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Writing Date

Pub. Date






Mar 1968






    Philip K. Dick first learned that a film option was taken out on DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? sometime in May 1968. A letter from his Doubleday editor, Lawrence Ashmead, on the 29th congratulates him on the sale of the movie rights.

    In his ‘Self Portrait’ written soon after he learned of the sale, PKD refers to this possible filming of his novel:

    DO ANDROIDS DREAM? has sold very well and has been eyed intently by a film company who have in fact purchased an option on it….

    The producer who had optioned ANDROIDS was Bertram Berman. However, Berman had nothing to do with the final movie. Apparently, Herb Jaffe later picked up the option, probably around 1973. Philip Dick talks of those early days:

    It all began years ago", he explains, "Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks were both interested in ANDROIDS but they didn't option it. That was the first movie interest in any property of mine. Then later Herb Jaffe optioned it and Robert Jaffe did a screenplay back about 1973. The screenplay was sent to me and it was so crude that I didn't understand that it was actually the shooting script; I thought it was the rough. I wrote to them and asked if they would like me to do the shooting script, at which point Robert Jaffe, the one who wrote the screenplay, flew down here to Orange County and confessed that he had written it under a nom de plume. I said to him then that it was so bad that I wanted to know if he wanted me to beat him up there at the airport or wait till we got to my apartment."

    Robert Jaffe was very straightforward and asked Dick if he really thought it was that bad, whereupon Dick responded candidly. "I said, 'All I ask is that you do not drag me down to ruin with you.’" I said that I'd honestly prefer to buy back the property than let them make a film based on that screenplay and he was real nice about it. I gave him suggestions and he took notes and then I noticed that he wasn't actually writing, but rather he was just moving the pen about a quarter of an inch from a piece of paper that already had printing on it so that he was only pretending to take notes. I realized then that there was a gulf between me and Hollywood.{...}"

    And in another interview he talks about it again:

    A producer by the name of Herb Jaffe has an option on DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? I don’t dare bad-mouth his silly movies, but if You’re listening, Herb Jaffe, I love your money, but you sure write lousy scripts. You’re a Neanderthal Man. You’re back with George pal, and I don’t want you to make a movie out of my book. The screenplay that they wrote for ANDROIDS was a combination of Steve Reeves and Maxwell Smart. Robert Jaffe, Herb Jaffe’s son, flew down to Fullerton to talk with me about it because I didn’t think it was a final shooting script; I thought it was just a rough draft. I told him, "I’m going to beat you up right here in the airport, because you’re going to drag me down with you guys and ruin my career if you make a movie out of my book." He said, "You mean it’s that bad?" and I said, "Yeah." Finally, he said, "You mean you wrote that book seriously? You science fiction writers take your work seriously?" I said, "Seriously enough to throw you right out of this moving car." I said, "I’m going to buy it back from you and give you the two-thousand-dollar option money back." Then we had a four-hour rap session which was very productive: they didn’t make the movie. They just continued to hold the option, and I’m hoping they don’t make the movie unless they write a decent script.

    In 1975 Hampton Fancher approached PKD about optioning DO ANDROIDS DREAM for film. But the option was already held by Herb Jaffe. When this option expired in 1978, Fancher and his partner, Brian Kelly, picked it up. Kelly then submitted the option to producer Michael Deeley, who refused it. Fancher then decided to write a screenplay himself. This he did and when he again returned to Deeley the option was accepted. As Fancher noted, after that it was all sales work. Deeley was a famous producer who’d just won an Academy Award for the movie The Deer Hunter.

