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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1)

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It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!


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It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill. Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard's assignment--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!

30 review for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I could say that I love Dick, but that would be weird. I do very much enjoy Philip K. Dick's writing and though this is not one of his best, the "Pizza and Sex Rule" applies to him; ie. just as even bad pizza and / or sex is still pretty good, bad PKD is as well. And this is not bad at all. The first mistake that a new reader would make is to watch Blade Runner and expect a novelization of that film; it was LOOSELY based upon the book. I'm a big fan of the Ridley Scott film starring Harrison For I could say that I love Dick, but that would be weird. I do very much enjoy Philip K. Dick's writing and though this is not one of his best, the "Pizza and Sex Rule" applies to him; ie. just as even bad pizza and / or sex is still pretty good, bad PKD is as well. And this is not bad at all. The first mistake that a new reader would make is to watch Blade Runner and expect a novelization of that film; it was LOOSELY based upon the book. I'm a big fan of the Ridley Scott film starring Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer, but the movie diverged from Phillip K. Dick's literature early on. The book is far more bleak than the film, if you can believe that, and much more intricate and complicated. Blade Runner benefits from a simplified storyline. The author was far ahead of his time both in the complexity of his story and the perspective from which he writes. There are elements of Brave New World, I, Robot, and Dune; but the author has a unique voice and the story is an original. It is not an excellent work, as there are gaps and inconsistencies and many loose ends that are never tied in, but the concept and provocation are superb. One element of the book that was completely left out of the film was a sub-plot involving a Christ-like messiah and a faith system based upon what could have been a hoax. First published in 1968, this was one of his more theological based novels, and a trend that would continue steadily becoming more frequent and invasive until the end of his writing. A MUST read for PKD fans as well as SF/F fans period.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Colleen Venable

    It takes five full pages for a character to buy a goat and ONE FRIGGIN' SENTENCE for a character to "fall in love". This book was so amazing in the beginning...and then suddenly everything plummeted downhill. It was almost as if Dick got 150 pages in and then said "awwww screw it...uh, sentence, sentence, sentence, THE END!" Why did there need to be any sort of "love" storyline anyway? Along with being the only geek who made it through puberty without reading Phillip K. Dick books, I also am one It takes five full pages for a character to buy a goat and ONE FRIGGIN' SENTENCE for a character to "fall in love". This book was so amazing in the beginning...and then suddenly everything plummeted downhill. It was almost as if Dick got 150 pages in and then said "awwww screw it...uh, sentence, sentence, sentence, THE END!" Why did there need to be any sort of "love" storyline anyway? Along with being the only geek who made it through puberty without reading Phillip K. Dick books, I also am one of the few who has never seen Blade Runner. I'm a little scared to now. I was so convinced I was going to give this one 5 stars while I read the first 100 pages. It felt truly original, hauntingly believable, and seemed gearing up for some big revelation. Man, did this one disappoint. Dear Mr. Dick, Thank you for the lovely short story...but what was with all of those extra pages glued in after?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scott Sheaffer

    I Love Dick. There I've said it. No, not a “Mood Organ” or blood filled skin sack made to facilitate reproduction but Philip K. Dick. Is it really possible for androids to acquire human traits like empathy and the desire to understand the meaning of life and avoid death at all costs? What would the role of socialism play in an android world? Would self aware androids seek out to destroy anything that threatened their existence or tried to control their thoughts (ie programming)? A Google search r I Love Dick. There I've said it. No, not a “Mood Organ” or blood filled skin sack made to facilitate reproduction but Philip K. Dick. Is it really possible for androids to acquire human traits like empathy and the desire to understand the meaning of life and avoid death at all costs? What would the role of socialism play in an android world? Would self aware androids seek out to destroy anything that threatened their existence or tried to control their thoughts (ie programming)? A Google search revealed that the search for intelligent android life is alive and well. I learned that there are no less than 15 groups attempting to create intelligent android life. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was a joyous adventure into mans struggles with ideas such as real vs. unreal, life vs. un-life, mind control, intelligence vs. mental deficiency, decay vs. regeneration, the value of religion (real or imagined) and the value of individualism vs. the collective. Sounds like something that should have a “King James Version” doesn't it? I would consider attending mass at a church where the virtues and values explored in this book were studied and ‘preached’. Would an intelligent android society have a need for religion even if they understood that the religion they followed was created (divinely inspired or not) to give them hope and a forum where they would feel like a part of something bigger and more consequential than oneself? What value does religion have in the lives of mankind? This is one of the fundamental issues Dick toys with in the world he creates in this novel. And now I digress. . . While in college I played around a little with writing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) program I called “The Oracle”. It was a simple program where input from the user was stored in data files along with key words that would allow the program to associate the users input with the key words. The result was that “The Oracle” could use input from the user to “learn” custom responses to questions the user might ask. My rudimentary computer skills and the memory storage limits of my Commodore 64 resulted in my abandoning the project after numerous attempts to avoid the “out of memory” errors. Oh, the limitations of computers! Would a memory error like this in humans be considered something like a seizure? If we succeed in creating self aware computers I wonder what they would think of their creators. Would they treat their parents better than we treat our own human parents or would they tend to migrate to their own, creating a separate mechanical society? Dicks Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep explores this question and presents one look at how this might work out. If you are a fan of relevant science fiction I would recommend this book. I ended up reading this one twice in a row to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Others more familiar with Dick might suggest other Dick works that could/should be read before taking on this philosophical/social work. By the way a “Mood Organ” is an invention by Dick. It’s a device used by humans to manipulate their moods. The user dials in a code which correlates with a specific emotion, mood, or desire. Sounds like something that should take two “D” sized batteries and be stored at the bottom of the underwear drawer huh? Enjoy the book and try to ignore the incessant buzzing in the background, it's just the androids busy at work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Russell

