Forgive me if this post is all over the place. I was going to do a post about a few more books that I had just completed, but then I started thinking about dystopian futures portrayed in the stories, and finally I contemplated the merits of both book versions and tv/movie versions. Maybe I'll just hit a little on all of them. So after I finished "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" which we all know was made into "Blade Runner," I decided to try another Philip Dick novel, "The Man in the High Castle." I had seen the Amazon series and think even made an LJ post about it over a year ago. I was pretty "meh" about the tv show and now I can be pretty "meh" about the book as well. The TV show failed by throwing in a goofy love angle which just didn't work. I then thought the series ended in a "Ha ha! It was all just a dream!" -type ending which is probably not true since there is a season 2 out there. I thought there needed to be more tension between the Nazis and the Japanese as they vie for power in the conquered U.S. The book also falls short in this regard. There is more Japanese mysticism in the book which doesn't add much to the plot either. Hence the "meh" on both accounts.
In talking with Kitty about books to read, she produced a compilation of books written by Richard Bachman a.k.a. Stephen King. One book was "The Running Man" which someone had commented in an earlier post that it was nothing like the movie. So I knocked it out in a few days which is easy to do with King novels. I must say that I rather enjoyed it. The characters' names may be similar in the book and movie, but the plots are very much different. And that's a good thing! I think each can stand on their own on their own merits. The book portrays a dark and dismal dystopian future (although we're getting very close to the actual timeline!). The movie does that somewhat, but it's mainly just a star vehicle for Arnold. And that's fine! It was good campy fun! I was hoping that someone like the SyFy network might do a more true adaptation of the book. Since the climax of the book (SPOILER ALERT) involves crashing a commercial airliner into a skyscraper, I don't think anyone would touch that in this post-911 world. I think the same thing could be said about "Androids" and "Blade Runner." Both could stand alone on their own merits.
Finally, there seems to be this common thread about future dystopian society. Many of the stories deal with the gross differences between the "haves" and the "have nots." These books were written 30-50 years ago and we seem to be on a path of making science fiction a reality. When I read about futuristic slums where violence and drug use is rampant and hopelessness abounds, then I watch "The Wire" which takes place in the ghettos of present-day Baltimore, and I see that we have pretty much arrived at the future predicted decades ago. And while the world crumbles around us, we are all glued to our screens where we escape reality.