    But even with this powerful backing no studio would commit to producing the movie, all having objections of one sort or another. So Fancher kept tinkering with his script and in 1979 Deeley brought it to the attention of Ridley Scott, the director of Alien, a blockbuster movie, and famous in his own right. Scott initially passed on it but maintained an interest and during a hiatus in another project he again asked to see the script. This time he decided to go with it and within a week had pitched the idea to Filmways. Soon after the movie that would become BLADE RUNNER went into pre-production and Syd Mead was hired as Production Designer. But then in late 1980 Filmways dropped the project due to the expense (BLADE RUNNER was budgeted at around $18 or $19 million at the time -- $4 to $5 over Filmways limit). Filmways financial role was immediately taken up by Tandem and soon The Ladd Company hopped on board, assuming some financial responsibility. The final budget was $22 Million.

    More script rewrites followed with a disgruntled Hampton Fancher feeling his role being reduced to that of a contract writer and not liking it. These revisions by the recalcitrant Fancher resulted in another writer being brought in to work over the script which, by this time, had taken on a life of its own. The new writer was David Peoples and he first came to the project in Nov 1980. He completed a script for BLADE RUNNER in Feb 1981.

    Fancher did not actually work with Peoples on the script; that was between Peoples and Ridley Scott. But of the Peoples’ script Fancher said:

    … I was surprised because when I got Peoples’ script those things that Ridley had wanted that I thought couldn’t be integrated into the concept had been rendered by Peoples in ways that were original, tight and admirable.

    Fancher’s reduced role as sole screenwriter did not result in bad feelings between the parties and he was called back toward the end of production to help rewrite a few scenes.

    Peoples talks of writing the screenplay:

    The thing that can be confusing about all this is how enormously collaborative all of this stuff is, especially at the stage that I was involved. I was brought in when there were sets already being constructed. One time I changed a scene and somebody said, ‘Jesus, you wrote the ambulance out!’ I said so what and they said, ‘Well, it’s already built.’ So this was a source of some aggravation.

    As production continued Peoples found himself writing scenes on the fly, sometimes with suggestions and dialogue from Scott and the two principal actors, Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer. The term ‘replicant’ occurred to Peoples after he talked to his scientist daughter about some of the scientific background to the movie. She’d spoken of cell replication and he snatched the term to use instead of ‘android’ which he felt had been overused.

    To Peoples, PKD’s theme of what is human? was important in his script. But he stresses that the movie is Ridley Scott’s; he’s the one with the full vision of the movie:

    Ridley is sort of the Hieronymus Bosch of our time. He goes way beyond what’s on the paper. I mean, you can’t imagine it – in the sense of you write down a bunch of things and then you go see what’s shot and it just blows your mind.

    As for the actors in BLADE RUNNER, Philip K. Dick was greatly pleased. Rutger Hauer, he thought, was definitely appropriate for the part of Roy Batty:

    I was looking at the stills of him and I said, ‘Oh my God, this is the Nordic superman that Hitler said would come marching out of the laboratory. This is the blond beast that the Nazis were creating. And of course the origin of the book DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? was my research into the Nazis for THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE.

    And of the choice of Sean Young to play Rachel Rosen, PKD was ecstatic:

    Sean Young, who plays Rachel, I have never seen her act. I’ve seen Harrison Ford act, and I’ve seen Rutger Hauer act, but when I saw those stills of her I was blown away! I said, that’s Rachel! You could have hung pictures of a hundred different women and I would have unerringly picked out that one as Rachel. That’s not a simulation of Rachel, that is Rachel. They went and found her. It’s the femme fatale belle dame sans merci that I eternally write about and now I’ve seen a photograph of her and I know that she exists. I’ve shown the pictures to several of my friends and they all agree that that’s exactly how they imagined her.

    Unfortunately, I have been able to find no remarks by PKD on the choice of Harrison Ford to play the part of Rick Deckard, nor of how he played the part.

    Leaving the movie for a minute we’ll look now at the brouhaha with the BLADE RUNNER novelization. In the Twilight Zone interview PKD addresses this issue:

(TZ):  Your forthcoming novel, THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER, is essentially a non-sf literary work based on the mysterious death in the desert of your friend Bishop James Pike, and I've been told that you wrote it in lieu of doing a novelization of the BLADE RUNNER screenplay. Why did you choose to write a book with openly religious themes instead of a lucrative, all-but-certain bestseller?

