Blade Runner: Replicant Night

Until yesterday, I was unaware that Jeter wrote a third novel, Blade Runner 4: Eye and Talon, in this series.

However, given my thoughts on this one and that even a paperback copy of it costs over $70, I won’t be reading it anytime soon.

Incidentally, the Science Fiction Encyclopedia’s Jeter entry says the series makes “use of some original Philip K. Dick material”. I presume that means unpublished material that Jeter saw.

Raw Feed (1999): Blade Runner: Replicant Night, K. W. Jeter, 1996.Replicant Night

While I appreciated that parts of this book were a homage to Philip K. Dick, I didn’t like this book.

I found large parts of it tedious and other parts implausible.

The Martian setting, arid, desolate, and producing people who eventually almost lapse into total catatonia and a new generation of children who seem alien seemed to be inspired – at least as I remember it, by Dick’s Martian Time-Slip.

The talking briefcase – a very Dick touch – I liked with its artificial copy of Roy Baty’s consciousness. I also liked the very Dick-like stage setting of Deckard’s life undergoing a real and fake reprise – and change – in the orbital movie studio where a film recreating his android hunt is being made.

However, the middle part was frequently tedious. Continue reading “Blade Runner: Replicant Night”

Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

K. W. Jeter was one of the young, aspiring writers, along with Tim Powers and James Blaylock, who hung around Philip K. Dick in his last years.

Amongst other things Dick would do — and Powers definitely says Dick was not, per popular legend, “crazy” — is spin late night conspiracy theories out which would keep the young men in a state of paranoia for a couple of days until Dick would reveal the joke.

Jeter is also the man who jocularly invented the term “steampunk” for the sort of work he, Powers, and Blaylock did early in their careers.

Raw Feed (1999): Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human, K. W. Jeter, 1995.Blade Runner 2

This is a peculiar book, unique, as far as I know, in its intentions and starting premises.

There are several media tie-in books that use characters from tv shows and movies. There are also some books that are sequels to other authors’ works. This novel, though, combines both. To further complicate matters, there are two versions of the film Blade Runner. [My box set of Blade Runner films actually has five versions.] Jeter seems to use the original version of the film as the beginning point of his plot.

Jeter drags out all the usual Philip K. Dick elements: conspiracies (I think he outdoes Dick in this regard – more on the par of A. E. van Vogt who inspired Dick) and the tenuous nature of reality and some specific references to the universe created in Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, specifically Deckard’s increasing disgust with killing androids and the nature of humanity and the constantly blurring lines between human and android and the sometimes questionable desire to make a distinction.

The plot is satisfyingly engaging though not without problems. Continue reading “Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I doubt the Web of a Million Lies needs yet more material on Philip K. Dick, so, for now, I won’t put up any more Dick related reviews (and I have a lot of them).

Since a Blade Runner sequel recently came out, I thought I’d look at Dick’s novel and, in future postings, K. W. Jeter’s sequels.

Raw Feed (1999): Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick, 1968.

This is either the second or third time I’ve read this book.

The first time was right before Blade Runner was released, and I was entranced by the plot and action.

This time I noticed more.

I appreciated, as I almost always do, the black humor and skillful characterization and dialogue. I was still affected by the scene where Isidore tries to repair an ailing cat he mistakes for an android, and where Roy Baty tortures a spider. Baty’s casual cruelty was more noticeable on re-reading and, the first time, I missed his mystical preoccupations.

This time around more of a sense of desperation, loneliness, and despair came through.

Deckard just wants (like Isidore) to make a connection with something. When his wife (their fights over the mood organ settings are hilarious) is unavailable, he seeks sex and companionship with android Rachael. Isidore knows Pris is an android but doesn’t care.  She is close enough to human to do. Continue reading “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”


When I was much younger I was rather taken with the short fiction of George R. R. Martin. One story, “Nightflyers”, even got made into a movie of the same name. An obscure movie.

However, I wrote no notes on those so this is the only book of Martin’s short fiction I’ve written about.

I have not read anything in the Game of Thrones series nor watched the series. And I probably won’t ever do either.

