A New 2-In-1 Illustrated Edition of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? & A Scanner Darkly

FYI: Illustrators Chris Skinner and Andrew Archer present a new illustrated edition of two Philip K. Dick's novels, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? & A Scanner Darkly. And it comes in a great format. Read one novel, then flip the book upside down and enter the next altered reality.

The 2-in-1 book is only available through the Folio Society website.

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Watch the New Trailer for Electric Dreams, the Philip K. Dick TV Series, Starring Bryan Cranston, Steve Buscemi & More

If you had told critics and film executives thirty-five years ago that Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner would be one of the most beloved sci-fi films of all time—that it would transcend cult status to become a near-religious object in science fiction and anime filmmaking—you would likely have been laughed out of the room. If you had predicted that, thirty-five years later, it would spawn one of the most spectacular sequels imaginable, you might have been met with concern for your sanity. The world was just not ready for Blade Runner in 1982, just as it was not ready for Philip K. Dick in the 50s when he began his writing career and “couldn’t even pay the late fees on a library book.”

In the following decade, however, Dick’s work came into its own. Many years before it provided a near-infallible source for technological prescience and existential futurism in cinema, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the novella from which Blade Runner adapted its story, got a Nebula award nomination, one of three Dick received in the 60s. Five years earlier, he won a Hugo award for The Man in the High Castle.

Now, after the success of that speculative historical novel’s grim Amazon adaptation, the company has partnered with Channel 4 and Sony for another small-screen Dick project—Electric Dreams, co-produced by Bryan Cranston, a longtime fan of the author.




An anthology series based on Dick’s stories, Electric Dreams first airs on Channel 4 in the U.K., and will soon move to Amazon, where Prime users will be able to stream the whole 10-episode season for free. (If you aren’t a Prime user, you can get a 30-day free trial to watch the series, then keep or cancel the membership.) Electric Dreams reminds us that a couple of phenomena from Dick’s heyday have made a significant comeback in recent years. First, imaginative, high-concept anthology shows like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror and the Duplass brothers’ Room 104 hearken back to the success of The Twilight Zone and lesser-known shows like Roald Dahl’s Way Out.

Secondly, we’ve made a return to the paranoia, social unrest, authoritarianism, and threats of nuclear war that formed the backdrops of Dick’s visionary fables. These are indeed “anxious times,” as Cranston says, but he and the show’s other producers instructed the writers to “use the original material as a springboard to your own re-imagining of the story—keep the core… or idea behind it and enhance that and see how that affects not a Cold War period when it was written, but now. How does it affect the modern-day audience?”

Given the all-star cast and high-dollar production values evident in the trailer above, we can likely expect the same kind of quality from Electric Dreams as we have seen in nearly every Dick adaptation thus far. And if it doesn’t catch on right away, well, that may be everyone’s loss but those viewers who recognize, as Dick himself recognized when he saw Blade Runner in 1982, that they have experienced something truly unique.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Three New Prequels Get You Ready to Watch Blade Runner 2049: Watch Them Online, Then See the New Film on Friday

Even if you've spent each and every day since you first saw Ridley Scott's Blade Runner waiting for a sequel, you still might not be fully prepared for Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049 when it opens in theaters this Friday. The 1981 original took place in the Los Angeles of the then-far-flung future of 2019, meaning that 30 years have elapsed in the Blade Runner universe between its first feature film and its second. Much has taken place over those three decades, some of it portrayed by the three official short prequels released to the internet over the past month. Today we present them all in chronological order to catch you up with what happened after Harrison Ford's Blade Runner Rick Deckard picked up that origami unicorn and left the building.

In 2020, the year after Blade Runner, the artificial-being-making Tyrell Corporation introduces a new model of replicant, with a longer lifespan, called the Nexus 8S. Two years later comes "the Blackout," an electromagnetic pulse attack that destroys all technology within its reach. You can see it happen in Blade Runner Black Out 2022, the short at the top of the post directed by respected Japanese animator Shinichiro Watanabe (and featuring a score by Flying Lotus as well as a reprisal of the role of the quasi-Esperanto-speaking police officer Gaff by Edward James Olmos).




Replicants having taken the blame for the Blackout, their production gets legally prohibited until the efforts of an organization called the Wallace Corporation get the ban overturned in 2030. The man at the top of the Wallace Corporation, a certain Niander Wallace, first appears in 2036: Nexus Dawn (middle video), directed by Ridley Scott's son Luke.

In that prequel we see Wallace, who rose to prominence on his company's solution to global food shortages, submitting for approval his latest replicant, the Nexus 9 (although his negotiation strategy leaves little room for compromise). The younger Scott's 2048: Nowhere to Run (below), which introduces a new and imposing replicant character by the name of Sapper Morton, takes place just a year before the sequel, by which time, according to the timeline unveiled at this past summer's Comic-Con, "life on Earth has reached its limit and society divides between replicant and human." Enter Ryan Gosling's K, one of a new generation of replicant- hunters, who goes out in search of a predecessor who went missing some 30 years ago. All of this, of course, still leaves questions unanswered. Chiefly: will Blade Runner 2049 deliver what we've been waiting even more than three deacades for?

