“Blade Runner 2049” and Nabokov “Dark Fire”

A year ago, I went to the “Blade Runner 2049” studio to find an old book in a shelf of props – Nabokov’s “dark fire.” At that time, I was very curious about the relationship between the book and the film. It was not until a whole year later that the film was released to reveal the mystery. Moreover, the meaning of this book does not seem to be simple.

The book appeared in the home of K, played by High Commander. There was a scene in which Joi wanted K to read this book to her, but K refused, on the grounds that “you don’t like this book.”


The passages in this book appear in the “Baseline Test” that K experienced in the police station. He mentioned the verses in the book twice.

Let me talk about how this book is going. The Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” was published in 1962, and that was already his “Lolita” after the “explosion” in the United States. After the publication of “Dark Fire”, it was praised by the critics and was considered to break through the form of the novel.


The props in the film are the 1980 version.

Nabokov and “The Dark Fire”
Nabokov fictionalized a professor and poet Shade, and his colleague and neighbor Kinbote, who left an autobiographical 999 line of poems after his death. Neighbors wrote prefaces and commentaries and indexes for long poems.

Its structure is indeed very strange, long poems only account for one-tenth of the book, but the commentary is very lengthy and cumbersome. The main poem is about the poet’s life, his dead daughter, his understanding of life, love, death, truth and illusion. The neighbors, through a long commentary, forcibly reversed the meaning of the poem into a story of the last king from Zamba (a fictional country). This neighbor may be the deposed king, fleeing to the United States, and the pseudonym Golden Port teaches at school, wanting the poet to write his own experience into the poem. It is also possible that he was fantasizing himself into the fictional king in the process of reluctantly attaching himself to the wind and catching the shadows.

The “dark fire” comes from the Shakespeare tragedy “Thaimen of Athens”, which means that the moon is a thief and gets a “dark fire” by absorbing the light of the sun. Nabokov used this to satirize the neighbor, that is, he is the moon, stealing light from the poet.