Paul Levinson's novels include The Silk Code & The Plot To Save Socrates; his LPs Twice Upon A Rhyme & Welcome Up. His nonfiction including Fake News in Real Context, The Soft Edge, & Digital McLuhan have been translated into 15 languages.
'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.10 Kill All Others
The tenth and last episode of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams — which I've been reviewing here episode-by-episode (because each one is standalone), and which I hope will be the first ten of very many — is "Kill All Others." Although each story is different, they're deeply connected and intertwined by the central, galvanizing themes of all of Dick's work: it is real or an illusion, with the struggle to decide which is which always laced with paranoia.
'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.9 The Commuter
I said somewhere in my ongoing one-by-one reviews of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams 10-episode standalone anthology on Amazon Prime that I thought the series was "right up there with The Twilight Zone." I just checked—that was in my review of the third episode. I make quick judgments—but I still feel that way. I even entitled my review of Electric Dreams 1.8 Impossible Planet "Eye of the Beholder," which was the title of one of the best Twilight Zone episodes. Of course, there were 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone, in contrast to only ten so far of Electric Dreams, so when I say "right up there" I mean only that the episodes I've seen in Electric Dreams rank with any random fraction of a season of The Twilight Zone. If and when Electric Dreams gets to exceed 150 episodes—which it actually could, given that Dick wrote 44 novels and 121 short stories—I'll get back to you with a more definitive comparison.
'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.8 Impossible Planet
I've been saying throughout my episode-by-episode reviews of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, the 10-part anthology of standalone episodes streaming on Amazon Prime, that this anthology has been attracting some top-draw stars. I mean, we're talking Bryan Cranston, Steve Buscemi, Anna Paquin, Terrence Howard, Maura Tierney, Mireille Enos, and the like. But episode 1.8, "Impossible Planet," brings us Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter, first big appearance in Dr. Zhivago) as a woman in her hundreds wanting to visit Planet Earth before she dies.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.7 The Father Thing
The 1950s were invaded with science fiction in which entities from outer space arrived here and took over the bodies of human beings. Invasion of the Body Snatchers — made into a movie at least three times (1956 and 1978 by that name, and again in 1996 as just Body Snatchers) and many more times as riffs on the same story with different names — is the best-known iconic template for that tale. It was good to see it back again in "The Father Thing," episode 1.7 of Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, standalone stories all streaming on Amazon Prime, which I've been reviewing here one at a time.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.6 Safe & Sound
Safe & Sound — episode 1.6 in Philip K. Dick's standalone 10-episode anthology series on Amazon Prime which I've been reviewing here one episode at a time (with minimal spoilers and no or scant comparison to the original Philip K. Dick stories) — returns to the familiar but always exquisite Dick territory of is it real or illusion, in this case the real being an ear gel through which Foster Lee hears the voice of a digital assistant, the illusion being the possibility that the voice is literally in her head, given some credence since her father was a psycho who heard voices.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.5 The Hood Maker
Telepathy is another favorite but not-as-well-known-as-some-other themes of Philip K. Dick - appearing in the aforementioned (i..e, mentioned in my review of episode 1.3 of Electric Dreams) "Beyond Lies the Wub" in 1952. Its combination with police procedural in Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams episode 1.5, The Hood Maker, makes for a classic Dick amalgam.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.4 Crazy Diamond
The fourth episode in Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, the 10-part anthology of standalone stories streaming on Amazon Prime, returns us to familiar territory: a man in a dangerous relationship with a female, well, not android, precisely, but she's a "Jill" and is some kind of DNA-engineered, with an organic battery, that runs down and needs to be replaced. That's what makes this relationship especially dangerous—Jill needs Ed, a thoroughly human programmer, to get her a new battery, and maybe some others, so the two can sell them, makes lots of money, and run away together. And one more piece of this: Ed is married.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.3 Human Is
Humans in outer space has been adapted to the screen less frequently than other themes of Philip K. Dick. But his work in that area is equally brilliant and sometimes better than his better-known themes - I've thought that ever since I read his "Beyond Lies the Wub" first published in 1952 - and in the case of Bladerunner ("Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"), the two motifs (outer space and robots) are in effect combined.
Review of 'Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams' 1.2 Autofac
In Autofac, we have Dick addressing his perennial what's real and what's fantasy, dream, alternate whatever conundrum in a form likely best known these days, and for better than three decades: which one is more human, the android (robot) or the humans who made it/her/him? This is the theme of Bladerunner, original movie and recent sequel, based on Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - two words of which are part of the title of this 2018 streaming series.
Review of 'Counterpart'
One of the best parts of the late, lamented Fringe—in fact, maybe the best part, tied for first place with its time travel—was its alternate reality. It was brought about by Walter some years earlier—actually, not brought about, but Walter brought into being the bridge—which in turn brought us access to an alternate reality in which JFK wasn't assassinated, Walter was sane, and lots of cool things like that.