(PKD):  The amount of money involved would have been very great, and the film people offered to cut us in on the merchandising rights. But they required a suppression of the original novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? in favor of the commercialized novelization based on the screenplay. My agency computed that I would accrue, conservatively, $400,000 if I did the novelization. In contrast, if we went the route of rereleasing the original novel, I would make about $12,500.

 BLADE RUNNER's people were putting tremendous pressure on us to do the novelization -- or to allow someone else to come in and do it, like Alan Dean Foster. But we felt that the original was a good novel. And also, I did not want to write what I call the "El Cheapo" novelization. I did want to do the TIMOTHY ARCHER novel.

   So we stuck to our guns, and at one point BLADE RUNNER became so cold-blooded they threatened to withdraw the logo rights. We wouldn't be able to say, "The novel on which BLADE RUNNER is based." We'd be unable to use any stills from the film.

Finally we came to an agreement with them. We are adamant about rereleasing the original novel. And I have done THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER.


This is something that is extremely important to me in terms of the organic development of my ideas and preoccupations in my writing. So for me to derail myself and do that cheapo novelization of BLADE RUNNER -- a completely commercialized thing aimed at twelve-year-olds -- would have probably been disastrous to me artistically. Although financially, as my agent explained it, I would literally be set up for life. I don't think my agent figures I'm going to live much longer.

It's like Dante's Inferno. A writer sent to the Inferno is sentenced to rewrite all his novels -- his best ones, at least -- as cheapo, twelve-year-old hack stuff for all eternity. A terrible punishment! The fact that it would earn me a lot of money illuminates the grotesqueness of the situation. When it's finally offered to me, I'm more or less apathetic to the megabucks. I live a rather ascetic life. I don't have any material wants and I have no debts. My condominium is paid off, my car is paid off, my stereo is paid off.

    PKD refers to the reissue of DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? in conjunction with the release of the movie:

    As to my novel DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? it has been pulled from the stores deliberately, kept out of circulation, and will be rereleased next May in conjunction with the film; it’ll have Harrison Ford’s picture on the cover, and, inside, stills from the film. I’ve been told that a used paperback copy has sold for as much as $65, because of the film. The original hardcover is so rare that Ballantine had to obtain my copy for their printing from me directly; they could not obtain a hardcover copy anywhere at any price, because it is now such a sought-after collector’s item.

    Perhaps beginning with Herb Jaffe’s lousy script in 1973, Dick had felt an antipathy toward the would-be producers of his movie. But his attitude changed after he saw a section on the BLADE RUNNER special effects on the TV news: "I recognized it immediately. It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly." So pleased was Dick that he wrote a letter to the TV station who sent it along to the Ladd Company who, in turn, mailed a copy of the new screenplay to PKD. This screenplay was still Fancher’s but had been worked over by David Peoples, unknown to Dick. On reading it he now thought it sensational:

    I couldn't believe what I was reading! It was simply sensational -- still Hampton Fancher's screenplay, but miraculously transfigured, as it were. The whole thing had simply been rejuvenated in a very fundamental way.

    After I finished reading the screenplay, I got the novel out and looked through it. The two reinforce each other, so that someone who started with the novel would enjoy the movie and someone who started with the movie would enjoy the novel. I was amazed that Peoples could get some of those scenes to work. It taught me things about writing that I didn't know.

    Peoples’ script turned PKD around. He had not wanted to meet Ridley Scott and go up to Hollywood to be wined and dined. But now he was on good terms with Hollywood and got involved in the production – the reason as we’ve seen that he was too tired to write THE OWL IN DAYLIGHT.

