest” cover.

Philip K. Dick The Man in the High Castle book cover.

I didn’t even know alternate reality books existed, yet the way the author dealt with the characters as they inhabited a post-world war society where the Axis powers reigned supreme, proves to me this was a writer worth investing in.

With his little background details, such as American workers having poorer eyesight than their Germanic overlords or the grand suggestion that our world could be as fake as the one presented in the novel, Dick basically stripped away the veneer that masked my view of reality. That is his amazing talent. After setting off on a mission to read all his books and short stories, It didn’t surprise me, that decades later, this author’s work would become one of the biggest properties for film and TV adaptation.

The Good.

The Man in the High Castle

Apart from a few superficial changed, such as the book swapped for a film, this television series, Season 1 anyway, is spot on. Highly recommend.

Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049

Both films are as important to watch as any true sci-fi aficionado. Rare that a sequel does justice to the original.

Minority Report

Again, with a talented director such as Spielberg, this is a true PKD experience.

A Scanner Darkly

Great visuals, a great cast, and a commitment to the story that’s ingenious and refreshing.

Total Recall (1990)

Standard eighties fare, can’t go wrong.

The Not So Bad.

Total Recall (2012)

Even though PKD wasn’t credited, it still has its roots in the original story.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

The film looks exactly as I visualised it when I first read the short story. For fans, it’s worth sitting through this romantic caper.

Paycheck (2003)

It captures enough of the PKD mindset to pass, but the direction is very very pedestrian. At least it’s got Uma Thurman in it.

Impostor (2001)

This movie fails to hit the mark because it seems incomplete and underdeveloped. It was a short film that got stretched out into a feature so maybe that’s the problem. Still, it captures the essence of the story it’s based on.

Screamers (1995)

This movie comes very close to the original short story, Second Variety. Despite the nonthreatening screamers and the cheap effects, there are still some good moments from the source material.

The Just Plain Ugly.

Next (2007)

This is a ‘loose’ adaptation. If they stuck to the original story, they could have had a hit.

Radio Free Albemuth (2010)

It’s funny, as soon as some corporation buys the entire estate, the quality just drops. TV minus standard fare.

Screamers: The Hunting (2009)

B standard video fare, giving the brand a bad name.

Honourable mentions

Total Recall 2070 (1999)

Minority Report (2015)

If you still can’t get enough, there are numerous shorts to track down.

Confessions d’un Barjo (1992)

Proini peripolos (1987)

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