    “It's the basic condition of life to be required to violate our own identity.” ― Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Having hooked up all the iridescent wires from my XC-23 Weird and Crazy in Fiction Test Machine to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I’m here to report results showed the needle registering a maximum ten out of ten on each and every page. Quite a feat. Quite a novel. But then again, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised - after all, this is Philip K. Dick. One of t “It's the basic condition of life to be required to violate our own identity.” ― Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Having hooked up all the iridescent wires from my XC-23 Weird and Crazy in Fiction Test Machine to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I’m here to report results showed the needle registering a maximum ten out of ten on each and every page. Quite a feat. Quite a novel. But then again, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised - after all, this is Philip K. Dick. One of the most bizarre reading experiences anyone could possibly encounter. Rather than attempting to comment on plot or the sequence of events (too wild to synopsize), here are ten ingredients the one and only PKD mixes together in his outlandish science fictional stew: Rick Deckard - the novel’s main character, a bounty hunter on the city police force assigned to track down and destroy human-like androids that have emigrated illegally from Mars. The year 2021, the place San Francisco in the aftermath of nuclear war, deadly dust everywhere, many species wiped out. The government says androids must remain on Mars and continue doing all the dirty work for humans who have migrated to the red planet. Darn! The problem is androids, especially the most recently improved version with their new Nexus-6 brain unit, have been given way too much intelligence. Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test – Fortunately, bounty hunters can administer a test to determine who is human and who is android. The central dilemma with androids – without the very human capacity to feel compassion for others, an android is nothing more than a solitary predator, a cold killer capable of murdering humans left and right to eventually take over. A true stroke of PKD irony since there are a number of instances where androids appear to have deep feelings and empathy for each other and even humans. Meanwhile, the human bounty hunters are expected to eliminate or “retire” androids with no more feelings than if they were disassembling a vacuum cleaner. This philosophical conundrum emerges repeatedly throughout the novel. John Isidore –Since he scored low on his IQ test, labeled a special and chickenhead, Isidore can’t emigrate to Mars. He lives alone in an empty, decaying apartment building on the outskirts of the city and drives a truck for an animal rescue company. When at home Isadore watches hawkers and comedians on his TV when he's not grabbing the handles of his black empathy box that enables him to fuse his feeling with all of life, a major tenet of the new religion of Mercerism, founded by that superior being, Wilbur Mercer. Such belief and behavior leads to yet another area of PKD-style philosophic inquiry. However, by the end of the novel it becomes clear anyone, human or android, should think twice before putting their life in the hands of a chickenhead. Buster Friendly – Leading TV personality and all-around funny guy who makes announcements and pronouncements on what’s real and what’s fake on topics near and dear to the hearts of the remaining survivors. Topics can range from the latest reports on nuclear fallout to his biggest rival, Wibur Mercer. Mood Organ – In this futuristic world, there’s no need for drugs and for good reason: men and women like Rick Deckard and his wife have a “mood organ” where they can simply set the dial for a stimulant or a tranquilizer, a hit of venom to better win an argument or even set the dial for a state of ecstatic sexual bliss. Obviously there’s some upside here. 2021 isn’t that far away. Lets hope inventors are hard at work as you read these words. Rachael Rosen – Beautiful daughter of Eldon Rosen, founder of a major manufacturer of androids. But wait: Is Rachael a real human or could she turn out to be one of those very intelligent Nexus-6 androids? Time for Rick Deckard to take out his equipment and give Rachael the Voigt-Kampff Empathy Test. Either way, Rachael infuses serious energy into the story. One of my favorite lines is when Rick Deckard asks himself after a phone call with Rachael. “What kind of world is it when an android phones up a bounty hunter and offers him assistance?” Happy Dog Pet Shop – One of the largest pet shops in the Bay Area, they currently have an ostrich in their display window, the bird recently arrived from the Cleveland zoo. What a prize! Rick Deckard is hooked – he stops and stares at the ostrich as he walks to work and later places a call to check on their asking price. Whoa! The price is outrageous. Rick knows he would have to eliminate an entire string of androids just for the down payment. But, my goodness – to own one’s very own ostrich. Kipple - As John Isidore states as a matter-of-fact: “Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there’s twice as much of it. It always gets more and more.” Sounds as ridiculous as the medieval idea of spontaneous generation. Perhaps we should take into account that John Isidore is, after all, a chickenhead. Luba Luft – On the list of androids, Luba is currently a leading opera singer for the lead company in San Francisco. Come on, Rick Deckard, do you really want to eliminate someone (or something) that is making such a formidable contributing to the arts? PKD has Rick and a fellow bounty hunter discuss this very question as they follow orders from their higher-ups. Real and Electric Animals – Creatures of all stripes and varieties add much color to the story. In addition to the above mentioned ostrich, there’s a horse, a sheep, cat, goat, spider, donkey, crow and toad. Some are real, others electric. A PKD book worth reading to discover the truth down to the last four-legged wiggly. “Damn her he said to himself. What good does it do my risking my life? She doesn't care whether we own an ostrich or not. Nothing penetrates.” Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick, American Science Fiction author (1928 - 1982)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    An android walks into a bar. "Hey!", the bartender says, "Only people with feelings are allowed in here! You need empathy in order to be in a joke like this, or at least have something people can relate to." "Oh, don't worry", the android replies, "I definitely feel empathy." Relieved, the bartender invites him over to the bar. "What are you having?" "A beer would be great!", the android replies. The bartender, evidently approving of this fine choice, gladly obliges and goes on to cater for the othe An android walks into a bar. "Hey!", the bartender says, "Only people with feelings are allowed in here! You need empathy in order to be in a joke like this, or at least have something people can relate to." "Oh, don't worry", the android replies, "I definitely feel empathy." Relieved, the bartender invites him over to the bar. "What are you having?" "A beer would be great!", the android replies. The bartender, evidently approving of this fine choice, gladly obliges and goes on to cater for the other guests. The android sits there for a while, drinking, looking, thinking. He decides he wants more of that beer. "Hey bartender!", he shouts, "Come give me a refill, my glass is empathy!" ___ The title of this edition, "Blade Runner", is very fitting as it shows to which great extent my reading experience tied in to the movie. This might seem strange because plot-wise there are very few similarities between this book and the film. And despite them being so different, I can only say both are supremely good. It's impossible for me to say which I prefer. One element where the book wins it over the movie is the title, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", which was used as a subtitle in this edition of the book. The contents remain the same as in the original book, but the cover work is evidently made with the movie in mind. The way the novel influenced the movie probably goes without saying. The central theme has been picked up: man managed to create an "inferior" version of man in order to make use of that product for their own benefit: as slaves, as company. In essence, what would happen if Dr. Frankenstein's patent would expire and his creation would be mass-produced, made more aesthetically pleasing and completely void of emotions. Inferior is relative though, because the androids are generally more intelligent and agile. And most look very attractive, which helps. That's where the philosophical aspect comes in: What is it that makes us so different from these creations that makes us essentially human? According to society in this book, it's empathy. The ability to feel for others, to manage to go through what they're going through by some mystic group connection. The androids can't do that and are thus considered subhuman and when on the loose, dangerous. This story progresses by questioning that central statement. For starters, not all humans have empathy, or at least they don't act upon it. And when they have it, it's selective at best. The difference between "human" and "humane" is more signifcant than what their similar spelling would suggest. How else to explain the treatment of so-called "chickenheads", by which society allows the elderly, the weak and the stupid to be stranded on a dying planet? Additionally, hints are given that the androids could possess more emotions than they were intended to have. So where on the humanity spectrum does that leave the man who has to kill them for a living? That's what this story is about. This book offers some insights on how Dick himself intended his book, which was essentially an anti-establishment novel during the war in Vietnam. His line of thinking was that when we go fighting, we become what we're fighting against. In his vision the androids truly were evil. Any sympathizing I have been doing with them, and with me many others, was not intended by the author and maybe partially due to the movie's influence. Admittedly, it becomes much harder to like them near the end of the book, especially if you like animals. Dick's focus was not on how human the in our eyes inhuman are, but on how bounty hunters themselves became devoid of emotions the longer they were doing their jobs. How those who claim to be human can turn into the monsters they fight quite easily. I personally like to regard it from both its perspectives. The atmosphere created in the book is supreme. When I had read it last year, I rated it three stars. Yesterday, 4. Now, after having given it careful thought, 5. Why the hesitation? There are some segments that don't seem to make sense, like the operation Garland had set up or Mercer manifesting himself at certain occasions. But then, that's part of it. The "nightmare" feel of the book is part of what makes it so great and these fluid elements in the story where there are unexplained shifts between dreamworlds and reality are part of what constitutes the nightmare experience. My reading-experience of this book was amplified by the influences of the other media it appeared in, both the movie and the videogame (which was based on the movie). The artwork in those was simply sublime and provided the perfect framework in which the story could be set, also in my mind. Dark and always foggy streets, trash everywhere, cheap neon the only source of light and a musical score to round it all off. It's a dreary place, but somehow, I can't explain it, very appealing. According to the additional notes in my edition, Dick, who sadly could not see the completed movie due to his untimely demise, was positively surprised when he saw the first 20 minutes of the movie, saying that it felt Ridley Scott had held a mirror to his mind. I do wonder if that's entirely truthful, since I doubt Harrison Ford saw a balding, slightly overweight man when he looked in his own mirror. I think it's safe to say that Ridley Scott and his entourage really added something to the experience of this story, as well as offering a completely new narrative. In conclusion: This is one of those instances where the franchise in its entirety can be strongly recommended. Like PKD himself predicted in a letter to the movie-makers: Blade Runner has proven to be invincible. I hope the Blade Runner 2049 movie will demonstrate that further. Read it, watch it, play it and ... feel human :-)

  6. 3 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Well that was crazy cool!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    Is Deckard an android? "An android," he said, "doesn't care what happens to another android. That's one of the indications we look for." "Then," Miss Luft said, "you must be an android." That stopped him; he stared at her. This is all I could think about when reading. I really looked for evidence to back the idea up, though the novel only provided me with speculation and partial facts. For every little suggestion in the text that he is a robot, there is an effective counter argument. Somehow, though Is Deckard an android? "An android," he said, "doesn't care what happens to another android. That's one of the indications we look for." "Then," Miss Luft said, "you must be an android." That stopped him; he stared at her. This is all I could think about when reading. I really looked for evidence to back the idea up, though the novel only provided me with speculation and partial facts. For every little suggestion in the text that he is a robot, there is an effective counter argument. Somehow, though, I am not entirely convinced. “Maybe there was once a human who looked like you, and somewhere along the line you killed him and took his place. And your superiors don’t know.” I think Phillip K. Dick left it purposefully open to an extent, and that’s the entire point of the novel. What is life? How do we define it and what separates us from entities that simulate almost every human experience and emotion? Very little. Phillip K. Dick creates a city full of doubt and conspiracy. Androids could be anywhere and they could be anyone. As technology advances it becomes harder and harder for them to be detected by police. They even think they are human with a will and freedom to choose their own lives. Who has the right to tell them no? Deckard pushes such thoughts to the back of his mind, though they constantly plague him and creep up in the shadows of his dreams. He is on the cusp of a moral crisis, an identity crisis, a crisis that may change the way he sees the world. Though like most people he is driven by money. Killing (murdering?) androids pays really well and Deckard wants a new animal. His electric sheep died and he dreams of replacing it with an exceedingly rare real life version, something far more important than preoccupations with empathy. The value of animals and the natural world to the human psyche is firmly established throughout the book. There is an almost depressive quality to the novel, a smoky haze that clouds the cities. The scientific boom of the future world has severed the link between man and his true self. He is detached and has to rely on artificiality to get by, an artificiality of emotions and animals themselves. Animals have become rare and extremely costly. They are highly sought after and as such there is a huge market for fake animals, androids (electric sheep.) Thus Deckard kills more and more robots in order to attain his goal of getting an animal, of finding himself. This is a great novel, one that questions existence itself. It certainly made me think. Admittedly though, I think the movie Blade Runner was so much better. Aside from the exquisite cinematography and soundtrack, it was far more effective at delivering the humanity of the androids and the final confrontation was masterful. It capitalised on the themes here and made them stronger.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Justin

