THINGS WE'RE NOT SURE IF WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO OR DREADING: "Radio Free Albemuth" (2011)

Republibot 3.0
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Philip K. Dick is my favorite SF author, and "Radio Free Albemuth" is on my very short list of my favorite novels by the guy. It was originally written and submitted to his usual publisher in the mid-1970s. The Publisher seems pleased enough with it, but Dick seems to have not been entirely satisfied, because when they suggested a few changes to him, he completely re-wrote the entire novel from scratch. His somewhat infamous novel, "Valis" is effectively a second draft of "Albemuth," and has roughly the same plot, and some of the same characters, but is told in a completely different way.

The original manuscript of "Radio Free Albemuth" was published posthumously, and I first discovered it in college. I just happened to be reading it when I discovered "Valis", so I ended up plowing through both of them back to back. I prefer it for a number of reasons, not least of which being that "Valis" is an utterly psychotic, schizoid piece that is so infuriating I' literally hurled it at the wall several times on my first reading. "Albemuth," meanwhile, is amiably paranoid, and eventually drifts into creepy/sexy/cool. "Valis" is much better written, but I think that works against it, as the clunky, workmanlike prose of the earlier book heightens the sense of the numinous when it appears.

Both books are WILDLY heretical from a Christian point of view. Valis is probably unfilmable, but it seems someone finally took the plunge with this one:

I'm torn. On the one hand, it appears to be a much more faithful adaptation of the source material than most of the PKD movies are. On the other hand, the FX look like a Pokemon commercial, and the acting looks pretty poor.

And then there's Alanis Morisette, who I do not like, nor have I ever liked, in any capacity whatsoever: Musically, artistically, aesthetically, cinematically. I've also never been able to rid myself of the impression that she smells. I realize that's nonsense, but she just always looks unwashed and greasy to me, like she just got back from a three-mile run in time for a quick roll in the hay, right before she goes off on another three-mile run. She is effectively the living embodiment of an Anti-Republibot 3.0 bug bomb. Throw her in a room, and everyone like me will flee or die.

Presumably she'd take that as a compliment, which is probably justified.

Anyway: I'm sort of longing for/dreading this one. I want to see it filmed, but I fear seeing it filmed. Actually, truth be told, I kind of always wanted to film this one myself, though I long ago gave up those daydreams.

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