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Blade Runner: A Movie

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  37 reviews
(the movie got its title from this earlier book)

"In this futuristic screenplay vision of a strife-and-disease-plagued America in 1999, Burroughs finds the cure for a decaying civilization in the medicine practiced by underground physicians and surgeons. These heroic healers, in turn, are aided by 'blade runners,' teenagers who smuggle banned surgical instruments past the
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Published June 1st 1979 by Blue Wind Press (first published 1979)
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Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beat, sci-fi
This is not about the movie starring Harrison Ford. That movie, as you probably know, was based on the classic Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

This book does contain many of the typical Burroughsian themes - underground drugs, dystopian cityscapes and of course a small dose of homoerotic sex. However, this book has a great story - it imagines a future time, or should I actually say THE PRESENT, in which antibiotics are no longer effective and in which medicine has adva
Pretty much totally incoherent in narrative terms, like some notes toward an apocalypse written on the back of a cocktail napkin. But has lots of utterly cool images. This began as a treatment of a screenplay based on a novel of similar name by Alan E. Nourse, but the only resemblance born to that earlier work is the sense of a medical apocalypse with its commensurate medico-criminal underground. Ample stuff to be ripped off by later writers. Some of Burroughs' humor shows throughout, making it ...more
Mar 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Why the film based on the P. K. Dick story bore this title has always mystified me. This is one of Burroughs' simpler bks but I'll always love it for one scene: a group of freaks are walking down the street minding their own business when some intolerant bullies start bearing down on them in their car, harrassing them. The freaks see that if the car keeps speeding toward them it'll intersect w/ an oncoming truck that the car-driver can't see. It does & the car's annihilated. How many hundreds (o ...more
John Defrog
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
As you might know, this is not that Blade Runner movie, but a Burroughs novella that started as a treatment for a film adaptation of Alan E Nourse's medical-dystopia novel The Bladerunner but then mutated into something more Burroughs-ish. In that sense, it's pretty standard Burroughs stuff, with Big Pharma conspiracies and horrible mutating viruses, but it also explores the question of national healthcare, making it strikingly contemporary for something written in the late 70s.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Certainly not Burroughs' best book, this screenplay-turned-novella is especially interesting in these days, with talks about a pandemic disease and a collapsed US medical care system. All with the trademark offensive and challenging Burroughs prose.
Would probably deserve a 3,5/5 stars, the additional half star is awarded purely on the basis of this book influencing Ridley Scott's movie title. Also, I'm posting this review at 23:23. Uncle Bill Lee would be proud of me.
Vedere accostato un titolo come Blade runner, che immediatamente folgora la mente con le immagini del film cult, a un autore come William Burroughs fa un certo effetto. Una miscela esplosiva dagli effetti devastanti, che non può non avere una curiosa storia alle sue spalle. Così è: forse non tutti sanno che il titolo è al centro di un singolare insieme di legami, poiché Fancher, il primo sceneggiatore dell'adattamento cinematografico del romanzo di Dick lo prese in prestito da questo libro di Bu ...more
Jun 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
dear god it's me jenni, why did i waste my time reading burroughs again
Side Real Press
Its been a few years since I read any WSB prose but this lovely Tangerine Press edition of a piece I hadn't previously read seemed too good to miss.

Blade Runner is not the Ridley Scott movie but is partly based on a book 'The Bladerunner' by Alan E. Nourse. Confused? An interesting (very detailed) essay by Oliver Harris explains all. There are a lot of odd 'co-incidences' (co-incidences don't exist in the WSB world) between all three elements.
Subtitling the book ':A Movie' you might expect it t
Tibor Konig
Nemrég arról beszélgettünk páran, miért pont a Blade Runner címet kapta a legendás, 1982-ben megjelent sci-fi film. A Digging Into the Odd History of Blade Runner’s Title című Vulture-cikk (köszi, Tomi :-)) egész jól összefoglalja a lényeget, és ad is két támpontot, az egyik The Bladerunner, a másik, a sokkal érdekesebbnek hangzó pedig ez itt. Úgyhogy gyorsan meg is vettem mindkettőt.