    PKD did see part of the movie in early 1982, writing to Kris Hummel:

    Kris, I haven’t yet seen the film in complete form, but I did see about twenty minutes of it, and it is super; I’m not kidding. The opening scene is simply beyond belief. It is likely that in late February we’ll be shown a rough cut of the total film… but they’re running behind schedule, I understand. BLADE RUNNER is truly a dynamite film {…}

    But although amicable relations existed, Dick soon got himself in trouble with Hollywood again by referring to ‘androids’ in an interview for Select TV Guide

    Shit, BLADE RUNNER started yelling at me because, in an article that I wrote in the Select TV Guide, I mentioned androids. They said, "That's very dangerous talk, mentioning androids in connection with this film. We're not using the word android." Well, it seems hard to avoid a word that's in the title of your own book. And they wanted to know how I'd gotten hold of a copy of the screenplay. "How did you get hold of it?" they said, with the emphasis on the word "you," you know?

    PKD also commented on the transformation of his novel into movie terms:

    "The sets, I'm sure, are marvelous. Russell (Russell Galen, Dick's representative at the Scott Meredith agency) called me up and said, "You've got to go up there." Well, in a way it's a Chinese finger-trap. If the sets are that good, maybe I'll go up there and fall into the mode that exists now in science fiction, where the special effects and the sets are everything. And as an author I can't afford, as a practical matter, to adopt that ideology, because it reduces the author to merely setting up a simple plot-outline in which special effects can be brought in. His job is very much a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

    "Ridley Scott is a director who has a visual sense rather than a narrative sense. This is not a matter of insulting Ridley Scott. He thinks visually, and of course this is why he's in movies. It is perhaps the way it should be. But I am an author, and I think in narrative terms, in terms of a story line."

    BLADE RUNNER, the movie, was released to an indifferent public in the Summer of 1982 but its status has risen since and by the turn of the century BLADE RUNNER is considered a cult classic. Norman Spinrad reviewed the movie soon after it came out. Initially he had a bad attitude, brought on by the fact that he could not find the name Philip K. Dick anywhere in the ads and posters proclaiming the movie, but his attitude changed on actually seeing the movie:

    … far from being a turkey, a case could be made for BLADE RUNNER as the best science fiction film of the past decade, and certainly of the post-Star Wars crop.


    The plot itself is extremely simple. Rick Deckard is a cop of sorts in a future megalopolis. His job is to hunt down four escaped "replicants," that is, androids with deliberately shortened lifespans manufactured for off-world use. He succeeds in slaying ("retiring") three of them, more or less falling in love with a fifth replicant, Rachel, in the process. Roy Batty, the fourth and most dangerous replicant, has Deckard at his mercy as he, Batty, is about to die, but decides to let Deckard live. Deckard runs off with Rachel. Fade out.

    As a science fiction writer himself Spinrad is concerned with the fidelity of the movie to the book. In the course of his review he sees BLADE RUNNER as a fair transformation of the novel to movie form:

    … the core of the novel, the essential story, is the core of the film. The intellectual level of the screenplay and its perceived audience are both much closer to the intent of Dick than to "action-adventure" and the theme and its mode of expression are intellectually and spiritually true to the novel to an impressive degree…


    In addition to being true in essence to the novel despite public statements to the contrary, BLADE RUNNER, despite more public statements to the contrary, is truer to what science fiction is all about than just about any "SF film" yet made. Scott (and here we are definitely dealing with the creative contribution of the director) has created the most dense, detailed, and fully realized future world ever put on film.

    However, Spinrad does find a few things to complain about in the movie, particularly "the ponderous pace of the editing" and the director’s lingering over some scenes for too long. And, of course, the horrible voice-over by Harrison Ford that runs throughout the movie is criticized. He also wonders where the title came from and assumes it was something someone came up with because it sounded snappy; even though it has nothing to do with the film or the novel. But despite these quibbles, if such they are, Spinrad concludes his review with:

    BLADE RUNNER is an essentially true translation of DO ANDROID DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?, it is a serious film for adults, and it is more of a real science fiction film than just about anything else has been. Flaws and all, it is a minor masterpiece at the least, and anyone looking for a real science fiction film of truly serious intent should go see it.