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Émile-Antoine Bayard’s Vivid Illustrations of Jules Verne’s Around the Moon: The First Serious Works of Space Art (1870)

What does space travel look like? Even now, in the 21st century, very, very few of us know first-hand. But we've all seen countless images from countless eras purporting to show us what it might look like. As with anything imagined by man, someone had to render a convincing vision of space travel first, and that distinction may well go to 19th-century French illustrator Émile-Antoine Bayard who, perhaps not surprisingly, worked with Jules Verne. Verne's pioneering and prolific work in science fiction literature has kept him a household name, but Bayard's may sound more obscure; still, we've all seen his artwork, or at least we've all seen the drawing of Cosette the orphan he did for Les Misérables.

"Readers of Jules Verne’s early science-fiction classic From the Earth to the Moon (De la terre à la lune) — which left the Baltimore Gun Club’s bullet-shaped projectile, along with its three passengers and dog, hurtling through space — had to wait a whole five years before learning the fate of its heroes," says The Public Domain Review.




When it appeared, 1870's Around the Moon (Autour de la Lune) offered not just "a fine continuation of the space adventure" but "a superb series of wood engravings to illustrate the tale" created by Bayard. "There had been imaginary views of other worlds, and even of space flight before this," writes Ron Miller in Space Art, "but until Verne's book appeared, these views all had been heavily colored by mysticism rather than science."

Composed strictly according to the scientific facts known at the time — with a departure here and there in the name of imagination and visual metaphor — the illustrations for A Trip Around the Moon, later published in a single volume with its predecessor as A Trip to the Moon and Around It, stand as the earliest known example of scientific space art. Verne went as far as to commission a lunar map by famed selenographers (literally, scholars of the moom's surface) Beer and Maedlerm, and just last year the Linda Hall Library named Bayard a "scientist of the day." As with the uncannily accurate predictions in Verne's earlier novel Paris in the Twentieth Century, a fair few of the ideas here, especially to do with the mechanics of the rocket's launch and return to Earth, remain scientifically plausible.

Whatever the innovation of the project's considerable scientific basis, its artistic impression fired up more than a few other imaginations: both Verne's words and Bayard's art, all 44 pieces of which you can view here, served as major inspirations for early filmmaker and "father of special effects" Georges Méliès, for instance, when he made A Trip to the Moon. Disappointed complaints about our persistent lack of moon colonies or even commercial space flight may have long since grown tiresome, but the next time you hear one of us denizens of the 21st century air them, remember the work of Verne and Bayard and think of how deep into history that desire really runs.

Via The Public Domain Review.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Jared Leto Stars in a New Prequel to Blade Runner 2049: Watch It Free Online

Blade Runner, as anyone who's seen so much as its first shot knows, takes place in the Los Angeles of November 2019. Though the film flopped when it came out in 1982, the acclaim and fans it has drawn with each of the 35 years that have passed since didn't take long to reach the kind of critical mass that demands a sequel. After numerous rumors and false starts, the October release of Blade Runner 2049, produced by Blade Runner director Ridley Scott and directed by Arrival director Denis Villeneuve, now fast approaches. The new movie's promotional push, which has so far included trailers and making-of featurettes, has now begun to tell us what happened between 2019 and 2049.

"I decided to ask a couple of artists that I respect to create three short stories that dramatize some key events that occurred after 2019, when the first Blade Runner takes place, but before 2049, when my new Blade Runner story begins," says Villeneuve in his introduction to the brand new short above.




Taking place in the Los Angeles of 2036, the Luke Scott-directed piece "revolves around Jared Leto’s character, Niander Wallace," writes Collider's Adam Chitwood, who "introduces a new line of 'perfected' replicants called the Nexus 9, seeking to get the prohibition on replicants repealed," the government having shut replicant production down thirteen years before due to a devastating electromagnetic pulse attack for which replicants took the blame.

A timeline appeared at Comic-Con this past summer covering the events of the thirty years between Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, though in very broad strokes: in 2020 "the Tyrell Corporation introduces a new replicant model, the Nexus 8S, which has extended lifespans," in 2025 "a new company, Wallace Corp., solves the global food shortage and becomes a massive super power," in 2049 "life on Earth has reached its limit and society divides between Replicant and human." The two other short films to come should just about tide over fans until the release of Blade Runner 2049 — not that those who've been waiting for a new Blade Runner movie since the 1980s can't handle another month.

The short Blade Runner 2049 prequel, entitled "Nexus: 2036," will be added to our list, 1,150 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc..

