Recommended: Gausswerks on Deckard’s Blaster

I’m not a fan of Blade Runner (read: I’ve never seen Blade Runner, which has a long-awaited sequel in Blade Runner 2049, due in October 2017) but here’s a post from Jack Monahan at Gausswerks on the difference between creating a fictional world from scratch and expanding an existing one.

Basically, you can’t ignore the real-world factors that make fiction convincing. A selected quote:

“Looking at Deckard’s blaster, we see a lot of mechanical detail that looks like it works. Because it does! Or did, anyway, in its original context. But removed from that context, the [gun] components still retain their air of purpose. This is the trick. To take and recontextualize various greebles, nurnies, and gubbins that had purpose, in their original context, to make something else look like it has purpose.”

The idea is that the original Blade Runner’s prop design worked because it utilized real components to create a fictional design, whereas the sequel takes the fictional design and tries to create another fiction out of it. To me it’s like the difference between hard sci-fi and fantasy: hard sci-fi has some basis in real technology, while fantasy creates its own rules, adherence to reality not a factor.

In design, I suppose this is why some designs can appear both endearing and annoying. While I enjoy the look of these Seamless advertisements, with their visual appeal mimicking the product of a poorly-aligned printing press, it’s distracting in that it’s very obviously not actually made on a poorly-aligned printing press. In the spirit of what Monahan suggests, the ads would have been better served being created in the original method rather than employing a digital substitute.

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