Literary References in “Blade Runner 2049” & Another Trip to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale, Fall 2017

A dead tree is emblematic in Blade Runner 2049.

Although it meant getting up at dawn, i.e., 10 o’clock, for the early show, because we didn’t want to sit with a bunch of unruly fans, we loved Blade Runner 2049, a brilliant sequel to Blade Runner.

Dekker (Harrison Ford) and K (Ryan Gosling) in “Blade Runner” 2049

It is absolutely stunning, and not just for SF fans. The cinematography is gorgeous, the bleak, dusty environment is tragically realistic  (a dead tree proves emblematic of the lost natural world), and the characters are sharply-drawn, almost human, though most are replicants, bio-engineered beings who work as servants and slaves.  As in the first Blade Runner, some replicants are villains but others are very decent, especially K (Ryan Gosling), a “blade runner” whose  job is to hunt down earlier models of replicants, who got out of control and went rogue.

K is not a fan of killing, by the way.

K is a fan of Nabokov’s Pale Fire, a book which he claims his girlfriend, Joi, an Alexa-style robot who can shimmeringly half-materialize, hates.  After she agrees, smiling, that it would be pleasant to be read to, he says mockingly, “You hate that book.”  Coincidentally, a computer who examines K for post-traumatic stress recites line of verse from Pale Fire, and K must repeat them.

Cells interlinked within cells interlinked
Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct
Against the dark, a tall white fountain played.

Anthony Lane in The New Yorker identified these lines, which otherwise (and still?) sound like nonsense.

Later in the movie, K is sometimes called  Joe. My husband points out that this is a reference to Joseph K of Kafka’s The Trial.   The reference didn’t seem entirely apt, so we’ll see the movie a second time.

We were very glad to see Dekker/Harrison Ford, who is 100% human in his acting, a relief after so many replicants.  Somebody should get an Oscar, maybe Ryan Gosling, whom I first encountered in La La Land, or Harrison Ford, who is always brilliant.

MORE ON THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD BOOK SALE.  We went back to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale on Half-Price Day.  And we did very well, in that we restricted ourselves to filling one shopping bag with books.  Usually we huff and puff as we heave boxes of books into the car.

Once home, the books were inspected by various cats.  Yup, that’s a  cat considering John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick.  I love Updike, but a quick look at a chapter in the middle has convinced me this is not his best.  I can always donate it back.

We found a copy of John Cheever’s Falconer. I love his short stories about suburban life, and am ready to try his novels.

I’d never heard off Searoad:  Chronicles of Klatsand, a collection of short stories  by Ursula K. Le Guin. According to Goodreads:  “Le Guin explores the dreams and sorrows of the inhabitants of Klatsand, Oregon, a beach town where ordinary people bring their dreams and sorrows for a weekend or the rest of their lives…”   I can’t tell much from that!

Doesn’t this 1971 Penguin, The Keep, by Jillian Becker, a South African writer, look like something on the vintage Penguin shelves at Skoob?

This never-read hardback edition of award-winning Annie Proulx’s latest novel, Barkskins,  was a great find at $4.50.

I’ve been a fan of novelist and biographer A. N. Wilson since I read his five-book Lampitt Chronicles,  so I couldn’t resist The Vicar of Sorrows for 50 cents.

I never got around to reading Leonard Wibberley’s The Mouse That Roared, but I  loved the Peter Sellers movie.

And last but not least, a cat glances at Sue Miller’s Lost in the Forest (she is an excellent writer of literary fiction) and the great mystery writer Sue Grafton’s Q Is for Quarry.

And now I need to add a Planned Parenthood Book Sale Challenge button (ha ha) to my Goodreads page.

4 thoughts on “Literary References in “Blade Runner 2049” & Another Trip to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale, Fall 2017

  1. As you say, one of the great things about buying books at a regular book sale is that you can always re-donate them the following year if they don’t prove to be keepers. It reminded me of a school where I once taught where every Christmas the same pair of ornamental glass fish would turn up as a raffle prize. They were hideous and it was pretty much understood that whoever had the misfortune to win them would hide them away somewhere until we sent out the call for raffle prizes for the coming year, then they would make their way back to us and we would start the whole process all over again. This went on until one year a family new to the school drew the ‘lucky’ ticket and went into raptures over them. We never saw the fish again and i have to say that it was a bit like a family bereavement.


    • Ornamental glass fish! Oh, dear. Yes, some of those books must make the Planned Parenthood volunteers sigh when they see them again and again..

      On Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:28 AM, mirabile dictu wrote:



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