March 11, 2007

New Philip K. Dick movie

Filed under: Movies, philip k. dick — ubikcan @ 9:00 pm

A new PKD movie is being released: “Next” based on the 1954 short story “The Golden Man.” It will come out in the USA on April 27, 2007.

In the story, set in a post apocalyptic America, “radiation-spawned” mutants have evolved and are hunted down by the DCA. However, one mutant, an 18-year old by the name of Cris Johnson has survived. He is golden, silent, amazingly attractive to women, and grew up on a remote farm (like Superman I guess). His own family don’t understand him and in fact he has never spoken. But here is the book jacket blurb (from the 1980 Book Club Edition):

In the aftermath of an atomic war, the powers that be have managed to exterminate most of the radiation-spawned mutants. But there is one in particular they cannot kill–a great, golden-skinned man who has the power to see into the future, a man who is sexually irresisti9ble to women, and more than capable of fathering a race of golden-skinned, mutant children…

The Nazi overtones are deliberate. As Dick says in a rare commentary on his story in the Author’s Notes:

Here I am saying that mutants are dangerous to us ordinaries, a view which John W. Campbell, Jr. deplored. We were supposed to view them as our leaders. But I always felt uneasy as to how they would view us. I mean, maybe they wouldn’t want to lead us. Maybe from their superevolved lofty level we wouldn’t seem worth leading. Anyhow, even if they agreed to lead us, I felt uneasy as to where we would wind up going. It might have something to do do with buildings marked SHOWERS but which really weren’t.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I’m pretty sure from the plot descriptions about a nuclear terrorist threat on LA that the movie won’t be much like the story–a common fate of PKD stories. Especially since the twist in this story is that the Golden Man has no frontal lobe–it doesn’t think; it’s probably not even sentient. As one of the characters says “superior survival doesn’t mean superior man.”

Mind you, Nicolas Cage is playing the lead role.


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