    Raise your hand if you saw my name next to a five star rating and thought you were dreaming. Dreaming of electric sheep. Boom. Ohhhhhhhhhhh baby. How have I not read this until now? Why haven’t I seen Blade Runner before? Why?! Why?! Whyyyyyyyyyyy......... Everything about this book is just, just, so... just so... everything about this book, man, this book, it’s just so... it is. This book. Awesome. This book is awesome. Words I’m trying to eliminate from my vocabulary: man, awesome, cool, legit, Raise your hand if you saw my name next to a five star rating and thought you were dreaming. Dreaming of electric sheep. Boom. Ohhhhhhhhhhh baby. How have I not read this until now? Why haven’t I seen Blade Runner before? Why?! Why?! Whyyyyyyyyyyy......... Everything about this book is just, just, so... just so... everything about this book, man, this book, it’s just so... it is. This book. Awesome. This book is awesome. Words I’m trying to eliminate from my vocabulary: man, awesome, cool, legit, nice, word. It’s been a real struggle so far. Anyway.... I loved this book, obviously. It made me think. It made me turn the pages. It made me move my eyes ferociously back and forth. The chapters were irrelevant. I blew right through them like running a red light. I felt the same exhilarating feeling I would have felt if I was actually running a red light. That’s how this book makes you feel, like you’re speeding in a car and running all the red lights. And there are no bounty hunters or blade runners to worry about. No... early retirement. The Nexus 6 is the name of a highly advanced robot, a cellular telephone, and probably an elite Quidditch broomstick. I wouldn’t be surprised. Keep checking Pottermore. Are you a fan of Westworld? Fahrenheit 451? Brave New World? Blade Runner? Battlestar Galactica? Star Wars? Star Trek? Die Hard? Ex Machina? If you said YES to all of these... can we be friends? We already are? Can we continue our friendship? If you answered YES to three of those, this is probably the book for you, most likely, surely. Enjoy! What a fantastic read this was! What an absolute joy to experience this story! What a privilege we all have to have access to great book such as these, and also other books as well. What a great time to be alive! What a wonderful world we all live in! How lucky are we to sit here in our living rooms and bathtubs reading away and enjoying literature at its finest? Good Lord, life is grand.

  9. 5 out of 5

    °°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο Αμ

    Ειλικρινά με το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο δεν μπόρεσα να συνδεθώ σε κάποιο ουσιαστικό επίπεδο. Ίσως να είμαι κι εγώ ένα ανθρωποειδές εξελιγμένο μεν αλλά μέχρι ενός σημείου, καθώς δεν κατάφερα να νιώσω ενσυναίσθηση για τους ανθρώπους και τα ζώα που αναφέρονται στην ιστορία. Δεν μπόρεσα ούτε στο ελάχιστο να ταυτιστώ με τον πρωταγωνιστή - εξολοθρευτή- δεν μου έδωσε το έναυσμα να βιώσω τον κίνδυνο που διέτρεξε πολλές φορές και να αγωνιώ, τον άφησα με τη ρηχή λεκτική και φυσική αντίδραση του προ τους γύρω Ειλικρινά με το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο δεν μπόρεσα να συνδεθώ σε κάποιο ουσιαστικό επίπεδο. Ίσως να είμαι κι εγώ ένα ανθρωποειδές εξελιγμένο μεν αλλά μέχρι ενός σημείου, καθώς δεν κατάφερα να νιώσω ενσυναίσθηση για τους ανθρώπους και τα ζώα που αναφέρονται στην ιστορία. Δεν μπόρεσα ούτε στο ελάχιστο να ταυτιστώ με τον πρωταγωνιστή - εξολοθρευτή- δεν μου έδωσε το έναυσμα να βιώσω τον κίνδυνο που διέτρεξε πολλές φορές και να αγωνιώ, τον άφησα με τη ρηχή λεκτική και φυσική αντίδραση του προ τους γύρω του χωρίς να με ενδιαφέρει συναισθηματικά. Όλες οι συγκρούσεις συμφερόντων και επιχειρημάτων καθώς και η επικύρωση βασικών θεμάτων στο βιβλίο είναι απολύτως επίπεδες. Το νόημα του μυθιστορήματος επικεντρώνεται στην αγάπη για το ανθρώπινο είδος και το ζωικό βασίλειο γενικότερα. Για έμβια όντα που έχουν αναπαραχθεί και γεννηθεί, εδώ υπεισέρχεται πολύ άκομψα η διαχωριστική γραμμή ανάμεσα στους γεννημένους και στους κατασκευασμένους. Άνθρωποι και Ανδροειδή. Τα ανδροειδή είναι εξελιγμένοι κατασκευασμένοι άνθρωποι που τους λείπει ως ενα σημείο το πλεονέκτημα της ενσυναίσθησης. Γι’αυτό το λόγο χρησιμοποιούνται ως σκλάβοι και έχουν προσδόκιμο ζωής τέσσερα έτη. Θέτονται επίσης λεπτομέρειες σχετικά με φιλοσοφίες και θρησκείες του μέλλοντος και εμμονές σχετικά με τα ζώα. Ο κάτοχος ηλεκτρικού ζώου είναι υποδεέστερος κοινωνικά σε σχέση με άλλους που επένδυσαν περιουσίες και έχουν υπό την κατοχή τους αληθινά ζώα. Ο πλανήτης γη μετά τον τελευταίο πυρηνικό πόλεμο είναι μια ζοφερή κόλαση. Τα ζωικά είδη έχουν εξαφανιστεί, σχεδόν όλα τα ζώα έχουν αφανιστεί, εξού και το σύμβολο καταξίωσης σύμφωνα με το κατοικίδιο σου. Το μυαλό και το σώμα των ανθρώπων εκφυλίζεται απο τα πυρηνικά απόβλητα και η μετακίνηση σε άλλον πλανήτη δεν είναι επιλογή ζωής μα επιβίωσης για όσους έχουν πνευματική ενάργεια και οξύνοια για να το κάνουν. Οι υπόλοιποι, οι εκφυλισμένοι, μεταλλαγμένοι, ψυχικά ασθενείς, «Κοκορόμυαλοι»και κάποιοι ρομαντικοί με την τραγωδία της κόλασης παραμένουν στη γη. Ζούνε σε περιοχές που καθημερινά σκεπάζονται απο σκόνη και βροχή ραδιενέργειας, δεν υπάρχει τροφή, επικρατεί ερημιά και εγκατάλειψη και μαυρίλα αποσάθρωσης στα πάντα. Παρόλα αυτά το πρόβλημα έγκειται στο γεγονός πως τα ανδροειδή που κατασκευάζονται απο τεράστιες επιχειρήσεις εκατομμυρίων που εδρεύουν στη γη στέλνονται στον Άρη ως δώρο για τους νέους αποίκους. Τα πολύ εξελιγμένα πλέον ανδροειδή δεν διαφέρουν σε τίποτα απο τους ανθρώπους εκτός απο τη συναισθηματική νοημοσύνη. Κάπου εδώ αρχίζει η ασυνέπεια μέσα και πέρα απο την πεζογραφία ακόμα κι αν πρόκειται για επιστημονική φαντασία. Δεν γίνεται να πλασάρεις εύκολες λύσεις επειδή απλώς δεν εξηγούνται. Και επειδή οι άνθρωποι φοβούνται την εξέλιξη των ανδροειδών που τείνουν να είναι πανομοιότυπα δικά τους σαν απο διαφορετικές φυλές ή εθνικότητες, υπάρχει η αστυνομία που εξολοθρεύει τα ανθρώπινα ρομπότ χωρίς καμία ενσυναίσθηση επειδή αυτά δεν έχουν ενσυναίσθηση. ...Ταυτόχρονα το να σκοτώσεις μια αράχνη που επίσης δεν έχει συναισθηματική νοημοσύνη θεωρείται μεγάλη παρανομία και ιεροσυλία. Μισούν τα ανθρωποειδή που ξεφεύγουν απο τον Άρη και φτάνουν στη γη να ανακατευτούν με τους ανθρώπους και δε θέλουν άλλο απο το να αντιμετωπίζονται οπως και οι κανονικοί γήινοι. Η βασική διαφορά είναι η συμπάθεια, η συμπόνοια που έχουν μόνο οι άνθρωποι και έχει δημιουργηθεί μια ολόκληρη θρησκεία γύρω απο αυτήν. Είναι το λογικό και ηθικό δίδαγμα που υπερέχει. Κάθε μορφή ζωής προϋποθέτει σεβασμό και μέγιστη αρετή. Δεν σκοτώνουμε ούτε κατσαρίδα επειδή έχουμε συμπόνοια μα εξολοθρεύουμε άλλα πλάσματα για τον ίδιο λόγο. Τέλος, αφού η γη είναι μια πλανητική σαβούρα γιατί τα ανδροειδή δραπετεύουν απο τον Άρη και έρχονται στη γη που κινδυνεύει η ζωή τους; Οι τεράστιες επιχειρήσεις κατασκευής ανθρωποειδών που στέλνονται σε άλλους πλανήτες γιατί κατοικοεδρεύουν στη γη; Μέσα σε όλη τη ζοφερή θανατερή και πνιγηρή ατμόσφαιρα που επιβιώνουν οι κάτοικοι της γης υπάρχει τοσο αναπτυγμένος πολιτισμός ώστε να υπάρχουν θέατρα και μέγαρα μουσικής; (Ένα ανδροειδές δολοφονήθηκε επειδή τραγουδούσε υπέροχα στην όπερα ανάμεσα σε ανθρώπους). Μέσα σε μια φωλιά ανθρωποειδών που έχει την βάση της στη γη πως εξηγείται η βασική παρουσία και η καίρια θέση ενός ανθρώπου; Που αποσκοπεί; Πως εξηγείται; Και γιατί δημιουργεί πραξικόπημα ; Σύμφωνοι, η επιστημονική φαντασία γεννήθηκε για να δημιουργεί ερωτήματα, όχι όμως ασυνέπειες, ανοησίες και έλλειψη συναισθημάτων. Πόσο μάλλον σε ένα βιβλίο που πρεσβεύει την ανθρωπιά και το συναίσθημα. Βασικά η διαφορά θα μπορούσε να είναι όπως σε ένα μουσικό κομμάτι. Ξεκινάει με ακουστική κιθάρα και συνεχίζει με ηλεκτρική. Τότε η μελωδία γίνεται πιο έντονη και η αίσθηση πιο επιθετική και δυνατή απο πριν με την ατμοσφαιρική και ήσυχη μουσική της ακουστικής κιθάρας. Το ανθρωποειδές ειναι το ισοδύναμο ολοκλήρου του μουσικού κομματιού που παίζει το ακουστικό. Αξιολογώ με τρία αστεράκια διότι συμπάθησα και ένιωσα τον κοκορόμυαλο οδηγό ασθενοφόρου σε μια εταιρεία επισκευής ηλεκτρικών ζώων. Αυτός ήταν ότι πιο γλυκό σεμνό και σεβαστό δημιουργήθηκε ως αντιήρωας. Καθώς επίσης και για την εμμονή του συγγραφέα με τα ζώα. Το βιβλίο έχει αρκετές ενδιαφέρουσες ιδέες για την κατηγορία που ανήκει και κατατάσσεται στα κλασικά του είδους. Μα λυπάμαι για μένα ήταν λογοτεχνικά απογοητευτικές. Καλή ανάγνωση. Πολλούς ασπασμούς.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Apatt

