It’s a platitude to say that emerging technologies inform our fiction. How couldn’t they? The raw material of everyday experience – our buildings, schools, livelihoods, family structures, routines, modes of communication – has always weaseled its way into cultural production, realist or speculative.
Blade Runner — 1982’s Ridley Scott-directed, Hampton Fancher-penned sci-fi classic — wasn’t immediately received as the resolutely grimy masterpiece of a Philip K. Dick adaptation that fans now cherish.
The New York Times went with “muddled yet mesmerizing,” complaining that Scott “expect(s) overdecoration to carry a film that has neither strong characters nor a strong story,” for instance, and Roger Ebert, in an otherwise positive review, concluded “[T]he movie has the same trouble as the replicants: Instead of flesh and blood, its dreams are of mechanical men.” Reports at the time detailed a rocky road to release, but its genre esteem has skyrocketed since then, beyond even the usual “cult classic” moniker.
If you know one thing about Hampton Fancher, it’s very likely either his early success on “Bonanza” or that he’s credited with co-writing Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s classic adaptation of Philip K. Dick.
But did you know he ran away from home at 15 to become a flamenco dancer, hopping a boat to Spain and renaming himself “Mario Montejo”?