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New Hollywood Adaptations: Spin, Ubik

We like to criticize Hollywood for it’s overwhelming tendency to re-make old movies or create sequels to existing ones. But recently there has been a spate of deals where Hollywood has decided to adapt SF books for the big screen (see City of Ember, Larklight, and Hyperion, all based on the books). Now we can add two more to this list.

Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin is heading to the big screen, courtesy of Olympus Pictures. Spin certainly has a cool SF hook, a ‘shell’ that envelops Earth and causes time to slow down for humans inside it, but it’s not your typical SF action/adventure. It’s much more of a science mystery, with a lot of heavy metaphysical ideas thrown around, especially towards the end. It also shows scientists as being the heroes instead of the heavies. While cautiously optimistic, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood did, indeed, turn Spin into another big-budget, Summer SF action flick.

It’s no secret that Hollywood loves Philip K. Dick. There have been numerous adaptations of his work, some successful (Minority Report, Total Recall, some not (Next, Paycheck, so it should be no surprise that another of his books has been optioned. Next up will be Ubik, which I’ve never read, but given the Wikipedia summary, it sounds very interesting. Of course, Hollywood has no problem adapting Dick’s work into Summer blockbusters, so I’m expecting the same treatment here. Of course, Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett is one of the producers so maybe, maybe, she’ll be able to keep it from being an SFX spectacle.

I’m glad to see Hollywood going after some good, if not great, SF stories. Whether they survive the move to the silver screen remains to be seen, but at least they aren’t making more in an endless series of re-makes and sequels.

About JP Frantz (2323 Articles)
Has nothing interesting to say so in the interest of time, will get on with not saying it.

5 Comments on New Hollywood Adaptations: Spin, Ubik

  1. On the one hand, Robert Charles Wilson will get some well-deserved cash for a novel that I love.

    On the other hand…well, who gives a crap if the movie is bad? There’s still the novel, and Wilson gets money. Nowhere to go but up.

  2. Ubik is actually a really fascinating novel and one of my favorites by PKD. I’m doing an independent study course at UC Santa Cruz on PKD right now and I chose that book to read for the class (along with Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Lies Inc, The Shifting Realities of PKD, and selected short stories from the PKD Reader). I have responses for both Androids and Ubik on my blog, actually, which I wrote for the class.

    If you haven’t read Ubik, you should. It’s really a bizarre and intriguing piece that gives you a good idea of the types of things Mr. Dick was occupied with in his writing. It’s written pretty well too, and it’s only about 200ish pages :P, so it’s a short read (from back in the days when 200 page books were considered “long”).

  3. Wasn’t Ben reading Ubik on Lost? I wonder if there is some connection with the show’s producers and the movie. Could be just a coincidence. I’ll check into the book either way. I’ve read some of PKD’s work and liked it. Might as well read more.

  4. ben was reading valis, actually.

    hasn’t ubik been already done? i understand that was the book behind (maybe well behind) alejandro amenabar’s abre los ojos (open your eyes), lately known as vanilla sky.

  5. That’s what I get for going from memory. Oh well, sounds like an interesting book anyway.

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