Posts Tagged ‘PKD’


S4E8M – Screamers (movie)*


Wherein we dissect this Peter Weller enticing Canadian-American production of a Philip K. Dick short story with a screenplay that originated from the writer of the first “Alien” movie. I am rejoined by former co-host Richard Mehl a/k/a Rick for another dueling duo of discussion as we fight our way through the miasma of psychological distrust, shock, action/adventure, and science fiction horror.

Ryan enjoyed the film, but expressed that some of the changes made lost the claustrophobic feel that heightened the suspense of uncertainty and distrust which were at the hallmark-heart of what he enjoyed about the short story. Rick liked the visual clarity the film brought to the narrative, but was more engaged with how much of the underlying elements were used elsewhere across the filmic landscape.

While Rick and Ryan were both impressed with the level of special effects employed during film, Rick felt that some of this effort was unnecessary or wasted. That said, nobody questioned the high-quality contribution made by the unflappable Peter Weller (Rick even deigned to delight us with a brief impression!). 

So, suit up for this shorter NDIOS journey and don’t forget your evil-robot-warding-tab while you join us on this mid 90’s exploration of robotic evolution and mind game trickery! 




“Screamers (1995)” by Christian Duguay (Peter Weller) (movie)

Ryan: 3 Stars “…This lesser known b-movie effort falls just short of cult status tracking decently with its fun PKD source material, but there are enough choice bits for science fiction fans to enjoy…

Rick: 3 Stars “…a top Canadian production and not really a b-movie, but, yeah, it had some memorable moments in it and I think they really capitalized on some of the imagery from the story ‘Second Variety’…



Not mentioned during the episode, the website has an article pulling together information about the originating short story (Second Variety) as well as quotes from the author himself concerning the story and his feelings about the original script written by Dan O’Bannon (who also wrote the script for the movie “Alien“). You can read this short article here: Within this web article is a quote from PKD: “My grand theme — who is human and who only appears (masquerading) as human? — emerges most fully.” The author talks about the difficulties of exploring this theme and how he kept coming back to it. This quote is from the original magazine publication of the short story (Space Science Fiction, May 1953) and is also quoted in the appendix notes of one of the anthologies which this story appears (“Second Variety – Collected Stories Volume 2″).

There are a couple blog posts on SFF Audio by Jesse Willis concerning PKD’s work and the copyright status of some of his stories that mentions the two stories talked about in our book review episode (“Second Variety” and “Jon’s World”). These posts include scanned images purporting to be copyright renewal forms of PKD works. Check these out here: and also

Ryan mentioned a few podcasts that talked about this movie and even discussed its similarity to the 1990’s cult classic Kevin Bacon film “Tremors.” One such show is Venganza Media‘s “Now Playing Podcast” and that episode can be heard here: It’s sister show “Books & Nachos” covered the written work here: Check them out, too!

A few other articles either mentioned on the show or worth reading that are about this topic are as follows: “Screamers Is the Most Underrated Philip K. Dick Adaptation Ever” by Cheryl Eddy for iO9; “From The Vault: Screamers (1995)” by Simon Fitzjohn for Movie Ramblings; and “Peter Weller on feminism, sequels, and more” by Will Harris for AV Film.


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.



S4E8B – Second Variety (short story)*


Wherein the podcast returns to its origins and delves into another existential robot mystery by the great questioner of reality: Philip K. Dick. I am joined by former co-host Richard Mehl a/k/a Rick, and we make for a tight duo this go round as we grapple with one of the author’s lesser known short stories. 

Ryan found this early cold war era tale a fun read. He agreed with other reviewers who have indicated that it is demonstrative of themes which PKD would spend greater amounts of his time on and become more well known for during the later years of his career. It was a great window into that perspective of the author’s developing voice. Rick felt more blase about the whole affair having a “it’s just typical Dick” take on things. He was rather jaded wading through the morose morass this author tends to weave with his characters and the stuff that confounds them. 

Rick didn’t get a chance to read our bonus story (Jon’s World), but we did briefly discuss the plot of that tale and its relationship to our subject matter as it was set in the same universe.

Since we were discussing two shorter works this episode we were able to sort of go through each one blow by blow. It was a zoomed-in look worthy of all the curvy plot twists and spin outs which the author wrote into each of the narratives. Hope you enjoy our story breakdowns and revisiting of PKD, about whom there always seems to be something new to discover and consider.




“Second Variety (1953)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) + Bonus: “Jon’s World (1954)” by Philip K. Dick (short story) 

Ryan: 3 1/2 Stars “…a post-apocalyptic cold war style tale early in this author’s career that contains entertaining edges and hints, emblematic of future efforts in plot ideation and explorations into uncertainties for which this author is known…

Rick: 2 Stars “…a paranoid experience in the final war between the United States and Russia where humanity lies on the brink and is about to pretty much extinct themselves with their own technology…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on



During the episode we mentioned that the two short stories discussed were published in a science fiction magazine (Space Science Fiction, May 1953) and science fiction anthology (Time to Come, 1954). You can read more basic information about these publications by clicking their cover art (right and left images) or visiting the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (a community cataloging website):

The other podcast referenced during our episode which reviewed the bonus story (Jon’s World) is called  “American Writers (One Hundred Pages at a Time)” and their episode on that topic can be listened to here: or This story does not seem to be widely reviewed so it’s worth a listen if you want to know more about it.

If you want to read another review of our subject story (Second Variety) then check out this article by T.S. Miller concerning a different PKD anthology (The Adjustment Team: The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 2) which was written for science fiction magazine “Strange Horizons” and published on October 03, 2011:

The story “Second Variety” discussed on this episode can be read and listened to for FREE at these websites:


Philip K. Dick eventually moved away from short stories to focus more on novels, in part because of his frustrations with editors changing the stories without permission. One such occurrence, mentioned on the show, involved  a work titled “The King of the Elves,” which has been in film development off and on throughout the years:

Lastly, the biography of Philip K. Dick that Ryan cited on the episode and which he has used in various other episodes where we covered works by this author is by Lawrence Sutin and called: “Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick.” This work can be found here:


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.


