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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams 1.4 Crazy Diamond: DNA Batteries

The fourth episode in Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, the 10-part anthology of standalone stories streaming on Amazon Prime, returns us to familiar territory: a man in a dangerous relationship with a female, well, not android, precisely, but she's a "Jill" and is some kind of DNA-engineered, with an organic battery, that runs down and needs to be replaced.   That's what makes this relationship especially dangerous - Jill needs Ed, a thoroughly human programmer, to get her a new battery, and maybe some others, so the two can sell them, makes lots of money, and run away together.  And one more piece of this: Ed is married.

Now, one could say that all relationships between human and android, or human and something that's quasi-human and runs on DNA batteries, are dangerous, and I'd agree.   But what always gives Philip K. Dick's stories an edge is that he mixes the science fiction with a war or a crime or something else.  It's a potent cocktail, and mixed well in Crazy Diamond.

The thing is, Crazy Diamond is so far the least like the original Dick story - "Sales Pitch" - it's based upon.   It doesn't even have the same name, which makes it different in that respect from the other three I've so far reviewed.  (I'll be reviewing all the episodes of Electric Dreams, one at a time.)  I did say in my review of the first episode that I wouldn't be comparing the streaming episodes to the original stories, but I'm obviously making an exception for Crazy Diamond, which also has a strong feminist element not in the original.

But I don't want to give anything more away.  Like the first three episodes, Crazy Diamond has top-notch acting by famous and not-so-famous actors, including Steve Buscemi as Ed and Sidse Babett Knudsen (from Westworld and Borgen!) as Jill.   Written for television with a good ear as well as eye by Tony Grisoni and well directed by Marc Munden, with kudos for whoever came up with the idea of Ed in the water, reminiscent of Buscemi in the open scene of Boardwalk Empire.

See also Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams 1.1 Real Life: Mutually Alternate Realities ...  1.2 Autofac: Human v Machine ... 1.3 Human Is: Compassion or Alien? ... 1.5 The Hood Maker: Telepathy and Police ... 1.6 Safe & Sound: This Isn't A Drill ... 1.7 The Father Thing: Dick from Space ... 1.8 Impossible Planet: Eye of the Beholder ... 1.9 The Commuter: Submitted for Your Approval ... 1.10: Kill All Others: Too Close for Comfort


It started in the hot summer of 1960, when Marilyn Monroe walked off the set of The Misfits and began to hear a haunting song in her head, "Goodbye Norma Jean" ...

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