Check out this trailer for a new movie, “A Scanner Darkly.” It looks awesome.

The film is directed by Richard Linklater (“Slackers,” “Dazed and Confused”) but more importantly, it’s based upon a novel by Philip K. Dick. I’m fascinated by this guy.

Dick wrote a bunch of obscure, but awesome science fiction novels and short stories. Many of them were turned into good or great science fiction movies — “Blade Runner,” “Minority Report,” “Screamers,” and “Total Recall.” Sadly, he died in 1982 before he saw his work gain critical accliam. Actually, his 1963 novel “The Man in the High Castle” won the Hugo — the prestigious science fiction award — but he still died largely anomymous. “The Man in the High Castle,” a book about life in the U.S. after the German and Japanese victory in World War II, virtually created the alternative-history genre.

Take the time to read the wikipedia entry on Dick’s life. Two things from it seem clear: He was a literary genius with an incredible imagination, and he was certifiably crazy. Note the bits about the visions of pink laser beams and the Roman Empire.

I’ve got a another film based on a Dick novel in my Netflix rental cue. “Impostor” stars Gary Sinise, and (according to the wikipedia entry) remains true to Dick’s vision more than any other film. Can’t wait to see it.

By the way, I love the original title for “Blade Runner“: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep?” But, I’m told by wikipedia that Dick didn’t actually write the titles of his books — he let his editor handle that task.