Raw Feed (1995): Sandkings, George R. R. Martin, 1981.Sandkings

The Way of Cross and Dragon” — An interesting story with a distinctly mediaeval flavor.  This is part of Martin’s loosely connected Commonwealth (I think that’s the name [Martin’s calls it the Thousand World series] series and features an Inquisitor of the Order of the Knights of Jesus Christ dispatched to put an end to a particularly intriguing heresy. That heresy is the best and most inventive part of the story and called the Order of Saint Judas Iscariot. The heresy is based on a lively mishmash and confusion of myth and history (with the cover of divine curses having altered memories). Judas starts out as an ambitious youth and child prostitute and then becomes a necromancer, sole tamer of dragons, and lord of Babylon. Then he moves to mutilator of Christ and, via Repentance, an apostle. After the crucifixion, he angrily kills Peter and is rebuked by Christ upon Peter’s resurrection. Judas has his gifts of tongues and healing removed and is told by Christ he will forever be remembered as the Betrayer. Eventually, after living more than a 1,000 years, he finds favor with Christ again. He consents to have Judas’ true history remembered by a few. As entertaining as this heresy is, it’s just a frame to hang a philosophical tale on about the attraction beautiful lies have be they political ideologies or religions. Only a few can stare at the true universe which has no afterlife, no Creator, no purpose for human life, and no chance for the human race to leave a permanent memorial. (Martin once described his stories as being search-and-destroy missions against romance.) One of those few is the inventor of the heresy who cheerfully admits he made the whole thing up (including forging supporting historical documents and altering others). He belongs to a conspiracy of Liars, a very long-lived group who takes it upon themselves to invent beautiful lies (including perhaps Christianity) for those who can not gaze upon the truth of the universe like they can.

Bitterblooms” — A story exhibiting Martin’s lyrical, fantasy flavored prose. Essentially this is a story of a woman abducted – at least it seemed to me – by a stranded space traveler and forced into a love affair (a lesbian one) but this is very matter-of-fact and not salaciously played up. She escapes but develops a permanent taste for travel and, in her dying moments, thinks fondly of her time on the spaceship. This is part of Martin’s loose Avalon series. Continue reading “Sandkings”

Stealing Other People’s Homework: “Literature’s Arctic Obsession”

In my part of the world, the temperature has gone below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

And that means it’s time to do some polar reading.

This year, I’ll probably read Jules Verne’s The Adventures of Captain Hatteras, and, maybe, Ernest Shackleton’s South.

However, given how far behind I am in reviews, it will be awhile before I talk about them.

In the meantime, you get this from Kathryn Schulz. There’s a lot of famous writers who mentioned the poles in their work: the Brontes, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Mary Shelley, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens.

Stealing Other People’s Homework: “Literature’s Arctic Obsession“, Kathryn Schulz.Arctic Obsession


The Lovecraft series has ended, and I still haven’t got any new reviews written.

So, since the idea of a “bug apocalypse” has been showing up a bit in the news lately, I thought I’d get put this up.

Raw Feed (1998): Dust, Charles Pellegrino, 1998.Dust

This is the second Pellegrino novel I’ve read, and I really liked this disaster tale though, and Pellegrino admits he changed his original ending of humanity’s death, I thought the ending of resurrecting old insects to save humanity was improbably cheerful.

The premise that insects might have a millions of years death cycle – and that this death cycle preceded, and perhaps caused, the decline of the dinosaurs (which were finished off by an asteroid impact) was novel and speculation based on science according to the Afterword in which Pellegrino outlines the historical and scientific facts behind his tale.  (I like that feature of his novels.)

The effects of insects dying off – lethal swarms of dust mites, plagues of fungus, the death of higher level insectivores, a lack of plant pollinators – were horrifying and fascinating – exactly what a sf disaster novel should offer. Continue reading “Dust”

The Mind Parasites

The Lovecraft series continues with a novel and more ruminations on Lovecraft. I should add that, while the Amazon link takes you to the edition I read, Wilson scholar Gary Lachman, whose blog you’ll find on the lists of blogs I follow, wrote an introduction to a new edition.

Raw Feed (2005): The Mind Parasite, Colin Wilson, 1967.Mind Parasites

In his preface, Wilson recounts his history with H. P. Lovecraft.

His first encounter was entirely provoked by the similar title of a Lovecraft collection, The Outsider and Others with his own first work, the non-fiction The Outsider. Wilson initially found Lovecraft a sick, pessimistic recluse who weakly turned away from the world he was alienated from, taking vengeance on it in “gloomy fantasy”.

While he doesn’t come right out and say it, this seems to back up S. T. Joshi’s contention that Wilson found Lovecraft a pessimistic (Lovecraft would have said indifferent) materialist to be the polar opposite in temperament to Wilson and reacted accordingly. Wilson proceeded to put forth this view in his The Strength to Dream “in which Lovecraft figures largely.”

Later, Wilson came to see Lovecraft as one of those rare, obsessed outsiders doomed by circumstances of economics, not able to give free reign to his powers unlike more famous outsiders like Shelley, Keats, and Byron. He speculates that a financially independent Lovecraft would have given free rein to his curiosity and produced less horror and more fantasy like “The Shadow Out of Time” or “The Call of Cthulhu”. A richer Lovecraft would have had more time and energy, probably would have produced more fiction, and, if it was well received by those he respected, he would have continued to write it. Continue reading “The Mind Parasites”