    Probably my favourite Philip K. Dick book, Goodreads' favourite too by the look of it. As you are probably aware the classic sci-fi movie Blade Runner is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Great as the movie is when I first saw it I was very disappointed as it bears very little resemblance to this book. The filmmakers jettisoned most of what makes this book so special and focused only on the android hunting aspect though at least it does explore the moral issues involved. The movie’s Probably my favourite Philip K. Dick book, Goodreads' favourite too by the look of it. As you are probably aware the classic sci-fi movie Blade Runner is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Great as the movie is when I first saw it I was very disappointed as it bears very little resemblance to this book. The filmmakers jettisoned most of what makes this book so special and focused only on the android hunting aspect though at least it does explore the moral issues involved. The movie’s visuals are certainly stunning, and the world of Blade Runner is beautifully designed. However, it not the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in a dystopian Earth much dilapidated after “World War Terminus”, most of the populace have already emigrated to the colony on Mars. This is not a post-apocalyptic setting, however, as government, the police, and businesses are still functioning though everything seems to be quite shabby. Radioactive dust has killed off most of the animals and the dust is still everywhere, not to mention the masses of “kipple”, basically rubbish that seem to grow by itself. This is the cover of my old copy of this book. Love it! This coveting of animals is one very crucial aspect of the book not used in the film adaptation. Ownership of real animals (as opposed to electric ones) is a status symbol, much more so than fancy cars which nobody seems to be interested in. The protagonist Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department whose job is to hunt down and exterminate androids that escaped their life of servitude on Mars to live among humans on Earth in the guise of humans. His dream is to own a large real animal, but at his salary, he has to settle for the eponymous electric sheep. The questionable morality of hunting down androids is nicely explored here. They are machines but they are also living, thinking beings, they have souls, or in a more secular term, sentience. Human life on Earth is generally miserable but they do have some interesting ways of alleviating their mood. The most direct way is by the “Penfield mood organ” with a dial for adjusting moods to numerous settings, then there is the “empathy box” that let you live the life of a Messiah while you are plugged in; entertainment on TV is basically just one show “Buster Friendly and his Friendly Friends” somehow broadcasting live 24/7. This is one of the most well written Philip K. Dick books, Dick’s writing style is often criticised as poor or clunky, and his dialogue is often said to be stilted. I think his critics are missing the charms of his minimalist prose style which is an ideal vehicle for the bizarre stories he had to tell. His admittedly stilted dialogue seems to be very fitting for the universe his often eccentric characters occupy. Also, now and then he suddenly slips in the odd poignant passages like “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.”. He was quite capable of writing elegant prose when it suited him. However, the stories and the ideas were more important to him. A cyberpunk-ish cover Some of the dialogue is also oddly hilarious: “I can't stand TV before breakfast.” “Dial 888,” Rick said as the set warmed. “The desire to watch TV, no matter what's on it.” “I don't feel like dialing anything at all now,” Iran said. “Then dial 3,” he said. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has some of Dick’s best characterization. The characters are more vivid than most of his other books. Deckard and the “chickenhead” (brain damaged) J.R. Isidore are particularly believable and sympathetic. The androids are generally rather callous but quite pitiful all the same. There are also moments where reality seems to wobble wonderfully in the patented PKD style but this time without the aid of any hallucinogen. I can not praise this book enough, it really is one of the all-time greats. It is a pity that Hollywood is now planning to make Blade Runner 2 instead of making - for the first time - a faithful adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Note: Interestingly Dick foresaw an android model called "Nexus 6", but I bet he did not imagine they would look like this. Graphic novel cover