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Métal hurlant: The Hugely Influential French Comic Magazine That Put Moebius on the Map & Changed Sci-Fi Forever

Would you believe that one particular publication inspired a range of visionary creators including Ridley Scott, George Lucas, Luc Besson, William Gibson, and Hayao Miyazaki? Moreover, would you believe that it was French, from the 1970s, and a comic book? Not that that term "comic book" does justice to Métal hurlant, which during its initial run from 1974 to 1987 not only redefined the possibilities of the medium and greatly widened the imaginative possibilities of science fiction storytelling, but brought to prominence a number of wholly unconventional and highly influential artists, chief among them Jean Giraud, best known as Moebius.

Métal hurlant, according to Tom Lennon in his history of the magazine, launched "as the flagship title of Les Humanoïdes Associés, a French publishing venture set up by Euro comic veterans Moebius, Druillet and Jean-Pierre Dionnet, together with their finance director Bernard Farkas. Influenced by both the American underground comix scene of the 1960s and the political and cultural upheavals of that decade, their goal was bold and grandiose: they were going to kick ass, take names, and make people take comics seriously."




This demanded "artistic innovation at every level," from high-quality, large-format paper stock to risk-taking storytelling "shot through with a rich vein of humour and delivered with a narrative sophistication previously unseen in the medium."

Giraud took to the possibilities of the new publication with a special avidness. Under the pen name "Gir," writes Lennon, he "was best known as the co-creator of the popular Western series, Blueberry. By the mid-1970s, Giraud was feeling increasingly constrained by the conventions of the western genre, so decided to revive a long-dormant pseudonym to embark on more experimental work. As ‘Moebius’, Giraud not only worked in a different genre to ‘Gir’ – a deeply personal, highly idiosyncratic form of science fiction and fantasy – but his art looked like it was drawn by a completely different person," and "unlike anything that had been seen in comics — or, for that matter, in any other medium."

Métal hurlant saw the debuts of two of Moebius’ best-known characters: the pith-helmeted and mustachioed protector of miniature universes Major Grubert and the silent, pterodactyl-riding explorer Arzach, who bears a certain resemblance to the protagonist of Miyazaki's 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Read through the back issues of the magazine — or its 40-years-running American version, Heavy Metal — and you'll also glimpse, in the work of Moebius and others, elements that would later find their way into the worlds of NeuromancerMad MaxAlienBlade RunnerStar Wars, and much more besides.

“A while ago, SF was filled with monstrous rocket ships and planets,” said Moebius in 1980. "It was a naive and materialistic vision, which confused external space with internal space, which saw the future as an extrapolation of the present. It was a victim of an illusion of a technological sort, of a progression without stopping towards a consummation of energy." He and Métal hurlant did more than their part to transform and enrich that vision, but plenty of old perceptions still remain for their countless artistic descendants to warp beyond recognition.

via Tom Lennon/Dazed Digital

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

H.R. Giger’s Tarot Cards: The Swiss Artist, Famous for His Design Work on Alien, Takes a Journey into the Occult

The first tarot cards appeared in Europe in the mid-fifteenth century, and those who used them used to play simple card games. But as the art of the tarot deck developed to incorporate a host of historical, philosophical, and astronomical symbols, their imagery took on more weight, and a couple hundred years later the cards had become popular instruments of divination. From the late eighteenth century on, one could obtain tarot decks specifically designed for occult purposes, and their artistic variety has only expanded in the 250 or so years since. In the 1990s, the imaginative world of tarot collided with an equally rich set of visions: those of H.R. Giger.

Giger, a Swiss artist who first gained worldwide fame and influence with his design work on Ridley Scott's Alien (up to and including the terrifying alien itself), united the biological and the mechanical in a distinctive and disturbing fashion.




After seeing Giger's art in his first book of paintings Necronomicon, a Swiss occultist by the name of Akron understood its potential as tarot imagery. The collection's title picture, Akron writes, showed a "fascinating monster" called Baphomet, "the symbol of the connection between the rational and irrational world," the same function performed by the occult tarot deck itself.

When Akron approached Giger proposing to collaborate on a deck, according to i09's Lauren Davis, "Giger felt that he didn't have the time to create new works that would do the deck justice. So he selected 22 of his existing, previously unpublished pieces" for the cards' faces. In a later interview, "Giger says that he never studied Tarot cards and in fact, had no interest in having his fortune told with them. (Giger claimed he was too superstitious, though he describes Akron's descriptions of the individual cards as 'sometimes crazy, but funny — but not probably very serious.')" His "mix of occult iconography, demonic organisms, and his trademark biomechanical aesthetic make for apt, if unusually dark Tarot illustrations."

You can see more of Giger and Akron's tarot deck, available in both English and German, at i09 and Dangerous Minds. Or better yet, pick up your own deck of cards. While browsing, do keep in mind two things: first, that Giger's visions, even those selected to represent age-old tarot arcana, can certainly get NSFW. Second, even though the artist specialized in nightmarish imagery (hence his popularity on the grimmer side of science fiction) we should resist interpreting them too literally as representations of the future. After all, the cards, as a much more lighthearted production once joked, are vague and mysterious.

via io9

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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