    In 1990 The Ladd Company released a ‘Director’s Cut’ of BLADE RUNNER in which the voice-over was removed and some other scenes expanded and a few new ones put in. This version too was released to the public but seems to have aroused only the attentions of die-hard Dick fans and BLADE RUNNER cultists. This version mostly ended up on video-tape and on laser discs and DVD’s for the affluent fan.

    As for the reissue of DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? that accompanied the movie under the title BLADE RUNNER, this was done by Del Rey Books in May 1982. The cover features a copy of the movie poster and has the distinctive BLADE RUNNER logo for its title. The original title of the novel is in parentheses beneath the logo.

    The British edition followed from Granada in August 1982.

    As for BLADE RUNNER collectibles, an original movie poster may cost you $500 and up. But of the books, the first edition paperbacks from the USA and UK are not particularly valuable – there were so many printed – and they can be had for about $10. Valuable items do exist though; for instance, the BLADE RUNNER Souvenir Magazine, published by Friedman, Inc. in 1982 commands a price from $350 to $500 while THE BLADE RUNNER SKETCH BOOK from Blue Dolphin Press, also in 1982, which features original production artwork illustrations is a heady $750.

    There is also a comic book version of BLADE RUNNER that was published in two parts by Marvel Comics in 1982.

    The first paperback edition of BLADE RUNNER from Del Rey became PKD’s best selling edition to its time (and probably forever) with over 325,000 copies sold. Many additional printings of BLADE RUNNER have followed this first one both in the USA and UK – and in many other countries as well. By now one imagines the worldwide royalties from BLADE RUNNER editions must be a tremendous amount of money.


BGSU Papers. Lawrence P. Ashmead > PKD, May 29, 1968.

TSR 11. PKD ‘Self Portrait’, 1968.

TSR 137

Starlog #55, p20. PKD on BLADE RUNNER by James Van Hise.

Hour 25

Fantastic Films Magazine, Aug 1982.’BLADE RUNNER: Ridley Scott Interviewed’ by Blake Mitchell and Jim Ferguson, p12 ff.

Starlog, May 1982, p22ff, ‘Interview with the BLADE RUNNER Screenwriters: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples’ by James Van Hise.

Starlog, Feb 1982. ‘Philip K. Dick on BLADE RUNNER’ by James Van Hise. In a letter to Kris Hummel dated Jan 27, 1982 PKD refers to this interview and comments on Fancher, Peoples and Scott.

Starlog, Aug 1982. ‘BLADE RUNNER’s Sean Young’ interview by James Van Hise. PKD quote from Sep 1981

Twilight Zone, Vol. 2, No. 3, June 1982, pp. 47-52. Interview by John Boonstra.

GSM Xerox Collection. PKD to Kris Hummel, Jan 19, 1982.

GSM Xerox Collection. PKD to Kris Hummel, Jan 12, 1982. Also on

The Patchin Review, No. 5. Oct-Dec 1982, pp2-6. Interviewer John Boonstra

Starlog, Nov 1982, p55ff. ‘BLADE RUNNER’ reviewed by Norman Spinrad.

BLADE RUNNER OFFICIAL SOUVENIR MAGAZINE, Friedman, Inc, 1982, $2.95, 68pp, 140 photos and illustrations. And BLADE RUNNER SKETCHBOOK, Blue Dolphin, 11 X 8 3/8, 1982, $6.95, 96pp. A profusely illustrated collection featuring original artwork by Syd Mead, Mentour Huebner, Charles Knode, Michael Kaplan and Ridley Scott from the motion picture.

