Blade Runner

Let us stipulate from the outset that you are not the kind of person in the market for the "Five-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition of Blade Runner," which comes in a miniature briefcase and contains more versions of this 1982 classic of science fiction cinema than a whole squadron of tasked replicants could watch without their android eyes glazing over. You might, nonetheless, have fond enough memories of this noirish tale of rogue humanoids and the loner who hunts them to invest, at a considerably lower price, in the two-disc 25th-anniversary set that includes "The Final Cut" version of Ridley Scott's avowed chef d'oeuvre, as well as a 3 «-hour documentary on the making of the film. You get a seminal and influential bit of futurism, with its tight allegorical treatment of human identity, in a visually and aurally pristine version, "tweaked" by Scott himself and layered with three different sets of commentary. It's claimed that new scenes and SFX have been interpolated, but the impact, so far as I could tell, is minimal. The real hot juice lies in the documentary on disc two. Exhaustive, intimate, obsessive, sampling all the main historical creators and many commentators, unsparing of flaw or foible, this exegesis begins to resemble the tortured visionary notebooks of Philip K. Dick himself, as if the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the ultimate fount of Blade Runner, had reached out from beyond the grave to imprint his personality on all the participants, effecting a final revenge for any liberties taken with his novel. -

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."