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  • Writer's pictureKL Forslund

Is this the Real Life?

I watched the first episode of Amazon Prime’s new series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams. Skimming the episode summaries, these should be interesting. I found the first episode Real Life to be provoke some thoughts, so here they are in no particular order. That should be the goal of classic sci-fi.

The Gist (Spoiler Alert)

The show starts off in the future with a cop played by Anna Paquin of X-Men and True Blood fame. Her girlfriend talks her into trying a new vacation-stim-tech thing. Then we wake up and we’re in “our” time as a game design CEO who has invented a headset thing that creates a vacation-simulation. Before you know it. We’re popping back and forth and confused on which is the Real Life and which is the Vacation. People in both versions make good arguments that the other must be fake. Our hero chooses the miserable past and we find out the future was the real one. I wouldn’t have spoiled that for you but it ties into my nitpick.

The Nitpick

The episode ends with our protagonist in a permanent coma, a cyber-scan showing her brain locked into this virtual life living as a heartbroken man. Katie the girlfriend says the hero chose to be punished and didn’t think she deserved to be happy. Yeah, that’s sad. But here’s the thing, Katie talked her into trying this Vacation SimTech thing and didn’t take a lick of responsibility for hooking her girlfriend on something dangerous.

To me, this feels like the secret lesson that good sci-fi sneaks in there. So if the writers planned on that, good job. Otherwise, it’s like the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer where the lesson we see isn’t the lesson they intended (which is that people only like you when your mutant ability is useful to them).

The Wrap

I enjoy sci-fi short stories, so this series looks right up my alley. If you saw the episode, let me know what you think in the comments. Am I right that whoever introduces you to a drug or something is culpable in the bad outcome you suffer?

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