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It's hard to know where to start with this book. On the one hand, I want to say it was amazing and highly original and extremely thought-provoking. On the other I want to say it was often confused, contradictory and obscure. Well, I guess I just did :) After wars and then radioactive dust obliterated much of the planet, the majority of the human population fled to colonies on Mars and elsewhere, taking their own personal android servant. Some stayed behind, either because they had been contaminat It's hard to know where to start with this book. On the one hand, I want to say it was amazing and highly original and extremely thought-provoking. On the other I want to say it was often confused, contradictory and obscure. Well, I guess I just did :) After wars and then radioactive dust obliterated much of the planet, the majority of the human population fled to colonies on Mars and elsewhere, taking their own personal android servant. Some stayed behind, either because they had been contaminated by the dust or for whatever personal reason they have. With apartment buildings mostly empty and rubbish and dust everywhere, it's a bleak existence (and not actually terribly realistic - with hardly any vegetation left there shouldn't be any breathable air at all), yet life for the androids in the colonies must be worse if some are escaping and trying to have "normal" lives on Earth. These androids have to be hunted down and "retired". Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department, earning $1000 per andy. One of the other bounty hunters, Dave, retired two andys of a group of eight but was shot by the third, Roy Baty. Now Deckard has taken over the assignment and must track down and retire the remaining six, who are all masquerading as humans. The one test they have to distinguish these realistic machines is the Voight-Kampff test, an empathy test - because the one difference between humans and androids, they believe, is that the andys are incapable of feeling empathy. When it was first published in 1968, it was set in 1991. Later editions changed that to 2021 - this edition is set in 2021. I expect they'll probably change it again in a few years. It's interesting that Dick had such little faith in us - that we would ruin the planet so quickly and absolutely - and such enormous faith - that we would be advanced enough, technologically, to escape it. Having given it such a short time frame, and no doubt excited by the advent of space exploration and television in the 60s, I get the impression Dick, and everyone else, had high expectations of human achievement. The book is very different from the movie, so I'm not going to bring up Blade Runner except to say that if you've watched it, it won't have spoiled the book for you. Although it did lead me to expect some kind of revelation or focus on the possibility of Deckard being an android, which isn't the case. He's not an andy. The possibility looms because of the callous indifference the bounty hunters have towards the androids, their ability not to be taken in by their human appearance and to kill them. Ironically, Deckard suffers from too much empathy and starts feeling sorry for the andys. Briefly. The post-apocalyptic aspects of this story interest me perhaps the most, but they're not all that satisfying. It's a horrible, horrible world, highly polluted and littered. There's a lot here that's unanswered, and doesn't always make sense. That closed-in feel of the movie is here - it has such a narrow geographical scope, with little world-building structure to hold it up. Who is running things? Some kind of government, but not the same kind as now. Why are abandoned suburbs still getting electricity and clean water? Where does the food come from if nothing can be grown? What kind of fuel do they use? How does the Mood Organ work and why do they need it? (perhaps to counter the bleakness.) There's mention of the Soviet Union and the UN, but nothing about any other country, giving the feeling that the United States is a lone land floating in a big empty sea with nothing to anchor it. And what of Mercer? The empathy box? Grip the handles and you are drawn into a shared existence with everyone else who's gripping the handles of the box at the same time, bodily transported (it feels like) to a desolate desert where you climb along with old man Mercer up a hill, toiling and being hit by rocks which make you bleed in real life, only to suffer greater torment at the top and be sent to the tomb world to start again. Sounds like a complicated computer game but it's more like a religion. Empathy is the only thing that separates humans from androids, and the only way the humans left on Earth can dispel the utter lonliness of their existences. There are no children here. There were too many contradictions here for my liking. When Rick tests Rachael Rosen and finds out she's a Nexus-6 android, he asks her "father" if she knows and he says "no", and it's evident from Rachael's reaction that she doesn't. But then later she's sent to seduce Rick (not a difficult task) to help the escaped Nexus-6 andys escape, again, or make it hard for him to retire them, especially Pris who looks the same as Rachael - and Rachael, when he realises and confronts her, tells him she's done it before, with other bounty hunters, and shares her knowledge and philosophy about being an andy. Which means that she's known she was an android all along, and that, what, she cares what happens to the others? But they're incapable of caring, that's the whole point. And she feels enough to kill Deckard's goat, because he loves it more than his own wife, and certainly more than her. That's vindictive. That's jealousy. That's feeling. There are other things that bugged me, obscure things mostly, and I don't have the time or energy to read it over and over again until I got it. If it's possible to get. I still think it's an amazing book, and raises a lot of questions about what it means to be human and so on. It's also a quick read and, set in one single day and night, quite fast-paced. It's structured well, and, for a science fiction book, relatively easy to read. There are some very surreal scenes, like when Mercer "manifests", and some tense ones - the worse scene in the entire book, I found, was when Pris was cutting the legs off the spider. There's not a whole lot of violence and the ending wraps up quickly - there's no drawn-out fight scene, the andys aren't very confrontational or aggressive, unlike in the movie. They have superior intelligence but weren't designed to be killing machines. Which begs the question: why do they need to be retired? They only have four years of life anyway, because their cells can't regenerate, and they just want to live their own lives. And if this is unacceptable then why create them that way? It doesn't make sense. I can understand the human need to kill any rogue andys, and the need to feel superior over another being etc., but why make them so realistic? And surely the need these rogue andys have to escape their servitude is a clear indication that they have dreams and aspirations like humans do, and therefore some amount of feeling? "Do androids dream of electric sheep?" is a very good title, and meant literally. The humans aren't aspiring to make the world a better place or have children or anything like that, only to make enough money to buy an animal, or at the very least, an electric one, like Deckard's electric sheep. If he were an android, would he still have that desire? The humans measure empathy by how much they feel towards animals - the questions in the test measure reactions to bear-skin rugs and mounted deer's heads and meat for food. Yet despite this "empathy" they do nothing about making the few surviving animals' situations better; the empathy equates more to a possessiveness than to a genuine concern for the animal as another living being. I'm just talking out my cluttered thoughts here, sorry to ramble on. You can go round and round with this book and never arrive at a satisfactory conclusion, but it's still worth the ride (if I were to use a cheesy line, which I just did, and won't change, because this has exhausted me and I'm falling back on cliches just to wrap it up).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    Treasure of the Rubbermaids 20: Failing the Voight-Kampff Test The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths. In the spirit of Phillip K. Dick‘s questioning of reality and identity, it’s fitting that there are two versions of this story. On Treasure of the Rubbermaids 20: Failing the Voight-Kampff Test The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths. In the spirit of Phillip K. Dick‘s questioning of reality and identity, it’s fitting that there are two versions of this story. One is the novel he wrote in which a police bounty hunter tracks down and destroys androids while he tries to earn enough money to buy a real animal to snap his wife out of a depression. The other is a film version in which a disillusioned ‘blade runner’ is forced to track down and kill dangerous replicants despite his growing sympathy for them. I also like to think that PKD would probably get a laugh because of the approximately one thousand different director’s cuts of the movie available to further confuse us as to which is the ‘real’ story. The world is pretty much a wasteland after a nuclear war, and the smart people are getting off the planet. Human-like androids have been developed to help with colonizing other worlds, but they have a habit of returning to Earth illegally and trying to hide. Police bounty hunters use an empathy test to identify them and then kill them on the spot. Rick Deckard is called in after the senior bounty hunter was nearly killed while hunting a group of a new type of android. Deckard is anxious for the big payday that he’d get because he’s embarrassed at not being able to afford a new animal to replace the fake sheep he bought after his real one died. He hopes that being able to get a real animal again will snap his wife out of the depression she’s in that even their mood organ device can’t fix. If you’re hoping for futuristic tech in this, you’re going to be disappointed. PKD’s strength wasn’t in envisioning what the future would look like, and the idea that Deckard’s electric sheep has actual audio tape in it to simulate noises seems laughable now. Flying cars and laser tubes seem like the kind of sci-fi you’d get from any pulp writer of the era. But that wasn’t the point, and PKD’s tech was always just an excuse to get at the more interesting issues of questioning reality and identity. In this one, the question is what it means to be human, and the hunt for the androids is used to explore the idea of empathy. It’s also a nice touch that with most of the animals killed by the nuclear fall-out, that owning a real one is the ultimate status symbol and any type of mistreatment is a shocking taboo. Deckard longs for an animal to care for while killing things with human faces. Are they too deserving of sympathy or is their humanity a mask over an overwhelming desire for self-preservation that essentially makes them all sociopaths? That’s the interesting stuff in this book. Even though the Blade Runner movies adopts the basic story as well as several other elements, it’s not really a faithful adaptation of the book. It’s a sci-fi classic that became the template for the look of dystopian futures in film, but while the two share DNA, they feel like different beings in a lot of ways. (I think that Richard Linklater’s Rotoscoped verson of A Scanner Darkly is probably the best adaption of PKD’s work in capturing it’s tone and theme.)

  13. 3 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    390. Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1), Philip K. Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (retitled Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in some later printings) is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth's life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning 390. Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1), Philip K. Dick Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (retitled Blade Runner: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in some later printings) is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, first published in 1968. The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth's life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning an animal is now a sign of status and empathy, an attitude encouraged towards animals. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner, and many elements and themes from it were used in its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز شانزدهم ماه اکتبر سال 1988 میلادی عنوان: آیا آدم مصنوعی‌ها خواب گوسفند برقی می‌بینند؟ - روشنگران عنوان: آیا آدم مصنوعی‌ها خواب گوسفند برقی می‌بینند؟ نویسنده: فلیپ کی. دیک؛ مترجم: محمدرضا باطنی؛ تهران، روشنگران، 1385؛ در 300 ص؛ شابک: 9648564566؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20 م دغدغه‌ ی هویت، برای انسان علم‌ زده و در جامعه‌ ی مدرن. هر چند فضای داستان، دنیای فرامدرن آینده است، اما دغدغه‌ ی بحران هویت انسان امروز، در جهان فاقد عشق، هم‌دلی، و آغشته به خشونت، و تهی از بیشتر جلوه‌ هایی که انسان سده پیش، به آن می‌بالید، دستمایه‌ ی اصلی نویسنده است. آنجا که انسان به انسان بودن خود نیز شک می‌کند. ا. شربیانی

  14. 3 out of 5

    Carol

    HA! What a surprise!If you've seen the 1982 Blade Runner movie, you already know Deckard is a bounty hunter....works for law enforcement....and has a license to kill rogue androids aka replicants.DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP was the inspiration for the old movie as well as Blade Runner 2049 in theatre's now and is the same in some respects, but without the intensity and violence. It kind of has a strange calmness to it....almost like you've taken a mood enhancer, and there's a whole other HA! What a surprise!If you've seen the 1982 Blade Runner movie, you already know Deckard is a bounty hunter....works for law enforcement....and has a license to kill rogue androids aka replicants.DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP was the inspiration for the old movie as well as Blade Runner 2049 in theatre's now and is the same in some respects, but without the intensity and violence. It kind of has a strange calmness to it....almost like you've taken a mood enhancer, and there's a whole other plot going on. Very bizarre.I don't want to be a "chicken-head" and give anything away so I'll just say....times are bleak, desperate and totally weird after W.W.T. (Word War Terminus) with people trying to survive on a contaminated earth....animals are a rare commodity....and most....those that have passed the test have defected to Mars.Definitely MORE thought provoking than the movie....Definitely NOT the action-packed thriller with brutal fights between bounty hunter and a highly-intelligent & dangerous species of replicant. "You kill only the killers."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Very interesting story on which the epic film Blade Runner was based. The ideas are certainly original and I'd imagine that Ghost in the Shell was at least partially inspired by the ideas. I just felt the character development was rather shallow and the action somewhat predictable even if I was impatient to push on to see what would happen next. Well, I'll try a few more PKD stories, but perhaps it just isn't my style - sort of inventive like Isaac Asimov but trying to be trashy like Elmore Leon Very interesting story on which the epic film Blade Runner was based. The ideas are certainly original and I'd imagine that Ghost in the Shell was at least partially inspired by the ideas. I just felt the character development was rather shallow and the action somewhat predictable even if I was impatient to push on to see what would happen next. Well, I'll try a few more PKD stories, but perhaps it just isn't my style - sort of inventive like Isaac Asimov but trying to be trashy like Elmore Leonard, but not really surpassing either. But then, maybe his other books will be more to my liking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Catriona (LittleBookOwl)

