Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-five - Prophets of Science Fiction: Phillip K. Dick, "Why on EARTH did they make those 'dramatizations?'"

As a writer, myself, and a big fan of Science Fiction in general, seeing this Science Channel documentary show up as a recommendation by the mysterious Algorithms, I have to admit that my interest was a little piqued.

Having watched the episode covering Phillip K. Dick, though, I must say that I was very disappointed.

To its credit, the doc gets a fairly wide spread of authors, filmmakers, and actual engineers, scientists, and theoreticians to comment on the man and his body of work. Attention is given to his mental stresses in addition to his far-seeing predictions concerning robotics, memory, technology, and alternate realities.

That part is just fine. Well, for the most part, I think.

What is really annoying, though, are the cheap dramatizations of him both as a child and as an adult, particularly as a paranoid stoner living in Southern California.

You can kind of choke back the laughter in the early bits that cover the possible invasion and ransacking of his home, but the moment they get to the "he opened his house to miscreants" bits and the fake beards and terrible wardrobes (not to mention the horribly melodramatic acting) come into play, I honestly couldn't take the doc seriously anymore.

I guess, going into the documentary, I was really hoping for an examination of his methods and messages in terms of the practical process of his writing... something that I probably shouldn't have expected. Really, the only mention of his writing process comes in the form of the wacky I Ching device he apparently used to work in his "alternate universe" stories, which makes him seem more like a loon than a creative writer.

Maybe it's my own fault for expecting more than a bare bones analysis that was played for sensationalism instead of insight. I mean, it's not like the doc was directed by Ken Burns or anything, but still.

Disappointment was definitely the theme for my feelings concerning this episode of Prophets of Science Fiction. I think that I'll hang on for one more (in particular, the one that focuses on Robert Heinlein), but after that I have a feeling that I'm going to wash my hands of the series.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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