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Amazon’s The Man In The High Castle Casts Luke Kleintank As Its Lead

Luke KleintankLegendary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick’s work has been a frequent visitor to the big screen, with movies like Blade Runner, both Total Recalls, and The Adjustment Bureau, among others, but he hasn’t been as large a presence on the small screen. Sure, there was Total Recall 2070 in the late 1990s, but beyond that there hasn’t been much. That is, however, about to change. Steven Spielberg working on a Minority Report series (though that seems more based on his own movie than Dick’s work), and Amazon has just cast the first actor in their upcoming adaptation of Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

Deadline reports that Luke Kleintank has signed on to take the lead role in the online retail giant’s latest stab at producing episodic television. He may not be a huge star, but this project does have some star power behind it, as Ridley Scott is producing. Kleintank is most known for his stints on Fox’s Bones and on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, but has also done time on multiple CSIs, Gossip Girl, and The Young and the Restless.

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Amazon Studios Adds Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle To Pilot Season

The Man in the High CastleAlternate versions of history are a staple of science fiction. The what-if nature is an ideal fit for the genre, and few events have been reimagined through this lens as often as World War II. This is an area rife for reinterpretation, after all, it isn’t hard to envision that if the Nazis won the war that the world would be a much darker, different, generally fucked up place. Philip Roth recently posited such a scenario in his 2005 novel The Plot Against America and Doctor Who got in on the act with the novel Just War. One of the most beloved offerings in the subgenre is Philip K. Dick’s 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle, which won the Hugo Award, and is now getting a TV adaptation from Amazon.

Moving into its third pilot season, the online retailer turned original content producer, just announced that they will be basing on of their new shows on the award-winning novel. Deadline reports that The X-Files producer Frank Spotnitz will write and produce the pilot for Ridley Scott’s Scott Free. David Semel, who has directed a ton of TV like The Strain, American Horror Story, and Heroes, among many others, will fill the same role on this initial outing.

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Wear Your Favorite Science Fiction, Because Reading Is So 20th Century

sensory fictionI’m one of those people who feels what I’m reading if I’m really into it. I wince, I avert my gaze, my breathing speeds up, I laugh, I cry. But for people who want more of a visceral experience when they read, students in an MIT Media Lab class have produced a final project called “Sensory Fiction,” a wearable vest that allows readers to experience what the protagonist of a story is feeling.

I’ve never been more impressed by or jealous of another professor’s syllabus. How awesome would it be to take MIT’s Science Fiction to Science Fabrication class? The class focuses on some sci-fi classics such as William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, works by Ray Bradbury, Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and more, and combines them with nonfiction reading about cyborgs, transhumanism, nanotechnology, and more. It’s not hard to imagine such a class inspiring such an incredible final project.

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Philip K. Dick: A Tribute To The Man Behind Blade Runner, Total Recall, And More

DickFeatPhilip K. Dick would have turned 85 this past Monday. So let’s listen to his favorite writing music and honor the man who wrote some damn fine science fiction.

PKD’s works such as A Scanner Darkly and “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (which became Total Recall) have been translated to screen, and his best known work is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was published in 1968 and then, nearly 15 years later, made into a little movie you might have heard of called Blade Runner. The book and movie give PKD a venue for pondering the same questions that occupied Alan Turing, about an artificial intelligence’s ability to think and pass for human. Turing’s test involved conversational skills — if a human could converse with a machine and not know it was a machine, the machine passed the Turing Test (a current version of this test is conducted in the annual Loebner Prize competition). While PKD remained interested in machine capability, he thought Turing was a bit short-sighted, since it focused solely on intelligence. Dick believed that a true test of humanness involved emotion and empathy, rather than sheer smarts, so he reimagined a Turing Test that gauged those qualities — Electric Sheep’s Voigt-Kampff test.

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Happy Birthday To Arthur C. Clarke And Philip K. Dick: Today In Science & Science Fiction

ClarkeToday marked the birth of not one, but two of science fiction’s greatest talents: Sir Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick. I have to wonder if there’s another single day in the year that delivered up such an eventual impact on the genre we all love.

Clarke was born in Somerset, England in 1917, served as a radar specialist in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and made his first professional sale with the story “Loophole,” which appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946. With works such as Childhood’s End, Rendezvous with Rama, and the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, for which he co-wrote the short story with director Stanley Kubrick, Clarke became one of science fiction’s most legendary talents, and is often referred to as one of the genre’s “Big Three,” alongside Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein. Over the course of his long career, he won a Hugo, an Academy Award nomination for 2001, and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1985. Clarke passed away in 2008, at the age of 90.

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Science Fiction Book Cover Art We Wish Was Really Covering Science Fiction Books

1984The old adage warns against judging a book by a cover, but sometimes book covers can be pretty awesome in and of themselves, even when divorced from the actual book. There’s another adage about a picture being worth a thousand words, and there’s definitely an art to creating a single image that evokes the themes, characters, or story contained within those covers. And let’s face it: a lot of time the actual, official art that gets slapped on a book release isn’t nearly as creative or interesting as it could be. So while the images in this post might not actually adorn the covers of any of these science fiction classics, let’s imagine an alternate dimension where they do, because that alternate dimension would be nifty.

These designs were created by various artists from all over the Interwebs, brought together by the delightfully titled Artsy Musings of a Bibliophile blog. (We would like to give that blog a hug, but virtual reality technology hasn’t advanced far enough yet.) First up, the lovely mock Penguin Books cover for George Orwell’s 1984, designed by Luke James. The security camera speaks for itself, but it’s a really nice touch to have its beam illuminating a line from the novel. Sometimes simple is best.

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