    Maybe a 2.5? I don't know... Honestly, I don't really know how I feel about this book at all. All I know is that I was underwhelmed. I think it just wasn't the right time for me to read this. Maybe in a few years I'll give it another go, because I liked the concept.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Rick Deckard, is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco police, the year 2021 ( January 3rd). His mission is to "retire" six androids, who fled bleak Mars and illegally came to Earth. World War Terminus has depopulated our world, radioactive fallout called "dust", continues coming down and slowly killing the survivors, who have moved to cities. Making many of the people still living, chickenheads, excuse me, special. Animals are virtually extinct, electronic duplicates are in great demand, real o Rick Deckard, is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco police, the year 2021 ( January 3rd). His mission is to "retire" six androids, who fled bleak Mars and illegally came to Earth. World War Terminus has depopulated our world, radioactive fallout called "dust", continues coming down and slowly killing the survivors, who have moved to cities. Making many of the people still living, chickenheads, excuse me, special. Animals are virtually extinct, electronic duplicates are in great demand, real ones cost a fortune to buy, but humans need their pets ... Rick has a phony sheep, his mental health requires him to get the real article, his job can make that happen. The U.N. encourages everyone to migrate to the Red Planet, giving a free robot slave for all who do (they're built there), on arrival. But Mars is uninhabitable, stark, lonely, a horrible hell hole, a frontier without any charm or romance, nothing to recommend , settlers hate the place, feel like prisoners, yet the government keeps that a state secret. But the hopeful Earthlings, must have a future... Mr. Deckard , has not a very understanding wife and unfriendly too , Iran, calls him inaccurately, a cop, doesn't like her husband's job, the pay is very lucrative though, he tells her. She spends most of her free time, using the Empathy Box ( the Mood Machines, keep people mostly contended), just turn the two handles and you fuse with Wilbur Mercer and his new religion of Mercerism, "Kill only the Killers ". A kindly old man, forever climbing a hill, being struck down with rocks by unseen murderers. You can be hit too, when you take the trip and experience it yourselves, feel like you are really there... Mercerism has opponents, led by Buster Friendly, calls the religion a fraud, the enormously popular television host, in the only channel not run by the government, how he works hour after hour tirelessly, broadcasting his talk show, through the many hours of the day, and on radio also, is a mystery... Rick has taken over the mission to eliminate the "andys'", because his predecessor Dave Holden, was shot and almost terminated by the new model of robots, Nexus-6, brain units, almost as smart as genuine people. The original 8, are down to just 6, thanks to Holden, who is still in the hospital. Deckard's boss Inspector Bryant, is not sure of the new man, wants him to do the almost impossible, destroy all of them in one day. But first flying to Seattle and meeting the makers of these humanoids, Eldon and his niece Rachael Rosen, in the Rosen Association building, needing their help and trying the Voigt- Kampff machine, to detect the human looking andys. Later the dazed, exhausted, remorseful bounty hunter, thinks of sleeping with a female android, what in reality is a human being ? Back on top of the roof of his crumbling apartment complex, lies his hovercar... up in the air , he floats above what's left of the sad town, the city is no more, garbage everywhere, kipple it's called now, the world has become a gigantic dump... flying towards his uncertain destiny... A thought- provoking science- fiction tale, with a message, that requires the reader, to find it themselves. A classic.

  18. 3 out of 5

    Andy

    I'm worried that most people will misunderstand the intelligence behind this book. I have met a few people who have said, "that book? I read that in high school." My response is "did you understand this book in high school?" Am I wrong in saying that first, one should read Kafka; second, one should understand how Kafka's fiction functions as a blend of anthropology, theology, and philosophy, among other things. Then, read Phillip K. Dick again, and notice the themes of paranoia, identity crisis, I'm worried that most people will misunderstand the intelligence behind this book. I have met a few people who have said, "that book? I read that in high school." My response is "did you understand this book in high school?" Am I wrong in saying that first, one should read Kafka; second, one should understand how Kafka's fiction functions as a blend of anthropology, theology, and philosophy, among other things. Then, read Phillip K. Dick again, and notice the themes of paranoia, identity crisis, and near-psychotic breakdown while doing one's business in "normal" society. With _Do Andriods Dream..._ consider that PK Dick is writing in 1968, and that his invention of scheduled moods and Mercerism (a kind of Sisyphisean religion and internet-religion) has more sociological commentary than most so-called literary fiction today. Le Guin is right: PK Dick is an American Borges. At least someone read this book after high school.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Brittany

    the k. in philip K. dick definitely stands for kicked ass. but not philip kick ass dick. i dont know what that means.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    I've been saying for years that this book is boring. But it's more than that, it's not excusable in the way that a purely boring book can be. Instead, it's a tremendous idea told badly. It seems that when Dick wrote this he didn't have a good grasp on translating his big ideas into an engrossing--or even active story. It's not that there's no movement in the story. Things happen, but even when they do, even in the throes of the final confrontation, when Deckard is retiring three andys in one aba I've been saying for years that this book is boring. But it's more than that, it's not excusable in the way that a purely boring book can be. Instead, it's a tremendous idea told badly. It seems that when Dick wrote this he didn't have a good grasp on translating his big ideas into an engrossing--or even active story. It's not that there's no movement in the story. Things happen, but even when they do, even in the throes of the final confrontation, when Deckard is retiring three andys in one abandoned apartment, nothing ever SEEMS to happen. Making the mundane exciting is one of those rare skills that good writers--if they're going to make it anywhere--must have full command over. Making the exciting mundane is a failing that returns in cause to Truman Capote's characteristically droll critique of On the Road: "That's not writing, that's typing." The amazing thing about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Philip K. Dick in general is how easily we can excuse his incessant typing for those moments when--as if by chance--writing catches up with him. There aren't many of those in this book, but occasionally, when the skin of the words breaks and some real pathos shows through, the hundred pages we've slogged through to get to this point don't matter. That's the glory of PKD's ideas, and why his work has become a well of cinematic creation, that when they work as they should they're masterful stories that explore much of the human condition. The drawback--and in some ways the tax we as readers must pay--is that when they don't work, it's like dragging through a swamp: resistant to forward progress, and distasteful in our mouths.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynda

    "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." Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction masterpiece by Philip K. Dick (PKD) that also served as the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. It was first published in 1968. The story is about Rick Deckard, an android killer. He works for the police in San Francisco, where the deadly radioactive dust from World War Terminus still covers the city "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." Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction masterpiece by Philip K. Dick (PKD) that also served as the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. It was first published in 1968. The story is about Rick Deckard, an android killer. He works for the police in San Francisco, where the deadly radioactive dust from World War Terminus still covers the city like a grey cloud, blocking out the sun. Nearly all the animals in the world have died, and most people have emigrated to Mars, where the government gives them androids to work as servants. But some androids escape and return, illegally, to earth. There are six escaped androids on Rick's list. He must search for them through the dusty, half-desrted city, use "Voight-Kampff" tests to identify them as non-human, then shoot them down with his laser gun. He earns $1000 for each killing. Perhaps, he thinks, he'll soon be able to buy a real living animal with his earnings, instead of the electric sheep he owns now. But these are Nexus-6 androids. They breathe, move, look, sound like humans; they have ten million electrical connections in their brains and think faster than many people. They're intelligent, dangerous, and hard to kill. Rick Deckard will earn every cent of his $6,000. If he lives. This is my first introduction to PKD, and it won't be my last. PKD is an awesome writer. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is about a post-apocalyptic world seeking resurrection through the rediscovery of empathy. But who is more empathetic - humans or androids? What is the dividing line? The book constantly explores how far human ideas of life, death, religion and love could survive in a dark, uncaring world, and the need for people who are human to reinforce other people's humanness...to rebel against an inhuman or android society. The themes in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? compare in some ways with T S Eliot's "Waste Land" where sympathy and compassion are the measures of our existence; that really living involves making ourselves vulnerable, caring about those around us enough that we give them the power to hurt us. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Dick literalized this connection between emotional connectedness and being human by inventing a protagonist who tests humanness through empathy. There was sadness in this book. One element of the story that was portrayed in an eloquent and effective way was depression. Depression is something that is misunderstood, and can sometimes drive people to take drastic and often tragic actions. This quote, in particular, really hit me: it is Decker speaking to his wife. “Maybe it could be depression, like you get. I can understand now how you suffer when you’re depressed; I always thought you liked it and I thought you could have snapped yourself out any time, if not alone, then by means of the mood organ [device that can change emotions with the dial of a number]. But when you get that depressed you don’t care. Apathy, because you’ve lost a sense of worth.” It is a well known fact that PKD himself suffered from deep depression.... Philip Kindred Dick was born in Chicago in 1928, but lived most of his life in California. From 1952 to his death in 1982, he published 36 novels and 5 collections of short stories, and his science-fiction writing is still hugely popular. He had a painful emotional life, starting with the death of his twin sister 41 days after birth, and continuing through several bad marriages, to a long period of drug addiction. A turning-point came in Canada in 1972. He tried to kill himself, but stopped in time, and then began working with teenagers to help them give up drugs. This eventually brought him out of his depression. Much of PKD's personal experience appears in his writing. As he said, "I am, by profession, a science fiction writer. I deal in fantasy. My life is fantasy." If you're someone who just wants to read a great sci-fi book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is recommended. It provides a starting point for new readers to see where PKD’s genius lies. Although it may be his most commercial work, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? captures the magic of this intense author, with profound consequences. I am now a true Dickhead! I want more of PKD. And for all GR readers out there, a philosophical thought...maybe literature is our Voight-Kampff test, and it helps us to be more human.

