In this Geeks Guide to the Galaxy episode, host David Barr Kirtley speaks with Sara Lynn Michener, Daniel H. Wilson, and myself about Blade Runner, the original and the recently released sequel.
From an article I recently wrote for Tor.com called “What It Means to Be Human: Five Works of Fiction That Explore Blade Runner’s Core Themes”. Continue reading via the link below.
“One of the reasons the original Blade Runner film has endured as a classic is its compelling exploration of what it means to be human. As the replicants struggle to extend their artificially brief lifespans, the seminal film probes our notions of empathy, slavery, identity, memory, and death, in profound yet subtle ways.
Blade Runner asks many questions of its audience. Does our capacity for empathy correlate with our humanity? Are we the sum total of our memories, or something more? Do our lives have meaning if no one remembers the things we’ve seen and done when we’re gone? How does questioning someone’s humanity perpetuate the institution of slavery? And what do our fears of a robot uprising tell us about our own human insecurities?
How one answers the film’s many questions is a Voight-Kampff test in itself. Blade Runner, in other words, is a two-hour long Rorschach test—no two people respond alike. We may see ourselves in the replicants, born into broken worlds not of our making, impressed with cultural memories, struggling to find meaning and connection in our all-too-brief lives. This, perhaps more than anything, explains why the film has resonated with so many. We paint our memories and prejudices onto the screen, and what we take from it is uniquely ours.”
Keep reading at Tor.com.
When the original Blade Runner film was released in 1982 to mediocre box-office sales and lukewarm reviews, few could predict the film would have such a lasting legacy. For nearly three decades, the film’s neon-saturated, overcrowded, rain-swept dystopia served as the default backdrop for dozens, if not hundreds of science-fiction films. Even the Star Wars prequels borrowed (or ripped-off) the film’s noirish cyberdream vision for some of its urban landscapes. But more so than its look, Blade Runner’s themes have survived long past its inception date…