The 1st Edition was pretty much the "encyclopedia" of Blade Runner, so if you don't already own it, and if your interest in Blade Runner is strong, then you should buy this new "2nd Edition" of "Future Noir" by Paul M Sammon.
However if you already own the 1st Edition, I must point out that this new book is not what it says on the cover. Rushed into production to coincide with the release of Ridley Scott's 25th Anniversary Final Cut at the end of 2007, this book is a disappointingly lazy "update" of the 1st Edition. I will explain the differences below...
Firstly, the 1st Edition has 441 pages while the 2nd has 588 (147 pages added) and though it says on the cover "extensively revised" this is absolutely untrue. There isn't even a preface to the 2nd edition. At first glance you see that the reproduction of the photos is very bad - they're a lot darker and not as sharp as those in the 1st edition, and still all black & white. Comparing the page content of both editions shows that they are identical in fonts, layouts, page numbers, photos, etc, from the very first page up until page 372, where the chapter title and content has been partly updated. But then finally some real new content comes in the form of a new chapter titled "The Final Cut", and here is where Sammon explains why this 2nd edition book has come about:
"Unfortunately, time and money constraints prevented me from doing a full revision of that first edition, while the available word count for this, FN's second edition, was somewhat limited. Therefore this 'Expanded Future Noir' should be approached as an informed recap of Blade Runner-related incidents from 1996 to 2007, not as a definitive analysis."
And a definite analysis it certainly isn't - this book was so rushed it misses the following two key events which surely must have been a must for inclusion:
1. The release of the Final Cut DVD (Nov '07)
2. The release of the 25th Anniversary 3-CD Soundtrack by Vangelis (Dec '07)
Instead Sammon was only able to list existing press releases and some writing is based on speculation (ie, the new soundtrack). Considering the importance of the above two events to this book, I found it unacceptable to publish a new book without waiting a little longer to review their content and impact, and subsequently readers may feel somewhat cheated by this 2nd edition. The publishers should really have waited - Blade Runner's popularity has never really wained so I think they would have lost nothing by waiting and they would have had a much better and definitive book as a result.
Though you don't get a review of the DVD content or soundtrack, you still get a detailed overview of the process and changes made to create the Blade Runner Final Cut movie, which had a limited cinema release worldwide.
OK, so what more do you get in this "2nd edition"?
- An additional chapter summarising Blade Runner's history between 1996-2007
- A brand new 2007 interview with Harrison Ford
- Updates to pre-existing appendices, plus a new addendum entitled "2nd Edition Date File" collecting random bits of old-and-new BR info
- Another new appendix "Errata: 1st Edition" correcting mistakes in the 1st edition (unbelievable that they chose to list the mistakes instead of just correcting them for this new edition!)
In this 2nd edition, Sammon (who has also published a similarly exhaustive book on Robert E Howard's Conan the Barbarian) irritatingly speculates he may publish a 3rd edition of Future Noir to coincide with Blade Runner's 30th Anniversary, in 2012. He also speculates on restoring some 300 ("lost") pages that were originally axed from the FIRST edition shortly before it was printed, though he doesn't explain why they were excised (maybe due to printing costs?), only that it was to the detriment of the book. The logical thing to do would have been to include them in this 2nd edition, yet this appears another negative restriction placed on this publication.
Anyway, to conclude: this 2nd edition, though it remains authoritative, should really have been titled the "1.5th Edition" and it's really a shame that more time and effort was not taken to do it properly. The author, with his rushed, disjointed quality of writing, and the publishers' attempts to capitalise on the "new wave" of Blade Runner interest and coincide exactly with the 25th Anniversary just proving to be a big mistake, precluded key events by a mere matter of months. And so this new book, as a result, is not a fully satisfying update.