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Down and Nerdy: Phillip K. Dick and Michael Moorcock

IN WHICH two legendary sci-fi/fantasy authors are appreciated, and not a single third-grade-level joke about anatomical names is cracked. (We're way mature like that.)

Briana’s pick: Phillip K. Dick

Phillip K. Dick is one of the greatest science fiction writers of our time. Trust me. I read it on the internets and the internets don’t lie. Hollywood loves him too. Chances are you’ve already seen one of the many films adapted from his stories and novels. “Total Recall,” “Minority Report,” and “A Scanner Darkly” are all based on his writing. But of the Phillip K. Dick inspired feature films out there, none rocked me like “Blade Runner.”

The film is based on his 1968 novel, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” about an android bounty hunter, Richard Deckard and takes place in the post-apocalyptic future. As the result of nuclear war its population (human, plant, and animal) is damaged beyond repair or already extinct. Most humans have opted to emigrate to other planets where highly advanced androids are used to augment daily human needs on these new colonies (i.e. act as their slaves). BUT! The androids don’t like it so they high-step it back to Earth where they try to fit into the rest of the human population on their own terms. Add to that, lots of isolation and despair, some electric animals, a new belief system (Mercerism), and lasers and you’ve pretty much got a great sci-fi novel on your hands.

BUT THEN! Throw in one of the most stylized and inspirational films ever (BLADE RUNNER DOODS!) loosely based on the book by Dick, and we’re talking awesome. Unfortunately, Phillip passed away before the movie was released. He was aware of the film, however and was pretty jazzed about it all as this letter he wrote to the film’s production company reveals.

WOAH HOLD ON! Boom! Studios is publishing a graphic version of “Do Androids…” . Go here if you would like to buy me a copy. But of course, read the book first. It’s the right thing to do.

James’ pick: Michael Moorcock

Michael Moorcock is a legend in the world of fantastic fiction. He has written dozens of novels, most of them within the realm of his “Eternal Champion,” a hero whose spirit is reborn in various eras and places.

Probably the most famous incarnation of the Eternal Champion is Elric, the albino king of the warrior land of Melnibone. Physically weak, Elric relies on sorcery and drugs to keep his strength – and he relies perhaps too heavily on his black sword Stormbringer, an evil blade that sucks the souls out of those it cleaves.

If this sounds a bit much, understand that it’s written in a grand, high-fantasy style that makes it simultaneously fun and serious without being at all campy. Moorcock’s stuff is a literary island unto itself, and I love spending time there.

Also: Moorcock is/was a member of the space rock band Hawkwind, contributing lyrics and occasionally performing on stage with them. Yet another reason why he is awesome.

Finally, there is this! True cause for nerd celebration: Moorcock has announced on his web site that he is writing a Doctor Who novel!

[podcast]http://archive.wfpk.org/Podcasts/20091120-nerdy.mp3[/podcast]