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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by…
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Blade Runner (1)

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English (242)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Romanian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (258)
Showing 1-5 of 242 (next | show all)
After the hellish events of World War Terminus, humanity decided to jump ship and establish colonies on Mars using the assistance of organic based android slaves. Not everyone booked a one way ticket though, several have stayed behind; forced to live among radioactive dust and the ruins of a once prosperous planet.

Despite the bleakness of life on Earth, the one true solace you can take comfort in is owning an honest-to-goodness real life animal. As you can imagine, the price to bring one home can be astronomical and for Bounty Hunter Rick Deckard, taking down eight escaped androids – or andys as they’re dubbed – could potentially fund his animal owning dream. Or at least provide him with a healthy down payment.

I was so disinterested during the first fifty pages that I worried I would have to force myself to get through this – which is never a great feeling when you get around to picking up a novel so universally loved. When a classic fails to strike that same chord with you as it does with so many other readers, you begin to question your own literary pallet.

Thankfully, that particular brand of anxiety doesn't last long. As soon as Deckard is given his assignment and ventures out in pursuit of his prey, the story picks up and Dick starts to ask some very interesting questions of his audience. Just what exactly does it mean to be human? When does a life become significant and cease being expendable? He’s not going to give you an answer either. It’s all subjective anyway. I have friends who can empathize with animals more than they probably can with other humans – does that mean that as a species, we’re all going to become vegetarians? Probably not. The author just wants you to consider how self-righteous we are and if we have the capacity for change.

For all the importance Deckard puts on the Voight-Kampff scale and determining whether or not an android is capable of empathy, we sure shit the bed on that one ourselves by blowing up the whole damn world and everything in it. ( )
  branimal | Apr 1, 2014 |
Nothing like the movie. Better, deeper, weirder. This book is one of Dick's darkest and that is saying something. It is also perhaps his best. It straddles his prime science fiction writing with his later obsessions with religious hallucinations. This book is about violence but has very little in the way of descriptions of the actual violence which did not interest Dick at all. ( )
  byebyelibrary | Mar 19, 2014 |
Fascinating. I need to go out and rent Bladerunner now. I feel as if I missed some of the deeper meaning/symbolism since I really blew through it and read it in about two days. ( )
  steadfastreader | Mar 18, 2014 |
“While we venerate and mourn our own dead we are curiously indifferent about those we kill. Thus, Killing is done in our name, killing that concerns us little, while those who kill our own are seen as having crawled out of the deepest recesses of the earth, lacking our own humanity and goodness. Our dead. Their dead. They are not the same. Our dead matter, theirs do not.”

Chris Hedges
War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

There were an entire retinue of books I read ages ago that I greatly appreciated, but even back then I appreciated them with an air of caution, and asked myself whether I would still appreciate them a decade later. Many of Philip K. Dick’s books are in this category. I cannot at this point recall with any kind of certainty the sentiments I held towards this book then. What I do recall is that I gave it three stars when I first ranked it. But considering that it was the book that got me started reading PKD, I don’t think that rating is terribly fair.
Regardless, when I found the paperback about my house not too long ago, I figured it was certainly time to give it another chance and to see what I really think of it.
Certainly more than it did then, Dick’s writing style stood out, and unfortunately not in a good way. Certainly there are moments where he could have used a better editorial hand; such as when he phrased things in such a way as to cause confusion about which subject is being referred to, or perhaps worse when he leaves pretty obvious redundancies in his writing (for instance “’I wonder about blah blah blah…’ he wondered” is a fairly accurate imitation of some such redundancies.). But PKD has never been famed for being a great writer. He is famed for being an ‘ideas writer’, something which would make Nabakov turn head down-ward in his grave in order to get further away from the living. But even as far as ideas go I didn’t feel it was great, though mostly to no fault of the writer. Having influenced generations of other ‘ideas writers’ the ideas now come off as a little thin. We’ve seen such idea before, over and over again since about the time off Philip K Dick. Nor do the ideas seem particularly well fleshed out to begin with. Mercerism, Dick’s stand in for Catholicism, requires the reader to fill in many gaps with Catholic sentiments to function, and might lead the reader to wonder why Dick didn’t use Christ to begin with. Obviously, because Christianity is complicated and not everyone believes that it necessarily entails an empathetic perspective from it participants. But that diversity of interpretations is exactly what seems to be lacking in the novel (er, rather what seems to be lacking in how the novel deals with Mercerism). I couldn’t help but feel odd over what seems to be an overwhelming homogeneity among the human character’s attitude towards Mercerism. I think the only time I have ever encountered such homogeneity in opinions about anything is when people refer to TV shows. Even at the novel’s, when Mercerism has been ‘debunked’, all the character excepting the protagonist seem to have a lofty ‘oh no now what ever shall we do?’ to them. One would expect a little more dynamism from a world.
Was anything redeemable? Yes. The novel had charm. Much of it came from the imposed symmetry of the story structure. There are humans real and humans fake, animals real and animals fake, and interlacing them seem to be a set of social patterns that cause us to think hard about our own treatments of others, particularly in situations where the dividing line is less obvious for our world. Dick of course loved to add in moments where the protagonist or other character of note begins to question reality. It is for Dick very much a gimmick, but one that adds much to this particular discourse. Empathy is little more than to be put into another’s shoe, and the fact that the protagonist is at some point being told that he is likely an android with a false memory implant seems like the fastest route to that path. This would have been the focus of another, equally PhilDickian novel that exists in some other world. But the real beauty is found in that latticework reactions among the novel’s various types; how fake humans treat real animals, how real humans treat fake animals, how real and fake humans treat one another…
But then we also find ourselves with the terrible moment where the protagonist is told he must sleep with an android to be able to better kill it (though he has had no trouble up to this point), and one can’t help but lift the whole scene up and sniff it for misogyny.
All things considered the book stood well to a second reading. I am curious to see what I think of it in 2024, three years after the story takes place. ( )
  M.Campanella | Mar 10, 2014 |
This is the book that started the classic movie "Blade Runner" with Harrison Ford and its two distinct endings.
  ClosetWryter | Mar 3, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick, Philip K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dougoud, JacquelineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duranti, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michniewicz, SueCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Struzen, DrewCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wölfl, NorbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zelazny, RogerIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
And still I dream he treads the lawn,
walking ghostly in the dew,
pierced by my glad singing through.
~ Yeats
Dedication
To Tim and Serena Powers, my dearest friends
To Maren Augusta Bergrud
August 10, 1923 - June 14, 1967
First words
A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345404475, Paperback)

"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world."
--John Brunner

THE INSPIRATION FOR BLADERUNNER. . .

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.

By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.

Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in.

Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

"[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
--Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:48 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

THE INSPIRATION FOR BLADERUNNER. . . Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time. By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans. Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.… (more)

» see all 14 descriptions

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