Wednesday, August 24, 2016
THE COSMIC EGG OF FNARK - By Philip K. Dick
Let me re-tell you what I told you back here with some more details.
When I graduated from the University of Victoria in 1996, the gift that my father gave me was huge.
He'd mentioned for years that he'd collaborated with Philip K Dick on something, but never mentioned what. I'd asked him more and more over time as I studied Dick's work and bumped BLADE RUNNER up to one of my all-time favorite moves.
[I am going to call BS on Dick though. That quote of his "It is just as I imagined it!" as he watched some dailies of Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER has got to be a bald-faced lie. DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP does not even come close to the tone that SCOTT set. But hey, I guess it's subjective.]
So my father sent me his only copy of THE COSMIC EGG OF FNARK. In the satchel of papers that I received, there is a publishing contract, and a note from DICK's himself suggesting directions to go in.
Now I don't know exactly what my father went through with this thing, but he never landed the fish. There were no notes of his additions to the thing, it was all DICK's words.
The advice my Dad gave me was to "take a run at it." His take on it was that this was a big exercise. That there was talent of my own to sharpen. I asked him regularly what format he saw me producing it in. His response was to just start writing.
At the time I was working as a secretary at a real estate office. On-shift I pieced together a re-telling of the 26 page treatment through the eyes of a much younger man. Its nothing I'm proud of. I never let it see the light of day and parked the thing.
There have been opportunities and paroxysms of interest over the years, but nothing interesting.
A few years ago, I wound out clocking a lot of time with the TALKING MAGPIES. Those guys know how to write and have comprehension of plot and nuance that I appreciate. In fact, the draft that we wrote is one that I am proud of.
However, as we loaded up the war machine to get it published or into the hands of someone who really cares about ushering DICK's hidden writings into some sort of media form, stuff got wonky.
We got a lawyer on the job. We looking into copyright law and rights. The whole time we were pinging the DICK estate nonstop to see if they were interested in it on any level. My ultimate thought had always been that the kids of PKD would want to know something about their old man that they might not have known before. I'm left to consider that pre-production for Amazon's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE was in full-swing and they couldn't be bothered.
I have just come off of a 3 week braintrust with the Magpies again, trying to lock the story down sans DICK. We like the work that we have done. The window-dressing around the spine of the plot is stuff that makes me excited. Its some of the best sci-fi I have dealt with in awhile. I know that I am biased because it is my own (combined with the Magpies') writing, but I'm telling you, the ramp-up that we do to the story is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. We ramp up the mystery and the chaos up until the 3rd act, and then the revelation of the FNARK is made known.
Here is where I am finally at: The spine of plot in THE COSMIC EGG OF FNARK is corroded. What PKD originally presented was a twisting, convoluted story that ultimately questions the value of human life and immortality. In fact, a lot of what he was wrestling with in DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP is present. However, that corroded spine isn't strong enough for the muscle that we want to hang on the limbs. That corroded spine is the last of DICK's DNA in the project, but it doesn't really hold up. Also, I find that with all of the shackles of the copyright lawyers, its hard to smooth over some of the sutures that we have done with the plot.
We're tossing in the towel.
We have a cooler story we're working on anydamnways. One that touches on such grand subjects such as immortality and infanticide. Its much truer and closer to the zeitgeist than THE COSMIC EGG OF FNARK.
So for all of you who surfed in here based on the title of this blog, yes, its true. There is another PKD manuscript out there and I have it. The MAGPIES have a copy of it too. That's it. We really tried to get it out, but we couldn't do it. The story captivates my imagination, but without the DICK estate involved, its dead in the water.
I have to bring it all back to my old man (who died in 2007). I followed my marching orders. I did in fact "take a run at it." I know he would have liked what we did. He also would have liked the TALKING MAGPIES as well. At the end of the day, this project was a salute to the old man. I feel I did right by him.
Posted by DEMMON at 4:18 PM