Burroughs műve nem igazán regény, inkább egy leendő film kivonata, amivel a producerek a stúdióknál házalnak (azt
Eric Stodolnik
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This "film treatment" is kind of a clusterfuck of dreamlike images and vignettes of scenes. Spatterings of narrative devices surrounding art-house style indie film weirdness.

As an actual film, this could never have been made how it stands in this form...

But as a short book by Burroughs, it was a fun strange read that is easy to plough through in one sitting.

Strange, but surprising amount of humor as well. In my head, at times (particularly in the first half that describes the social situation,
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This is some of the world building that you'd see in Blade Runner (the film) but without any of the plot. There's no connection largely other than the name.

It's about a world in decay--ironically a slow medical apocalypse. I don't know if Burroughs is taking the piss or not, but caused largely by a hodgepodge of corporations and "socialized" medicine. It's an interesting framing device--and the story, which largely takes place in the present, would devolve into the nightmarish hellscape of the
Dan Fleck
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm curious to know how much of this book was the original Nourse novel and how much was contributed by Burroughs. It certainly feels like Burroughs with familiar Burroughsian themes and imagery like operations performed by people on drugs in unsanitary conditions, and naked boys with throbbing erections. I doubt the boners were Nourse's idea and I'd bet money that's why this movie never got made.
Fernando Jimenez
Uno de sus grandes delirios, esta novela corta de William S. Burroughs, que es la historia de una revolución provocada por el seguro médico estadounidense. La clase media, encargada de pagar el gasto, toma las armas para acabar con “minorías étnicas, los beatniks, yonkis, maricones y melenudos“.
*[El libro fue comprado por los productores de la película de Ridley Scott aunque creo que sólo aprovecharon el título].
May 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
A treatment for a possible film, more filled with descriptive vignettes than narrative driven. It's post-Vietnam War Burroughs dreaming up America a few decades in the future - broken health care, class war with a whole class underbelly living in what is a parallel society, race war, virus pandemic. Interest premise but he doesn't really do much with it. A lightweight work.
Dave Capers
Dec 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Read a different edition than the one listed here for what it's worth and also did not read the novel that inspired this. That said this is an interesting collection of images and scenarios set in a well imagined post apocalyptic NYC. Doesn't take long to read and puts your mind in a odd suspended state for a bit upon completion.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it
This being a treatment for a movie, I tried to imagine it realized as such. Take the doctor scene from 89 Batman, in an Escape from New York setting, populated Mad Max characters, in a grand over ambitious Jodorowsky adaptation with alligators.
It also reads like an Onion article of what the GOP believes Obamacare would do to America.
George K.
Jun 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Το βιβλίο αυτό δεν έχει καμία σχέση με την ομότιτλη ταινία, πέρα του τίτλου της ταινίας, που ο Ρίντλεϊ Σκοτ δανείστηκε. Βασίζεται στο βιβλίο The Bladerunner, του Alan E. Nourse, και μπορεί να πει κανείς ότι είναι κάτι σαν την περιγραφή της ταινίας που θα μπορούσε να γίνει πάνω στο βιβλίο του Nourse, ή η περιγραφή του κόσμου του βιβλίου. Κάτι τέτοιο τέλος πάντων.

Βρισκόμαστε στο 2014, στην Νέα Υόρκη, που είναι το παγκόσμιο κέντρο της παράνομης ιατρικής, και είναι ολότελα διαφορετική με την σημερι
Dave Lefevre
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting read right after reading the Nourse book. I think it adds a different level of coherence in the work. I would suggest any reader to be familiar with Nourse's "The BladeRunner" before reading Burrough's take. I'm not sure if that was Burroughs' intention, but while this Burroughs book can stand on its own I think it makes a great companion piece to the original as well.

