Thursday, October 15, 2015

BLADE RUNNER parallels

Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, baby parts for sale, save when  you buy the whole corpse. Kevorkian.

With increasing concerns about health care I thought I'd post some stuff tangential to it. Credits to Michael Stevens for some of the text and photos, his words in italics. I am not a thief, merely a borrower, think of it like when you go to a library. Here is yet another case where science fiction mirrors or predicts reality. I like the book story line.

Before proceeding I must clarify for and inform the reader about the history and sometimes confusing use of the title Blade Runner. Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner takes its name from a book by William S. Burroughs called Blade Runner: A Movie. And as you can see from the copyright page of Burroughs’ screen treatment — “The author wishes to thank Alan E. Nourse, upon whose book The Blade Runner, characters and situations in this book are based.” — he took the name for his work from the science-fiction novel by Alan E. Nourse.

The Bladerunner (1974) by Alan E. Nourse is set in 2017 in a New York City where medical treatment has gone underground as a result of the Health Riots of 1994. Based on the research of two scientists, Heinz and Lafferty, the government restricts public healthcare to a select few people. If someone visits a hospital for any reason they are forced to be sterilized as a result of hereditary findings that suggest diseases and conditions such as diabetes are being found in more and more of the population. Professor Heinz discovers that modern medicine, by breaking down natural immunity, is causing more, not less, illness.

The underground doctors have helpers called bladerunners that run errands and carry their supplies. This ominous future is also inhabited by groups of people called naturists, who refuse medical treatment in opposition to sterilization. With religious vigor, they protest the medical establishment, the government, and a violent police state. The naturists pose almost as big a threat to the bladerunners and underground doctors as the government.

The main character in this novel is a boy named Billy Gimp, who was in and out of foster homes, orphanages, etc., and doesn’t know his real last name. He is called Billy Gimp because of a lame leg. Billy is a bladerunner and works for Doc, a skilled and well respected surgeon who is a government-employed medical doctor by day and an underground surgeon by night.

The movie has nothing to do with the book but neither offers any confidence in the government looking after us.

The Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, which starred Harrison Ford and has nothing at all to do with the Burroughs or the Nourse books, is actually based on the classic science-fiction novel by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Rudolph Wurlitzer and Hampton Fancher (who were involved with the film in the early stages) were responsible for getting the title to Ridley Scott. Philip K. Dick, Burroughs, and Nourse are all thanked in the end credits of the Director’s Cut of the film.

The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which genetically engineered organic robots called replicants—visually indistinguishable from adult humans—are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other "mega–manufacturers" around the world. Their use on Earth is banned and replicants are exclusively used for dangerous, menial or leisure work on off-world colonies. Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and "retired" by police special operatives known as "Blade Runners". The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.

So I managed to shed no light but I did draw your attention . Go away thinking. Here's a tune you can hum on your way to work.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a copy of the Nourse paperback.
The 'blade runners' were street kids who could defeat surveillance and alarm systems to break into hospitals and pharmacies and steal supplies called for by the underground doctors.
The book includes scenes of surgeries performed on kitchen tables and sofas in tenement apartments and other squalid city settings. The doctors are quite engaged with the disenfranchised underclass they serve, teaching relatives or roommates to assist or scrub.
Billy Gimp is also a motivated young man, picking up paramedic skills from Doc along the way.
THAT was the techno-medical-thriller I had eagerly wanted to see when I plonked down my $3 at the movie theater ... but instead I got 'Sting,' a washed-up Han Solo, a Eurythmic-like spazz-chick, and the black-eyed blandie with short, bitchy-looking hair. Plus, you have to be at least half-stoned to get into any plot written by Philip K Dick. (Or Philip Jose Farmer, for that matter.)
Either way, it was an utter disappointment.