  22. 3 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    I'd watched Blade Runner several times, but hadn't read Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The book and movie don't entirely match up, but they are both thought-provoking and entertaining in their own right. Fans of the film will notice serious discrepancies in the book as I did (and vice versa). Still, they somehow compliment each other. That's not a common response when I read a book after watching a film, or more commonly watching a film after reading the book. Before readi I'd watched Blade Runner several times, but hadn't read Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. The book and movie don't entirely match up, but they are both thought-provoking and entertaining in their own right. Fans of the film will notice serious discrepancies in the book as I did (and vice versa). Still, they somehow compliment each other. That's not a common response when I read a book after watching a film, or more commonly watching a film after reading the book. Before reading the book, I hadn't understood the title (a significant plot-line in the book which isn't explicitly explored in the movie). So I guess that's my message for fans of the movie who are wary of reading the book which they've been told is different than the movie; they are both solid and neither experience detracts from the other. In fact, I'm now a fan of both the novel and the movie!

  23. 3 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    “Life which we can no longer distinguish; life carefully buried up to its forehead in the carcass of a dead world.” ― Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Top shelf Philip K Dick exploring a tangled web of heavy themes like: what it means to be human, the nature and limits of empathy, love, religion, God, entropy, animals, decay. I had mistakenly put off this novel because HELL I already saw the movie. How can you improve upon THAT movie? Well, the book is better. A cliché, certai “Life which we can no longer distinguish; life carefully buried up to its forehead in the carcass of a dead world.” ― Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Top shelf Philip K Dick exploring a tangled web of heavy themes like: what it means to be human, the nature and limits of empathy, love, religion, God, entropy, animals, decay. I had mistakenly put off this novel because HELL I already saw the movie. How can you improve upon THAT movie? Well, the book is better. A cliché, certainly I know, but it is spot on with this book. The movie captures a piece of the PKD mad genius, but it is a 2D representation of a 3D Dick. IT is an android, an artificial sheep of a movie that moves, bellows and behaves perfectly but doesn't have the spark the sizzle or the depth of the novel and IT was a HELLUVA good movie. Anyway, I'm caught up in a PHDickathon and just ordered a bunch more of his novels off EBay, so I should at least have room to softly land my tattered soul after this amazing novel. Next up? 'Ubik' or 'a Scanner Darkly'.

  24. 3 out of 5

    Don Rea

    Since "Blade Runner" has been one of my favorite movies my entire adult life, it's odd I never read this until now. I expected it to be pretty different from the film, but still, it's not like I don't read SF by the metric ton anyway. I think I just never happened across a copy until recently. If you've read a lot of SF from the 60s and 70s, you'd know this was written in the late 60s by the end of the first chapter. It has the smell of that period all over it - everyone "official" in any way has Since "Blade Runner" has been one of my favorite movies my entire adult life, it's odd I never read this until now. I expected it to be pretty different from the film, but still, it's not like I don't read SF by the metric ton anyway. I think I just never happened across a copy until recently. If you've read a lot of SF from the 60s and 70s, you'd know this was written in the late 60s by the end of the first chapter. It has the smell of that period all over it - everyone "official" in any way has two or three layers of hidden agenda and an impressive repertoire of manipulation technique, there's a whole religious/mystical dimension to the story that's never really explored, and of course everyone's speech includes invented slang (though the film's "skin jobs" has a great deal more reverberance than Dick's more believable but less colorful "andys"). And the concerns of the story are also very much of that time. Rick Deckard, the protagonist, is a bounty hunter, a de facto freelance killer of rogue androids who is de jure attached to what passes for a police department in a San Francisco depopulated by nuclear war and off-planet emigration. He inherits an assignment to "retire" a group of androids who have illegally returned to Earth from the colonies. This group were made with a new type of brain unit that makes them almost indistinguishable from born humans, except for a lack of empathy. In one view, the whole book is about empathy, what it is, whether anyone actually has it, and how it is experienced and expressed. Deckard experiences a serious crisis of conscience when he begins to question his own ability to empathize, and then his ability to avoid empathizing with the andys he must kill. That leads to his over-empathizing with, and confusing himself with, Wilbur Mercer, the possibly invented central figure of Mercerism, a quasi religion that seems to be about empathy and nothing else. Ah, the age of LSD and MDA! Despite its obvious datedness, many of the questions considered are still interesting (and relevant). PKD handles them with genuine concern though he delivers little satisfaction, having no answers himself.

  25. 3 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    - You’re surely not suggesting that I could be an android? - Well, let’s look at the evidence. You have no empathy whatsoever…. - What? Where is your evidence for this outrageous statement? - Protest all you like, but you can ask anybody. You’re notorious. You’re an empathy free zone. - Wait, I think it’s clear what’s happening here. You are in fact the android, and you have had a false memory implanted into you to make you think you are human. - Not so, you have had a false memory planted in you to - You’re surely not suggesting that I could be an android? - Well, let’s look at the evidence. You have no empathy whatsoever…. - What? Where is your evidence for this outrageous statement? - Protest all you like, but you can ask anybody. You’re notorious. You’re an empathy free zone. - Wait, I think it’s clear what’s happening here. You are in fact the android, and you have had a false memory implanted into you to make you think you are human. - Not so, you have had a false memory planted in you to make you think that I have had a false memory planted in me. - Oh, this could go on all day. Let’s bring this to a swift conclusion. I will test you with the well known Glurk-Flachsborker android test. - I have no knowledge of that test. As you well know, the standard android test is the Blunt-Lampedrechananian test. - You have just made that up. To expose your ridiculous lie, I will test your imaginary test with my test test. This is the well known Klunt-Felchclamp test. Please allow me to test your test immediately. - This Klunt-Felchclamp nonsense is a mere delaying ruse. As anyone knows the only test to test a test is- - I have an ostrich. - I have a squirrel. So ner ner. - My ostrich knows you are an android. It told me. - You can stick your ostrich up your arse. - Technically I could not but technically you could stick your squirrel up your arse. Which you should now do. - Your ostrich is an android. - Yeah well you’re an android, your squirrel is an android and your mum and your dad were both big fat androids and your sister was the biggest android in town. - Android. - Androidyoidyoidy. - Andyandyandy! Andyandyandy!

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    “The electric things have their lives, too.” Philip K. Dick has a rep for crazy. The word is as many as 14 of his books were accomplished with the use of psychedelics, consistent with the Harvard LSD experiments in which Aldous Huxley was engaged and reported about in The Doors of Perception. Androids is darkly imaginative, a strange and sometimes disrorienting dystopian novel, but it does not seem particularly acid-soaked (as others seem to be). Rick Deckard is an android bounty hunter for the go “The electric things have their lives, too.” Philip K. Dick has a rep for crazy. The word is as many as 14 of his books were accomplished with the use of psychedelics, consistent with the Harvard LSD experiments in which Aldous Huxley was engaged and reported about in The Doors of Perception. Androids is darkly imaginative, a strange and sometimes disrorienting dystopian novel, but it does not seem particularly acid-soaked (as others seem to be). Rick Deckard is an android bounty hunter for the government, and not initially much reflective about that: Androids, made to be slaves for those who have left Earth for Mars because of the nuclear holocaust, are being made smarter and some of them have revolted, killing some humans, and have returned to Earth. Deckard, as a member of the San Francisco Police Department “retires” some of them for a bonus. How does he find out they are androids? He tests them for empathy with some elaborate equipment. With this bonus he saves money to buy an actual, organic animal, though they are expensive, since most humans and animals are now dead. In lieu of an actual electric one, Deckard and his wife Iran own an electric sheep. The real focus of Androids is empathy. At first, it seems clear-cut, but not too much consideration will take you to the fact that many humans seem to lack empathy; and with the development of androids, it seems many of them have it, or something like it. Or love, which becomes a related focus of the book. Can humans fall in love with androids? Deckard and Iran are struggling in their relationship; Deckard seems to have trouble killing attractive and talented female androids, and one in particular. Ethical and epistemological issues abound. So, a dystopian romance? The ending is strange, and strangely powerful, and worth my thinking through, again, but I liked rereading it (this time with a class), and seeing Blade Runner with them. I think for sci fi fans this is a must read. Interesting dimensions of the book: *Mood organs for adjusting psychological states *Mercerism as a world religion; you can “fuse” with Mercer *Kipple (accumulating “stuff” of consumerism, filling homes *Connections with Edvard Munch’s “Scream” *Connections with Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The trailer for the 1982 Blade Runner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eogpI...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Raeleen Lemay

    Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge #42: A Cyberpunk Book I don’t quite have the words to sum up this book at the moment. I will attempt to later... maybe.

