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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,168447237 (3.95)2 / 727
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)
1960s (132)
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English (412)  Spanish (6)  Italian (5)  French (5)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (1)  Polish (1)  Romanian (1)  Finnish (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (441)
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Sagan með þessum skemmtilega titli lýsir dystópískri framtíð þar sem WWT, sem þýða má sem Loka Heimsstyrjöldin, skyldi Jörðina eftir í stöðugu úrfelli af geislavirku ryki. Vel flest skordýr og önnur dýr eru í útrýmingarhættu ef ekki útdauð nú þegar. Það er því stöðutákn að eiga dýr, jafnvel þótt að um skordýr sé að ræða. Þau ganga kaupum og sölum á ofurprísum en þeir sem ekki hafa efni á þeim útvega sér ódýrari gerfivéldýraútgáfur.
Til að bjarga mannkyninu er fólk hvatt til að setjast á nýlendum á Mars og víðar og fá með sér vélmenni að gjöf. Þessi vélmenni eru kostasmíð, nærri óþekkjanleg frá venjulegu fólki og eru lífefnalegar verur. Vélmennin eru hins vegar orðin svo "mannleg" að þau þrá frelsi en virðast búa við illan hag í nýlendunum.
Segja má að Dick láti söguna gerast á þrem sviðum. Fyrst og fremst er veiðimaðurinn Deckhard að vinna fyrir lögregluna við að elta uppi og eyða vélmennum sem flýja frá nýlendunum og dyljast á meðal manna á Jörðinni. Til að finna þau notar hann sérstakt próf sem greinir samhygð viðkomandi eða getu til að samsama sig tilfinningum annarra. Nokkuð sem vélmennin virðast ekki geta gert. Deckhard þráir líka mikið að eiga lifandi dýr. Hann á hins vegar einungis vélrollu sem hann kvelst mikið yfir að eiga - þrátt fyrir að enginn geti greint muninn, svo vel er vélrollan gerð. Að lokum segir frá Isidore sem er greindarskertur einstaklingur - vegna geislavirkninnar að því er virðist. Hann fær því ekki að flýja til nýlendanna og verður fyrir aðkasti þrátt fyrir að geta unnið og séð fyrir sér. Hann samsamar sig því einangrun vélmennanna og byrjar að hjálpa þeim að dyljast.
Þegar á líður söguna byrjar Deckhard að efast um muninn á vélmennum og fólki. Ný og fullkomnari gerð vélmenna er svo lík mannfólkinu að vafi leikur á um hvort hægt sé að beita samhygðarprófinu gegn þeim og Deckhard byrjar að rýna nánar í persónuleika fólksins í kringum sig og efast um hvort sumir þeirra sem hann hittir séu vélmenni eða mannfólk.
Undir liggur samt þrá Deckhards eftir raunverulegu dýri þótt þar sé í raun enginn merkjanlegur munur frá véldýri. Munurinn á vélmennum og mannfólki skýrist þó ekki fyrr en undir lok bókarinnar en lesandinn situr eftir með spurninguna hvort hann sé sammála lokaákvörðunum Deckhards og Isidore.
Áleitin saga sem dempir erfiðum spurningum á lesandann um hver sé munurinn á gerfilífi og raunlífi og hvort liggi ekki hjá spyrjandanum.
Scott Ridley gerði myndina Blade Runner árið 1982 með Harrison Ford í aðalhlutverki og byggði hana á sögunni. Hún þykir með bestu framtíðarmyndum sem gerðar hafa verið en ég mæli þó frekar meö sögunni. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
One of the rare instances where I preferred the movie over the book. Interesting points were made about empathy, but not as philosophically satisfying as Blade Runner. ( )
  Charon07 | Apr 1, 2022 |
Coming to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? from Blade Runner is an interesting experience, given the drastic changes in tone (the glitzy corporate overpopulation of Blade Runner vs. the post-apocalyptic depression of Do Androids Dream?). Shaking the dust of Blade Runner from your sandals is necessary before continuing.

The primary tension in Electric Sheep comes down to empathy vs. cold intellect (human vs. android), and whether an android could develop empathy, which is never properly resolved. In one moment, an android is clipping the legs off a spider just to see if it can walk with four, but in the next is distraught over losing a friend.

Real-world engineer hat: it wouldn't be that difficult to make androids "feel" empathy, any more so than it would be to make them "feel" anything else, including self-preservation. This is, of course, assuming you could get them to read the emotions (or simulate reading the emotions based on scripts of circumstances), which is also not a difficult feat, considering what they've already done. All you have to do is (to paraphrase I, Robot) induce neural feedback upon encountering the suffering of others. But, then again, the core of this novel is not the care, feeding, and bounty hunting of androids, but something more resembling the hypocrisy of man, religion, and the tension of empathy vs. intelligence within ourselves.

Electric Sheep is a deep book wearing the mask of a shallow book, but, in the end, it is only half a mask (the Mercerism plum line cannot be hidden). For those expected a by-the-numbers noire, it's there in spades (Sam Spades, one might say), but everything about the animals and Mercerism might feel strange and out of place. For those expected a scifi, Kafkaesque story involving robots, we've got your alienated protagonist undergoing a mystical transformation right here.

Further thoughts:

- "Sex with robots is more common than most people think."
- It's weird reading future scifi stories written before cell phones and the internet.
- Owning an electric toad would be pretty awesome. In fact, I think I'd prefer it to a real toad. ( )
  Azuaron | Mar 1, 2022 |
Much much better than Blade Runner ( )
  schumacherrr | Feb 21, 2022 |
Very good book. This is the second PKD I've read (other being The Man in the High Castle) and I realized what I don't like about at least these two. They make me uncomfortable. That is good sometimes, but I like to read books for enjoyment and that isn't enjoyable to me. ( )
  Sarahbrarian | Feb 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 412 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dick, Philip K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allié, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dougoud, JacquelineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duranti, RiccardoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frasca, GabrieleAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodfellow, PeterCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Michniewicz, SueCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pagetti, CarloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sleight, GrahamIntroductionsecondary 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.
Quotations
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
In 1968, Philip K. Dick wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, a brilliant sf novel that became the source of the motion picture Blade Runner. Though the novel's characters and backgrounds differ in some respects from those of the film, readers who enjoy the latter will discover an added dimension on encountering the original work. Del Rey Books returned this classic novel to print with a movie tie-in edition titled Blade Runner: (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?).
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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