In this letter from Philip K. Dick to The Ladd Company, he references a Harrison Ford interview where he says that that Blade Runner is not fantasy nor science fiction, but futurism.

What's did he mean by that? What else would fit into this genre?

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    I can't speak for him, but it seems to me that he just wanted to say that Blade Runner is a piece of art and not just another sci-fi movie made after yet another pulp story. It's clear from the letter that he was amazed. Apr 18, 2012 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


Fiction that is based on hard science and attempts to make real predictions about the future based on science and the scientific method is often called "Futurism", or "Speculative Fiction", or just "Hard Sci-fi". Asimov, Clarke, Frederik Pohl, and Poul Anderson have published examples of this.

In the case of Blade Runner, the novel's title was the thesis topic: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", and PKD attempted to explore the realities of what a convincing synthetic human would be like.

  • No, he means Frederick Pohl: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Pohl Apr 18, 2012 at 13:07
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    Not all of Asimov is hard sci-fi. The psionic abilities that are mentioned in the later parts of the Foundation books fall entirely outside of any conceivable definition for hard SF. Apr 18, 2012 at 13:10
  • @GoranJovic I'm pretty sure that the copy of a magazine I had in the 80's spelled both men's names Pohl. I didn't realize the error, thanks! Apr 18, 2012 at 13:12
  • @Donald.McLean argument from personal astonishment, because you don't find it scientifically plausable it must not be? If we're going to throw out stories with suppositions that aren't well supported most hard SF goes out the window: The Heechee figured out how to survive the crushing gravity inside of an event horizon. Probably not the best sceince. Clarke absolutely implied that the aliens in 2001 and also in Rendezvous with Rama had psychic powers. Apr 18, 2012 at 13:13
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    Regardless of what PKD himself thought, I've read almost everything by him (I'm a complete fan) and I don't think he wrote hard SF. Like an introduction to his short story collection states, PKD wasn't a scientifically minded individual. What he explored was the psychology of humankind (or the "technology of the soul", as one reviewer aptly puts it), through fantastic visions of the present and future. Little in his stories feels realistic; they are mostly an exploration of what it means to be human, but in "weird fiction" and bizarre situations. That's my take, anyway...
    – Andres F.
    Aug 3, 2013 at 20:32

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