Rutger Hauer (1944-2019)

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I’ve been working on cyberpunk fiction with my closest friends for the better part of three years. It started as one concept, borne out of the summer of 2016, in a conversation between my podcast cohost Stephen and I. We wanted to give the megacorporations “battle idols” that would sell the private military to the public – combine warfare and theater to make a war economy sexy. It started out directly political, likely out of our frustration with rising fascism and stodgy liberalism.

After bringing in a few more bodies, we’ve expanded the concept. It’s gotten more anime, more about experimental technology and what it means to have a weaponized body, less about how even warhawk Hillary was too docile to stop the Nazis. We’ve built a Soup Street that isn’t getting its food deliveries on time, arcologies of bioengineers (and their menial laborers,) and mecha that are too much responsibility for their pilots.

But center to the stories we’ve told is the human bodies under oppression and watching their psyches crack under pressure. In the world we made, things are bad. Some people are better at getting by than others. And some are better at getting by while still keeping some love in their hearts.

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Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty is an icon of that love to me. Batty is a broken man in a world that did not deserve him, and so he lashes out against it – but he never stops asking why he is no longer allowed to share in its time. When I’ve thought of stories to tell in that setting, Batty has remained in my memory as the soul either devoured or shining. The resignation in his final ad-libbed monologue remains one of the most profound filmed moments in history.

Hauer shared excited two years ago about a script he had wanted to direct titled RAIN DOGS. He was shopping at that time for a producer. It is hard not to feel he was cut short too soon himself.

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Hauer has given so many heroic performances – those more well versed in his career will honor those. All I can do is try to honor that Hauer defines the stories I’ve poured my soul into these past years, and to mark this date so that his memory is not lost or forgotten like tears in rain.

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