S3E9B – The Man in the High Castle (book)*


If you got a hankering for some discussion on PK Dick and his “Man in the High Castle” in the month of November, this is your podcast. When you are finished you could very likely be more confused than when you started. Good luck.

– Rick


Book: “The Man in the High Castle (1962)” by Philip K. Dick

Ryan: 4 1/2 Stars “A story of subtle nuances containing picturesque fables that compound reality in philosophic deep strokes

Wilk: 4 Stars “A chilling look of what could’ve been told through the eyes of people looking at things as they could have been which in fact is what it was

Rick: 3 Stars “…If you are a big fan of PK Dick you should read this book- not the greatest but good…

(Click the links to read full written reviews on


divine-invasionsOn the episode Ryan made reference to a biography written about the author. That book is called “Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick.”

We also talked about the ancient Chinese oracle known as the “I Ching,” which the author consulted to write this book (and indeed the characters in this book also consulted). An online translation by Gregory C. Richter for Truman State University of this work can be found bring-the-jubileehere: You can find video demonstrations and explanations of how to use the I Ching on YouTube.

Rick mentioned that Philip K. Dick also took some inspiration for writing this book from a previous work of alternate history in which the South won the American Civil War instead of the North. This was written by Ward Moore in a book called “Bring the Jubilee.”


* DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the views and opinions of the hosts and guests of NDIOS are completely their own and do not necessarily reflect the views and beliefs of the other hosts and guests or that of NDIOS.


Listen to the podcast here (click to play/right click and select “save target as” to download):

  S1E1:- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep / Bladerunner 


Ryan: 4 Stars “A mind-bending dystopian hero’s quest through the looking glass…

Wilk: 3 Stars “It was strictly alright. The end of the book seemed to get very ambitious and ambiguous at the same time- in the sense that the writer wrote himself into a corner…

Beam: 3 Stars “(no written review)”

(Click the links to read full written reviews on


"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" By Phillip K. Dick

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” By Phillip K. Dick

Book: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick

“By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.” (from

*** * ***

"Bladerunner" by Ridley Scott

“Bladerunner” by Ridley Scott

Movie: “Bladerunner” by Ridley Scott

“Visually spectacular, intensely action-packed and powerfully prophetic since its debut, Blade Runner returns in Ridley Scott’s definitive Final Cut, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects.

In a signature role as 21st-century detective Rick Deckard, Harrison Ford brings his masculine-yet-vulnerable presence to this stylish noir thriller. In a future of high-tech possibility soured by urban and social decay, Deckard hunts for fugitive, muderous replicants – and is drawn to a mystery woman whose secrets may undermine his soul.

This incredible 2-Disc Set features the definitive Final Cut of Ridley Scott’s legendary Sci-Fi classic and the in-depth feature length documentary “Dangerous Days” and features all new 5.1 Audio.” (from


The first episode of No Deodorant In Outer Space did not result in a physical injury for any of the participants.  This aspect exceeded the expectations of the group, some of whom are now speaking to each other.

Episode one of NDIOS consisted of a discussion of the Movie “Blade Runner” and the book it was loosely based on, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”. Despite violating several of Emily Post’s established rules of etiquette (Never answer a question with a question, or title a book with a question, or have intercourse with a robot) the novel was considered the superior medium by three of the four contributors. The Fourth contributor, a petulant toddler often heard in the background, insisted that the rubber ball covered in her saliva was far more noteworthy then either the book or the film. She has since left the group to pursue other interest; namely examining what exactly is in the vents near the window.

The panel felt that neither the book nor the movie were without flaws. The book itself was thought to contain a clunky reference to a “future” religion that felt tagged on, according to Dave and Jim. Ryan maintained that this religion was interesting and he “liked” it, despite Dave repeatedly telling Ryan that Ryan did not understand his own thoughts, emotions, or words and in fact did not like the book. This discussion went on for some time and was likely edited for content. Content is of courses code for “slurs and personal attacks against Ryan by Dave”.

In an effort to not redeem himself, Dave did a half ass job on researching the Director and provided a biography of CS Lewis instead. He continued to insist that Ridley Scott was friends with JR Tolkien and worked at Oxford before breaking into laughter. The audience learned little from this and it left Dave feeling broken and empty for the next few weeks.  The panel did conclude that the film moved very slowly and differed so significantly from the novel that it would be unfair to call it inconsistent. It was simply a different story with some parse elements from the book- and it ultimately did not entertain.

Jim researched the book and provided some interesting facts about the author’s insanity (click here to see the letters to the FBI referenced in the show).  Dick suffered from undiagnosed mental ailments that may have sifted into his work. It was unclear if these had any effect on the novel. The book itself was considered very engrossing by all three members and worth reading. Although they disagreed on how certain elements were introduced it was overall a very good read. The consensus was that the ending of the book is what prevents it from being a true classic novel (although Ryan disagreed).

The aftermath of the podcast consisted of a Sisyphean ordeal in terms of editing the audio and communicating with each other. Several friendships were severed while secret alliances remained strong and ready to strike. It is the hope of everyone at NDIOS that our future episodes will be more polished, like a rock thrown at people who insist that the earth revolves around the sun and shrimp are delicious. You don’t throw dirty rocks at those kinds of people. You throw your best polished rock. It just how it is done.

And remember…..There is no deodorant in outer space so you better shower before you get on the shuttle.

– Wilk