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

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

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oct. 11, 2013, 12:31pm

I invite everyone to take part in discussing this book. If you are going to write about how the book turns out - a spoiler, please alert other participants by writing the word SPOILER first.


The last 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.

oct. 11, 2013, 2:37pm

I love this novel. To me (and I know others may disagree), this is PKD's best work.
Powerful exploration of what can happen when problems in empathy develop (which seems to be something we're experiencing as a society, currently).

oct. 12, 2013, 4:33am

Are you going to discuss this book in two separate threads?

oct. 12, 2013, 8:54am

Haven't read it in a while, but the passage where the android calmly plucks the legs off of a spider was chilling.

oct. 12, 2013, 10:59am

And, if you wanted to be slightly pedantic, you could also take a look at Dick's "The Little Black Box". Preceding the novel, it features the Mercerism of the novel and the empathy boxes.

oct. 13, 2013, 1:06pm

I read it a couple of years ago when I was home sick. Everyone will probably disagree with me on this, but I preferred the movie. I like endings with a sense of hope.

oct. 13, 2013, 5:53pm

As with virtually all the adaptations of PKD's work, the film simply borrows some of the concepts from the novel. I found the book and the film sufficiently different to enable enjoyment of them as separate entities rather than as the same story told in different media.

One bonus I have this year is that my 16 year old son is going to be studying Blade Runner: The Director's Cut as part of his English course at school. Why was school not this cool when I was there?

oct. 14, 2013, 5:02pm

What Peter said. They're different enough to be separately enjoyed. I liked them both.

oct. 15, 2013, 2:21pm

I have to say the movie inspired me to read the book. I have just started the book and already I like the voice. It reminds me of the Asimov Robot series. In that series I definitely got a much better story than the I, Robot movie. The movie was good in its way, just like Blade Runner is good in its way, but the book gives you a better feel for the character and the culture. However, both start with a poor working chump who is trying to provide a better life for his family in a world where there is very little in the way of a good quality of life. At least for the working man.

I am not starting a separate thread, though please feel free to do so.

I look forward to hearing more about the book as you read or re-read it. Re-reads can be really great, since one always misses certain important indicators.


oct. 17, 2013, 9:31am

9: I am not starting a separate thread, though please feel free to do so.

You started two separate threads, one here and one in Book Talk.

(I deleted the Book Talk one, and I don't want to futz around to get the link)

oct. 17, 2013, 10:40am

For some reason I don't think I ever picked any of the P. K. Dick books that must have been at my usual library in the years I discovered SciFi, beside The Man in the High Castle.

My introduction to the "Blade Runner" universe actually happened through the 1997 video game, then the film and the book.

Editat: nov. 2, 2013, 12:38pm

I have to say having now read the book, it made me feel like I was in a Camus-like world. What is real & what is not, do we really exist? Decker was kind of an anti-hero and tho at times you felt a little sorry for him, at the same time you felt some contempt.

The androids did not come off so sympathetically either. There was always some indication of a coldness, an alieness (a word?) that went deeper than one could find in "normal" people. However, there is also the thought that if the androids were given a childhood or normal association with people, then maybe they would be "normal" also. Were they or were they not "living organisms.?"

I do believe that Dick's representation of a post-nuclear world was a product of the times, since it was just in WWII that an actual nuclear device was used. In the 1950's & 1960's the fear that a country would actually detonate a nuclear device and plunge the world into nuclear winter was very real. Today we fear that some terrorist group will detonate a dirty bomb. Sometimes it feels that the world does not change very much.


The world PKD created was totally dysfunctional and at the end you felt that the human race was possibly on the verge of extinction on the Earth and having a hard time surviving in the Mars colony. That the Rosen company seemed to want to create better and more undetectable androids was a curious issue. Was it for the consumer, because there were so few real people on Mars? Was it possible that people could become extinct and androids would replace them? Possibly even become reproducing?

His world is such a sad and lonely place that Deckard becomes a man totally alienated & cut off, has a nervous breakdown. He can only relate to creatures, even if they are only electronic. He is lost.

Editat: maig 17, 2014, 4:56pm

But is also a very very funny book. I cannot read the opening page without laughing at the absurdity of it all. And remember, for the whole of the book Deckard is wearing a 'Mountebank' lead-lined codpiece.

I think people have this idea of Dick as a tortured unappreciated genius - this may be true, but it doesn't stop him from being a very funny writer.

maig 17, 2014, 5:49pm

I've read Androids and I've seen the movie an almost-embarrassing number of times. Personally I prefer the movie. I've read a lot of PDK books and stories and, although I love them, the main characters are all pretty much the same: a basically good man in a flawed world trying to make things better by a crazy act of bravery or self-sacrifice. In the movie Dekker came across as more complicated and conflicted.

Just FYI, PDK was apparently addicted to amphetamines while he was writing most of his books. I've always wondered whether that was how he came up with such fantastic, original and unique ideas book after book...was he like Samuel Coleridge on opium?

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