Saturday, September 16, 2006

BLADE RUNNER or LA: WHEN EXACTLY IS THE FUTURE?

Living in LA makes me think about the future; evoking endless possibility. The City built on a desert without any water; the dreams built in Hollywood (the real Hollywood being a rundown dusty place, punctuated by shuffling homeless).

But when exactly is this future? So many visions of the future are already in the past.  Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”? a horrible version of the future where Big Brother was always watching; The Y2K? a problem that would shut down the modern world; “2001: A Space Odyssey”? a computer that would kill before you could turn "him" off...

The sci-fi version of the future painted in Blade Runner was set in 2019; another future I have a reasonable chance of living to see. William Gibson must have been thinking about the sky in Blade Runner (or the LA sky) when he penned “the sky was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel” in Neuromancer. In a funny synchronicity, Gibson's book was published in 1984. I think Orwell would have approved.

Blade Runner was loosely based on a novel by Philip K. Dick “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” Although "Androids" was set in a fallout-clouded future version of San Francisco; when Ridley Scott made Blade Runner he moved the scene to Los Angeles--a City more plausible given the air quality of Los Angeles.
Even the history of Los Angeles somehow evokes the future. It must have spoken to Ridley Scott too; because he chose one of LA’s oldest buildings as the set for the home of the creator (of the androids).

As if history does not turn in on itself enough, the Bradbury architect cited Edward Bellamy’s “Looking Backward” as the inspiration for his design. If Bellamy’s novel wasn’t the first science fiction novel (circa 1887), then I don’t know what was. In his novel he put forth his vision of the year 2000. Thus we have a novel written in 1886 about the world in 2000, influencing a design in 1895, used for a movie in 1984 about a future in 2019.

1 comment:

  1. Colorized and posted through Picassa

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