Sunday, October 24, 2004

Science Fiction

Since childhood, I have always been an avid science fiction fan. (Does that make me a definite card-carrying geek?) I've always liked reading works from most notably Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, and perhaps a further spattering of other works and writers i have forgot about. The thing that most intrigued me about Isaac Asimov's work was his concept of the 3 laws of robotics; for that, many times he has been named the father of the concept of modern robotics. Indeed, his work influenced a lot of people and a lot of subgenres, even pushing the production of the loosely connected I, Robot starring Will Smith, this year.

The movie itself was rather bland, bringing forth a concept many times already done by Hollywood or anime movies; the subjugation (or attempts to) of man by machine. The movie falls in line with another of my all-time favorites, The Matrix, complete with its blatant references to anime anyway. But it also must be seen that Isaac Asimov's work, for instance, an inspiration to another movie, Bicentennial Man, starring Robin Williams, has been around since the 1970s, thus chronologically a much earlier work than most of the more popular ground breaking Hollywood or anime movies. Remember that in the 1970s, anime was still more Speed Racer than Patlabor or Gundam.

It is too bad that today's generation would not be able to recognize Issac Asimov's work for what it is (except perhaps, geeks like me) other than yet another movie inspired by a book with an overused concept. That said, although most SF afociandos would have loved the depiction of the future in I, Robot, the movie itself gives almost no justice to the original work (not that I remember it as a whole); even Bicentennial Man stayed true to the actual underlying story.

In the last 2 decades, there has been newfound interest in the work of another SF writer, Philip K. Dick. Again, a name that only geeks will recognize, haha. Even I have had belated interest in his work, since during my library years there was hardly any books by him around, as compared to today, and a surge of movies inspired by his books has only occured recently.

The classic Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, was inspired by the short story Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? And that was way back in 1982; movies following were Total Recall starring Arnold Schwazenegger (from We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), Minority Report starring Tom Cruise (from The Minority Report), and most recently Paycheck, starring Ben Affleck (from the short story with the same title). More recently, his collection of novels and short stories have been reprinted in greater glory; prompting me to buy one, completely out of usual habit, after only reading 2 pages at QB World bookstore.

So yesterday, after a useless day of racing and watching Kill Bill 2 (I think it was cool), i went to QB, browsed around, and finally bought the collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick titled Paycheck. I have always been intrigued to what the actual books are like if they inspire movies, one point to see how the director's vision of the book goes in line with the author. And of course, a book lasts longer in your mind than a movie.

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