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Replicant Night by K. W. Jeter

Replicant Night

by K. W. Jeter, K. W. Jeter

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Blade Runner (3)

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In Replicant Night, K.W. Jeter picks up where he left off in his previous Blade Runner entry, The Edge of Human, although that title would be more fitting for this novel. The story begins with Rick Deckard and Sarah Tyrell living in the U.N.'s Martian colony, their plans for emigrating to the interstellar colonies quashed by the cessation of outbound transport. Rick becomes wrapped up in a conspiracy to aid replicants currently rebelling against their human masters in those colonies while Sarah discovers more of the Tyrell Corporation's dirty secrets.
The background of the Salander 3 expands on ideas that Philip K. Dick first wrote about in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and the powdered deities bear a resemblance to the machines used the that book as part of Mercerism, but most of the story focuses on conspiracies-within-conspiracies. Jeter continues to pose the questions about the nature of humanity, with the Tyrell Corporation's slogan of "Realer than Real" recurring throughout the story. At one point, Deckard states, "We're not the ones who get to decide who's human and who's not" (p. 304). Jeter also maintains the nihilist streak that pervaded the original novel and film, with Sarah thinking to herself, "The dead were the only ones who escaped. For the living, there was only the past and the future, the same thing in either direction, and equally painful" (p. 131). Those who enjoyed Jeter's previous novel, the ways it sought to mesh Dick's novel with Ridley Scott's 1982 film, and the questions it posed in the manner of the two works will likely enjoy those parts of Replicant Night, though the plot is almost painfully complicated at parts. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Apr 4, 2016 |
My reaction to reading this novel in 1999. Spoilers follow.

While I appreciated that parts of this book were a homage to Philip K. Dick, I didn’t like this book. I found large parts of it tedious and other parts implausible.

The Martian setting - arid, desolate, and producing people who eventually almost lapse into total catatonia and a new generation of children who seem alien seemed to be inspired – at least as I remember it, by Dick’s Martian Time-Slip. The talking briefcase – a very Dick touch – I liked with its artificial copy of Roy Baty’s consciousness. I also liked the very Dick-like stage setting of Deckard’s life undergoing a real and fake reprise – and change – (at least the events in the film Blade Runner) in the orbital movie studio where a movie of his android hunt are recreated.

However, the middle part was frequently tedious. The worst part was the idea of a cable monopoly (in keeping with what seems an anti-corporate view attitude by Jeter in general) being necessary to staving off sensory deprivation on Mars. Are future generations in the electronic age so bereft of ingenuity that they can’t stage (a la Old West pioneers) their own amusements in plays, sporting events, and games? I found that unbelievable. I also thought Jeter belabored the plot device of Sarah Tyrell confronting her own past and insanity when she entered the Salander 3 and met Rachael Tyrell.

Tyrell and Deckard’s murderous relationship seemed reasonable, though, given the events of Blade Runner 2. We don’t get a clear explanation of early stardrive toxicity, and, in keeping with Jeter’s horror writer tendency to present fantastic elements with little or no sf rationale, we get J. R. Sebastian as pocket universe god, a pocket universe entered simply via drug ingestion. Nor does Deckard, as first implied, enter a virtual universe somehow encoded in a drug molecule or sensory experience created by it. Deckard takes physical relics out of the pocket universe. The notion of alternate universes entered by various means, including drugs, is Dickian too, but he carried it off with breezier élan than Jeter. The same holds true for Jeter’s conspiracy plots. The plots are so convoluted and counterintuitive that, in two assassins, Deckard has characters answering objections by Deckard that sound like surrogate plot objections that the reader has. And Jeter, by novel’s end, doesn’t really convince us of the believability of the plot, and the final revelation, human and android exchanging places in space, was not that exciting.

This novel had Dick features – confused reality, eccentric mechanical devices, conspiracies, domestic trouble, and mental illness – (not to mention being based on a Dick novel), but it did not capture the charm of even his lesser novels. ( )
  RandyStafford | Nov 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
K. W. Jeterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jeter, K. W.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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By whom was I cast into the suffering of the worlds, by whom was I brought to the evil darkness? So long I endured and dwelt in this world, so long I dwelt among the works of my hands.
- Ginza: Der Schatz oder das Grosse Buch der Mandäer, trans. M. Lidzbarski, Göttingen, 1925
For Russ Galen
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553577751, Paperback)

The Blade Runner adventure continues in this dark and stylish novel of nonstop futuristic suspense as ex-blade runner Rick Deckard must cross the most dangerous line of all--the line between human and android.

Rick Deckard had left his career as a blade runner and the gritty, neon-lit labyrinth of L.A. behind, going to the emigrant colony of Mars to live incognito with Sarah Tyrell.  But when a movie about Deckard's life begins shooting, old demons start to surface.  The most bizarre and mysterious is a talking briefcase--the voice belonging to Deckard's most feared adversary.  The briefcase tells Deckard that he's the key to a replicant revolution back on Earth.  Deckard must deliver the briefcase--the secret contents--to the replicants of the outer colonies before he is tracked down and killed.  Is the briefcase lying?  Who is really after Deckard?  And who is the little girl who claims her name is Rachael?  Once again Deckard is on the run from a sinister force determined to destroy him--and already closing in.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:07 -0400)

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