Throwback Thursday: ‘First Blood’ book (1972) and movie (1982) explore the physical and psychological brutality of war in different ways (Reviews)

W

ith “Rambo: Last Blood” – Sylvester Stallone’s supposedly last (haha) go-around with the famous Vietnam veteran — hitting theaters this week, I’m taking a look back at the stories that started it all: David Morrell’s 1972 novel “First Blood,” and the movie adaptation that came a decade later:

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PKD flashback: All 23 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 3’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

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PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 27 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 2’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: ‘A Scanner Darkly’ (1977) (Book review)

M

y sharpest memory from my first read of “A Scanner Darkly” (1977) was the very Philip K. Dickian scenario of a police detective investigating himself, but not realizing he’s investigating himself. Broadly, it’s a delicious jab at the absurdities that can result when a government agency goes beyond investigating crimes and starts getting into long-term stings where it artificially creates the surrounding reality in order to nab an individual under the law. And indeed, if one wants to read “A Scanner Darkly” as a critique of the War on Drugs, it can play that way.

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PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 1’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 1’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: ‘Martian Time-Slip’ (1964) (Book review)

M

artian Time-Slip” (1964) is set on the frontier of Mars, so naturally – this being a Philip K. Dick novel – it’s about … the nature of schizophrenia. Granted, the setting isn’t totally random, but it’s interesting that PKD goes to Mars and a 1994 future where Earth has become overpopulated in order to tell a timeless story about the subjective natures of time and perspective. Sometimes you have to go crazy before you can be sane, repairman Jack Bohlen learns, and the wild sci-fi ideas are in service of his search for simplicity and sanity.

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PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 5’ (1987), ranked (Book review)

B

ecause the five volumes of “The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick” have been reprinted many times under many different names, I’m referring to them here by their volume number, which is what they are known by in their original 1987 publication by Underwood-Miller.

Continue reading “PKD flashback: All 25 stories from ‘The Collected Stories, Volume 5’ (1987), ranked (Book review)”

PKD flashback: ‘Counter-Clock World’ (1967) (Book review)

C

ounter-Clock World” (1967) starts with a healthy dose of vintage Philip K. Dick absurdism, as an old woman pleads to be freed from her coffin in a cemetery. In this future of 1998, aging (and some other things) go in reverse. And indeed, the sometimes delightful, sometimes over-the-top insanity of this world defines much of the novel.

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PKD flashback: ‘Ubik’ (1969) (Book review)

T

he aspect I most remembered from my first read of “Ubik” (1969) is the inventive, chilling and comforting notion that people exist in a “half-life” for several years after they die, so we can continue to talk to and say goodbye our loved ones at our leisure. But on this re-read I realized that covers like 10 percent of the fascinating ideas in this Philip K. Dick book that made me think of “The Matrix,” “The Langoliers” and various “Which of these two realities is real?” stories, including the “Buffy” episode “Normal Again” (Season 6, episode 17).

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PKD flashback: ‘The Man in the High Castle’ (1962) (Book review)

I

remember disliking “The Man in the High Castle” (1962) on my first read, and the Amazon Prime adaptation (2015-present) – so bleak that I’d have to increase my antidepressant dosage to keep watching – didn’t alter my view. But it did inspire me to give the book another shot, and I really liked it this time. It must be one of Philip K. Dick’s most literary works – which is why the TV series is inspired by the book more so than adapting it – as it features nearly a dozen leads and offers its pleasures through subtle moments more so than big ones.

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