Blue Dolphin issued two other publications in conjunction with the movie: THE ILLUSTRATED BLADE RUNNER, 8 X 11, 1982, $6.95,128 pp, illustrated. And: BLADE RUNNER PORTFOLIO, 9 X 12 , 1982, $9.95, twelve hi-gloss action photos of Harrison Ford and cast in prime moments from the film. Full-color sharp images ready for instant display. Produced on high-quality stock, all twelve reproductions cover the action and suspense of BLADE RUNNER. Each plate I approx. 9 by 12 and is packaged in a handsome illustrated folder…

PKDS-4 8

Collector's Notes.              For Cover Pix Click Here: PKDickBooksCom

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 129-3, 1982 (1st BR). VG+. this is a tight unread copy with a hint of shelfwear, and a small spot of scratching on the spine. Internally, the pages are clean and free of markings. $15

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 129-3, 1982 (1st BR). VG. creasing along the left/right edges of spine, light rubbing to the edges, and a faint fold crease to the lower right corner of the front panel. $10

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1982 (1st). VG+. $3.95

The Elder Tree Book Shop: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1982 (1st BR). VG. creasing along the left/right edges of spine, light rubbing to the edges, and a faint fold crease to the lower right corner of the front panel. $10

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1982 (1st BR). VG. $3.45

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1982 (1st BR). G. text good, ends colored & covers worn. $2.95

Antiqbook: BLADE RUNNER, Granada, pb, 1982. NF. $5

Gravity Books: BLADE RUNNER, Granada, pb, 605-9, 1982. G. Covers worn. $2.24

Antiqbook: BLADE RUNNER, Granada, pb, 1982. G. Covers worn. $2

West L.A. Book Center: BLADE RUNNER SOUVENIR MAGAZINE, Friedman, inc, 1982 (1st). NF. Some almost neglible wear, else a very collectible copy. $350

Pawprint Books: BLADE RUNNER SOUVENIR MAGAZINE, Friedman, Inc., tp, 1982 (1st). NF. Left hand portion of front panel and lower right hand corner have a faint bit of waviness else fine. A gorgeous copy of this scarce and profusely illustrated souvenir magazine which was issued upon release of the motion picture. $505.61

Pawprint Books: BLADE RUNNER SKETCHBOOK, Blue Dolphin, tp, 1982 (1st). FINE. A superb copy of this scarce and profusely illustrated collection featuring original artwork by Syd Mead, Mentour Huebner, Charles Knode, Michael Kaplan and Ridley Scott from the motion picture starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, etc. and directed by Ridley Scott. Here are the original production designs. A wonderful and important "Blade Runner" item. $758.42

Robert Wright Books: BLADE RUNNER by Les Martin (an adaptation), Random House, tp, 1982 (1st). NF. With more than 60 colour photographs from the Ridley Scott Film. Wrappers, a bit rubbed, but else near fine. $25

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, ? (4th). VG. Some creasing at the corners and at the spine with an uncreased spine. Not store stamped. $3.95

Biblion: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1984 (7th). NF. slight edge wear. $7.49

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1984 (7th). VG. $3.20

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1984 (7th) G. $4.95

Oddball Books: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1987 (17th). FINE. $8

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Grafton, pb, 1987. VG. $4.45

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1988. G-VG. $4.95

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1989 (15th). NF. $4.45

The Good Book Store: BLADE RUNNER, Random House, pb, 047-2, 1990. NEW. $13.96

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1991 (19th). VG. $4.95

The Book Center: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1991 (19th). G. over shows minor wear, pages browning. $10

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1991 (19th). VG. very little reading stress, no creasing to spine, and a faint fold crease to the lower left corner of the rear panel. $5

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1991 (19th). VG+. Unread copy with light rubbing. $5

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 35047, 1992 (12th). VG. Unread copy with light rubbing. $5

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Ballantine, pb, 1992. NF. $3.95

Biblion: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1992 (20th). NF. barely visable spine crease and chipping alone some edges and corners. $7.49

Alibris: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 1994 (7th). G. $2.95

Phildickian: BLADE RUNNER, Del Rey, pb, 35047, 1994? (25th). VG+. Unread copy with light rubbing. $5

Antiqbook: BLADE RUNNER, Millenium, pb, 1999. FINE. $5.50

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