  28. 4 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    This is the book Blade Runner was based on. Which is why I decided to read it. You might think this was a bad idea on my part. You might be right. This novel is a cult classic. You're supposed to love cult classics right? Right. Well guess what? Not only did I not love this book, it pretty much bored me to death, too. Yay. Don't get me wrong, this book is somewhat brilliant. Well, okay, if it had actually been brilliant I'd obviously have given it a 4-star rating. So let's just say this book is po This is the book Blade Runner was based on. Which is why I decided to read it. You might think this was a bad idea on my part. You might be right. This novel is a cult classic. You're supposed to love cult classics right? Right. Well guess what? Not only did I not love this book, it pretty much bored me to death, too. Yay. Don't get me wrong, this book is somewhat brilliant. Well, okay, if it had actually been brilliant I'd obviously have given it a 4-star rating. So let's just say this book is potentially brilliant. Some of the themes PKD develops here are very interesting and I loved some of his ideas: mood organs (view spoiler)[did you just read mood orgasms instead of mood organs? Why am I not surprised? (hide spoiler)] , empathy boxes, the electric menagerie... The problem is, at 244 pages, the book felt like it was 600 pages long and I struggled to finish it. Blade Runner is one of my favourite movies ever so you might think that this is a case of "the movie was better than the book," but it's not. Actually, Blade Runner has little to do with the book and, strangely enough, it doesn't do it justice. The movie is just too simplistic compared to the book. And yet both are complementary. And yet I still like the movie a lot more than I do the novel. Does this make any sense to you? Probably not. But there you have it. Blade Runner lacks the philosophical dimension of the book and its complexity. Mercer (a messiah-like character) is completely left out of the movie so you don't get the theological aspect of the novel either. Some of the themes developed by PKD are present but the movie never quite manages to convey the full extent of their significance. And yet Blade Runner is still one of my favourite movies ever. So cool. Ha. I think the main problem I have with these electric sheep is PKD's writing. I wouldn't know how to describe it but it just doesn't do anything for me. Too convoluted maybe? I don't know, but reading this novel was a complete drag. I've read a few of PKD's novels and still haven't come across one I actually enjoyed. I always love the idea behind the story but the actual book? Nope nope nope. Ugh. The other BIG problem I have with this book is the way women are portrayed. Bad move PKD, this is one of my major pet peeves. There are few female characters in the novel and let me tell you, PKD doesn't paint a very attractive picture of the female gender. Women here are weak, manipulative, plain crazy, cold-blooded, sometimes depicted as having a whore-like behaviours and generally flawed. Lovely. What also bothered me is the fact that there is only one actual woman in the story (and a pretty pathetic one at that). The other female characters are all androids. Then again I might be reading too much into it. And ultimately it doesn't matter: human or robot, all the women in this novel seem to be dysfunctional and beyond salvation. Very cool ← in case you were wondering, this is a slightly ironic statement. ►► Sorry Philip K. Dick, cult author or not, I'm done with you. ▧ Pre-review nonsense: Yes, I have done it again. I just gave yet another cult classic a 2-star rating. Time for a very big sigh. ►► Crappy review to come. ▧ Pre-read nonsense: ► Because I just found out this is the book Blade Runner was based on.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    “This is insane.” “This is necessary.” Another classic that has taken me much too long to get around to. And what a shame, since this is a really good book. “Is it true, Mr. Deckard, that you’re a bounty hunter?” I won’t go into a lot of detail regarding the differences between the Blade Runner film and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, although there are some fundamental deviations, especially as far as the conclusion of the story is concerned. I will say this: the novel explains the empathy test “This is insane.” “This is necessary.” Another classic that has taken me much too long to get around to. And what a shame, since this is a really good book. “Is it true, Mr. Deckard, that you’re a bounty hunter?” I won’t go into a lot of detail regarding the differences between the Blade Runner film and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, although there are some fundamental deviations, especially as far as the conclusion of the story is concerned. I will say this: the novel explains the empathy testing better, which is rather important in fully comprehending the gist of the plot. You understand, don’t you, that this could go wrong either way. The same ambiguity that drives the film is obviously present here. It’s a clever book, no doubt, and Philip K. Dick was an iconic author for good reason. He was also, by all appearances, a troubled soul, which might explain the streaks of genius that permeate his ideas. There are moments when things get a bit metaphysical (or bizarre), but it is par for the course when it comes to reading P. K. D. This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or another. It’s evident that themes of morality and consciousness resonated strongly with the author. What does it mean to be human? Or to be alive? P.K.D. does come up with an answer of sorts, but it’s the kind of book that is designed to make readers think for themselves. Because, ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated. Now if only the Electric Sheep had actually made it into the movie… 5 Stars Added to Favourites

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    "I thought as much, sir, when you mentioned rabbits. The thing about rabbits, sir, is that everybody has one. I'd like to see you step up to the goat-class where I feel you belong. Frankly you look more like a goat man to me." (p133) This is a book set in the far distant future of 2020. Colonies have been established on distant plants, regular space traffic is a matter of fact, as are robots that look identical to humans - even when violently blown apart, at the same time the idea that women migh "I thought as much, sir, when you mentioned rabbits. The thing about rabbits, sir, is that everybody has one. I'd like to see you step up to the goat-class where I feel you belong. Frankly you look more like a goat man to me." (p133) This is a book set in the far distant future of 2020. Colonies have been established on distant plants, regular space traffic is a matter of fact, as are robots that look identical to humans - even when violently blown apart, at the same time the idea that women might be anything other than receptionists, housewives or secretaries is unimaginable in this story. It was written in the 60s, just curiously in the 1960s rather than the 1760s. Perhaps as often in science-fiction, the writing is about the present and the rejection of what the author doesn't like about contemporary society. Which is why no doubt everybody has a hovercar, for surely there can have been nothing worse than the traffic jam in 60s west coast America. no one today remembered why the war had come about or who, if any one, had won (p11) Uh. Years ago I read a newspaper article, probably in The Independent, which for unrelated reasons has since shut down, about Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem. Dick was an admirer of Lem, until paranoia got to much for him imagining elaborate conspiracies possibly a by-product of his experimentation with chemical substances not endorsed by all professional or legal authorities. Anyway, originally, it was written, Dick wanted to write a great realist novel about American Working Class Life with capital letters. Science-fiction was just a way to fund that other never-written novel. Bits of that desire flash up in these stories, particularly here maybe in the desire for unaffordable status-symbols whichThorstein Veblen would have appreciated for their impracticality, the literal desolation of suburban life, and the the alienation beloved of all nineteenth century social thinkers. "Why?" Rick said. "Why should I do it? I'll quit my job and emigrate." The old man said, "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 the same time, every creature that 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." (p141) Alternatively these books come out of his pharmacological habits. For me in all the Philip K. Dick stories that I have read so far have featured reality being cracked apart. The principal character has lived inside an egg, and as the tale is told a massive spoon descends and cracks it violently open. You think you are alive - well you're actually your brain is on life support and technically you're dead, or your entire existence is false and the real world is in fact described in a political fable written by a man living high among the Rocky Mountains. In one of the film versions of this book the same thing happens (view spoiler)[you know, although I have forgotten vast swathes of the film, I feel that it is a better story than the book. The joy of Philip K. Dick books is the wild flora and fauna of his ideas, the problem with Philip K. Dick books is the wild flora and fauna of his ideas, which the film shows can benefit from vigorous gardening (hide spoiler)] , Dick doesn't embrace the potential for that here, although the possibility is present and would, I felt, have been a logical conclusion. At first reading it seemed impossible to imagine that the main character - Deckard - was human given the flatness of his tone, but then I remembered that I was reading a Philip K. Dick novel - there vividness is reserved for descriptions of clothing. Ubik and The Man in the High Castle both worked better for me because the illogic of the story ran with the grain of the narrative, here it cuts against it. (view spoiler)[How does Rachael Rosen know where Deckard lives? There is an entire Police station operating independently from the rest of the city police that has been infiltrated by robots - nobody notices and the discovery makes no impact on the rest of the stories characters despite the central narrative conceit that Deckard's boss is organising the hunting down of robots. Why do they bother hunting them down when they only have short lifespans? Having come to that why are they making robots indistinguishable from humans when they clearly don't like them and they only need them to do basic labour on the colony planets - isn't this a fundamentally crazy society since it isn't producing conscious combine harvesters instead? If the Robots are dangerous killers oughtn't bounty hunters have very short working lives since they have to administer these intricate obvious tests during which time they'd be vulnerable to assault?... You don't want to read this too sober, ideally the more adrift you are from the conscious mind the better it might work (hide spoiler)] . The reality of this book is tangibly different from our own. The faked prophet denounced by the robot TV presenter manifests himself twice with concrete effect, the cut sustained in imagination is physically visible stigmata like. There is no clear boundary between the fantasy world of the mind and the physical world of the body, matched perhaps by the interweaving of artificial sheep and spiders with people who care for them and experience deep empathy for their programmed experience.

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