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Do androids dream of electric sheep? (original 1968; edition 1997)

by Philip K. Dick

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11,488282234 (3.97)2 / 448
Member:AlanPoulter
Title:Do androids dream of electric sheep?
Authors:Philip K. Dick
Info:London : HarperCollins 1997, c1968.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:science fiction

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (1968)

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English (263)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Italian (2)  Polish (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Romanian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (279)
Showing 1-5 of 263 (next | show all)
Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department who ‘retires’ escaped androids, doesn't like his job, but feels he has to keep going in order to fulfil his dream of owning a real animal. One day he receives a call that one of his colleagues is in hospital after an encounter with a suspect, so his superior Bryant orders him to pick up the trail and eliminate the five ‘andys’ still on Holden's list, while enlisting the help of the Rosen Association who produces the new Nexus-6 subtype of androids to help him work out if the police’s test of determining whether someone is an android or a human is reliable.

I really wanted to like this book, but while there’s no denying that Philip K. Dick creates a distinctly unique atmosphere, the pacing is very uneven, and the huge potential for philosophical and metaphysical exploration remains sadly unrealised for the most part, as plot threads are resolved unsatisfactorily or written into a literary dead end (memo to self: fractured reality after Deckard’s interviewing of Luba Luft); in the end, it reads like a straightforward - pointless? - action story set in a depressing future. It contains several annoying contradictions and statements that don’t make sense when looking back at the entire book (memo to self: Resch’s memories of Garland, the spider scene, Rachael’s final reaction), which is supposed to take place over the span of only 24 hours. The end of Deckard’s assignment felt like a complete anti-climax after the slowly building anticipation of a meaningful showdown, not to mention the ending of the novel, which, apart from being filled with pseudo-religious metaphors, only elicited a what the? response from me. At no point is a unicorn mentioned in the novel, so the cover is entirely misleading and building on the recognition of its symbolic significance by those who've seen the film, leading to the belief that film and book are more closely related than they actually are. Highly over-rated. ( )
  passion4reading | Jan 25, 2015 |
READ IN ENGLISH

Do Androids dream of electric sheep is a Scifi classic, it's also made into a movie called Blade Runner (You have a name like Do Androids dream of electric sheep? and then you choose as a title for you movie: Blade Runner. Why?). In my opinion though, there are quite some differences between the book and the movie, both of which are definitely worth a try.



In a destroyed world where most people have left the earth to live on colonies like Mars, our main character is a bounty hunter who kills escaped Androids. These androids pretend to be humans, so the only way for him to decide whether or not someone is an android is by testing their empathy, as androids are said to be unable to feel empathy. This makes him wonder about his own empathic skills, while also worrying about his new electric goat. He had a live one, very expensive, but it died and as he couldn't afford a new one, he replaced the goat with an electric animal, hoping no one would notice.



It's definitely a memorable book, I especially like the first half of it. It was very original, something I had already expected with such a lovely title as Do androids dream of electric sheep? At first it may seem just a story, but there is more to it. It handles questions about the value of life to name something. A very interesting read. ( )
1 vote Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
Ӕ
  ngunity | Nov 23, 2014 |
My second time reading Do Androids Dream, and I love it just as much as I did the first time. This particular reading came after a session of watching all five versions of Blade Runner from the 2007 DVD box set release. I realized that it had been quite a while since I'd read the novel, and that I'd forgotten certain elements, figured it was finally time for another visit with one of my favorite authors.

Firstly, if you're a fan of the movie thinking of reading the book, please note that there is a huge difference between the two. The book is much more cerebral and reserved in its delivery. The whole market of artificial animals, just a blip of a plot point in the movie, is a major element to the book. Also, important features from the novel left entirely out of the movie include Mercerism (the major religion practiced in the book) and the mood organ (people have reached a point where they can't handle their natural moods, so they stimulate them artificially to get through the day).

The book addresses the issue of humans and androids being with or without empathy in a much more in-depth way, with Deckard quitting multiple times in the story because he doesn't feel like he can go on "killing" androids anymore, even if he does really need the money.

The nature of reality is called into question within the book as well. Deckard is accused of being an android himself and taken to a police station he has never heard of, faced with other bounty hunters he should know, but doesn't. Even when he attempts to call his wife he faces a stranger on the Vidphone, making him question his very sanity, as well as his identity. If Ridley Scott really wanted to leave the viewer of the film with a question about Deckard's humanity, I feel this moment was vital for inclusion.

Philip K. Dick was a visionary. He wrote science fiction stories with everyman main characters experiencing every day problems with home, work, and life. The average problem for a Philip K. Dick character might involve keeping his wife from dialing a depression on the mood organ or feeling sorry for himself when he looks at his electric sheep, but it is easy to correlate these issues with those faced by anyone and everyone. ( )
1 vote regularguy5mb | Nov 20, 2014 |
Initially this book reminded me of Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’, written some twenty years earlier, with the disharmony between Deckard and Iran just as there was marital conflict between Montag and Mildred. Perhaps this also comes from reading past novels set in a future that has been superseded.

In fact, I found the opening rather depressing, not because everyone in Philip Dick’s society was obviously taking drugs to alter their mental state so that they felt happy despite a disintegrating earth, but because it reminded me that today it seems that the majority of people don’t worry about a disintegrating earth and that’s without taking drugs – and they continue to elect politicians who allow vested interests to continue their greedy ways so that climate change continues unabated.

Still, back to the book, one I first read many years ago when I had seen the film it inspired, very different in many ways that it was. Here in the book we have a much more human Deckard, one who actually does use part of the Voigt-Kampff test on himself but although there are more characters and significant plot differences, the idea of what it is to be human is also central to this book. Here, though, there’s an added and perhaps slightly confusing element: Mercerism, a quasi-religion which involves a person holding the handles of a Mercer empathy box which leads to fusing with Mercer, an old man continually struggling up a hill and stones being thrown and him and the person holding the handles until Mercer reaches the top of the hill, is consumed somehow or another and then regenerates again at the bottom of the hill and starts up again. Fusion comes from feeling part of a whole group of people involved in this. This is all odd enough – religious beliefs can certainly affect people’s perceptions of reality but in this case the stones actually leave bruises on people holding the handles of these fusion boxes and even sometimes kill them – all over the top to me and a shame as although empathy is the main concept of the book, it works best in the main plot through Deckard’s feelings about ‘retiring’ replicants.

So, while I felt this book was rich with ideas, I didn’t find them as cohesive as the ones in the subsequent film. Having Mercer exposed as a fake but then appearing to Deckard to warn him about where the replicants were in the apartment block was obviously deliberately contradictory but I can’t see what Dick gained by this. I also felt that he made the replicants entirely unlikable and this over-simplified the reader’s reaction to them. ( )
1 vote evening | Nov 17, 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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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Haiku summary
Rick Deckard, bounty
Hunter, "retires" androids
And reflects on life.
(passion4reading)
The best thing about
This book? It inspired a
Thought-provoking film.
(passion4reading)

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 8 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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 14 descriptions

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