Basically Burroughs took a few characters and scenes, twisted them up (or threw them down the stairs like
sulla carta un'idea mica male: un film scritto da un burroughs post-apocalittico newyorkese e contemporaneamente l'opera che fa da ponte tra il burroughs sperimentale de "i ragazzi selvaggi" e "porto dei santi" e quello della trilogia della "notte rossa". peccato che il risultato finale sia tanto sfizioso (ci sono tutte le sue ossessioni, dal virus 23 all'apomorfina, da scientology a reich, dai complotti ai ragazzi selvaggi -qui i blade runners del titolo- fino ovviamente ad armi e humor nero) q ...more
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Firstly Burroughs is one of my favorite authors, but this is not one of his works i enjoyed. Along with The Wild Boys this adaption of Nourse's novel titled The Blade Runner is something i would have never read if it was not written by Burroughs. Certain subjects in the book were just to much for me, as a straight male i don't really want to read about men(and boys) having sex with each other.

This is not one of his best works, but its still better than a lot of the things out there. I enjoyed th
Ivan Castellucci
Tutti sanno che Scott si è ispirato ad un romanzo di Dick per la storia del suo film, pochi sanno che il titolo l'ha preso da un altro autore: William Burroughs.
Nel 1979, Burroughs pubblicò un racconto dal titolo: "Blade Runner, un film", racconto che a Scott piacque e, quindi, chiese allo scrittore "beat" il permesso per utilizzare il titolo della sua opera, per il suo film.
L'opera di Burroughs è una critica al sistema sanitario statunitense, quel sistema sanitario che ti fà morire in mezzo all
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of science fiction, the apocalypse, and people interested in medicine/medical care
Recommended to Robin by: Mr. DNA
Not only exciting for being the title-source for the movie (that was based on the Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep," only the term Blade Runner came from this book), but this was probably one of the best, least complicated (though for Burroughs that means still quite complicated) stories that made for a fun, provocative read.
My only complaint (the first of its kind for Burroughs) is that it was too short. Even with two competing story lines for the second half of the boo
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
The concept of this work, apparently based on a novel by Alan Nourse, was interesting. It seemed to portray a strange medical apocalypse of a socialized medicine system which drives certain groups underground for medical care. The result is a sort of steam-punk medical world in a burnt shell of New York City. Some of the imagery was interesting, but the characters were so utterly flat. It was short, and worth the hour or so it takes to read, but is by no means essential reading. ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine that you have just finished reading Alan E. Nourse's novel The Bladerunner; as you were finishing it, you were just starting to come down with a bad case of the flu. You go immediately to bed, and suffer through a night of bad sleep punctuated by fevered dreams in which you are watching a very bizarre film adaptation of The Bladerunner. If these things were to happen to you, the experience might not be unlike reading William S. Burroughs deranged adaptation, Blade Runner: A Movie.
Feb 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Burroughs treatment for a never-made film of Alan E Nourse's novel of almost the same name is surreal, dark and gritty. As with all Burroughs' work, unreadable in the linear sense, but when seen through Postmodern lenses, predictive of a lot of literary flourishes that came after. Excellent and recommended if you're already a Burroughs fan.
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another great from Burroughs. No connection to Scott’s movie Bladerunner, but I couldn’t help but envision the kind of movie that could’ve been made from this. Like what Cronenberg did with Naked Lunch, there’s a cool movie lurking in here, filled with illegal surgeries, mutated diseases, and a grim view of the future.
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Good, but weird. Bleak future. Blade runners, those who transport underground medicine in the future, are the future of humanity. This continues Burroughs's work in idealizing the young man as a hero in our postmodern world.
Kilburn Adam
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Post apocalyptic novella, that has nothing to do with androids. Contains all the elements that you'd expect from Burroughs: drugs, weapons, mutant diseases, teenage boys. The perfect bit of escapism, for a Sunday afternoon. Just what I wanted, needed, and expected from one of my favourite writers.
Jesse K
Dec 23, 2007 rated it liked it
This is probably Burroughs' most easy to follow book post Queer, and definitely one oh his most hilarious. It's a 1 to 2 hour read tops, and well worth the time.
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William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century ...more

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