Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
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ABOUT THE BOOK
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.
Powerful exploration of what can happen when problems in empathy develop (which seems to be something we're experiencing as a society, currently).
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?
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.
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)
My introduction to the "Blade Runner" universe actually happened through the 1997 video game, then the film and the book.
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.
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.
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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