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

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4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  217,791 Ratings  ·  7,081 Reviews
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 assignmet--find them and then..."retire" them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn't want to be found!
Paperback, 256 pages
Published May 28th 1996 by Del Rey / Ballantine Books (first published 1968)
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S.W. Gordon Come on, people! It was a metaphor. Rachel "got his goat." Get it? She acted like a "jealous" mistress who was spurned by her lover and sought revenge…moreCome on, people! It was a metaphor. Rachel "got his goat." Get it? She acted like a "jealous" mistress who was spurned by her lover and sought revenge by killing the thing she perceived that he loved most. This was the equivalent of a jilted ex-girlfriend slashing the tires and keying her old boyfriend's prized vehicle. Androids don't have empathy for other androids and are inherently selfish, therefore I don't think she was particularly upset by the retiring of her friends. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned---even an android woman.(less)
Chris Chang From wiki: "The main Earth religion is Mercerism, in which Empathy Boxes link simultaneous users into a collective consciousness based on the…moreFrom wiki: "The main Earth religion is Mercerism, in which Empathy Boxes link simultaneous users into a collective consciousness based on the suffering of Wilbur Mercer, a man who takes an endless walk up a mountain while stones are thrown at him, the pain of which the users share."

I would say the empathy box is some kind of neural network predicted to be existent in the future by Philip K. Dick that can connect users to each other and both transmit and receive emotions in a video simulation of this old chap Mercer walking up the mountain. If I'm not wrong, in the book there's a part where Rick refuses to use the empathy box because his happiness in owning a real goat would then be shared with others whereas he would feel others' pain in the process. I guess the empathy box lets users feel what others feel, and these users are usually avid followers of "Mercerism" which is nothing more than a religion that allows people to connect spiritually.

The fact that the media in the book debunked Mercerism doesn't matter, because the fact is that even though Mercerism may be created in a video studio, the emotions transmitted through the machine are real, and gives users something to believe in and hold onto in this depressing future.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Scott Sheaffer
Dec 29, 2010 Scott Sheaffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
...more
Colleen Venable
Jul 18, 2007 Colleen Venable rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction-adult
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
...more
Matthias
Aug 08, 2016 Matthias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
An android walks into a bar.

"Hey!", the bartender says, "Only people with feelings are allowed inhere! 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
...more
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.
Kemper
May 27, 2013 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lyn
Mar 04, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
This is the book upon which the film Blade Runner was created.

Now that I have read this, I can say that Blade Runner was loosely based upon the book, and 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 bo
...more
Apatt
Jan 08, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Brittany
Jul 04, 2007 Brittany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the k. in philip K. dick definitely stands for kicked ass. but not philip kick ass dick. i dont know what that means.
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
...more
Andy
Jul 26, 2010 Andy rated it it was amazing
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,
...more
Don Rea
May 19, 2008 Don Rea rated it liked it
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
...more
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
...more
Justin
Jun 24, 2014 Justin rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, those interested in bringing down the quality of Bladerunner
Shelves: taught
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
...more
Szplug
Jan 30, 2013 Szplug rated it really liked it
I love Blade Runner—and so it is with pleasure, and a sense of completion, that I am now able to state (almost) the same for its source material. The parenthesized qualifier admits to the differing status of the two: whereas BR is an absolute classic, one that declared itself boldly, influencing the design and feel and look of all subsequent dystopian cinematic fare, a movie cast to perfection and narrowing its gaze to the more umbrageous and feral of Dick's thematic threads, the book casts a wi ...more
✘✘ 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
...more
Henry Avila
May 08, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it
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, "dust", continues coming down and slowly killing the survivors, who have moved to the cities. Making many of the people still living, chickenheads, excuse me, special. Animal are virtually extinct, electronic duplicates are in great demand, real on ...more
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
...more
Stuart
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Nothing like Blade Runner, but both are brilliant
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner was arguably the most brilliant, though-provoking, and intelligent SF film ever made, with a uniquely dark vision of a deteriorated future Earth society and a morally ambiguous tale of a bounty hunter Rick Deckard hunting down and ‘retiring’ a series of very intelligent Nexus-6 type replicants (androids) that want very much to live. Th
...more
Ron
Feb 08, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: For Classics, Sci-Fi, Post Apocalyptic fans.
Have you seen Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s superb ’82 Sci-Fi film? The paperback copy of Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep includes the line, “The inspiration for Blade Runner”. Even though it’s been a long time since I watched the movie, I would agree with the term: inspiration. The bones of the book are in the movie, but it’s only a part of what this book says. And at a page count of just under 250, it is deceivingly image packed tale.

Of Philip K. Dick’s books, “Android’s” is probably his m
...more
Morgan
Jan 01, 2013 Morgan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people looking for science fiction with an edge
I've seen "BladeRunner" so many times I could puke and watch it again (hell, I even wrote a 15 page critical analysis of it as a neo noir film). And it's an amazing, beautiful film.

I read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" when I was a junior in highschool, after having grown up with "BladeRunner." And it was fabulous.

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" and "BladeRunner" are not the same thing. At all. Which is conceptually really, really intriguing. And I love that about the two.

By the tim
...more
Eva
Aug 15, 2016 Eva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insane, ingenious and heartbreaking. Once again I am in awe of this writer. And it's amazing to me to discover just how much science fiction and philosophy really have in common. Because in this book as well as others of a similar kind the questions of our existence are raised. And in that sense even religion comes in play. The more I read on these topics the harder it becomes for me to distinguish the line that separates them. But then I guess that's to be expected. After all they are all man m ...more
Ian Vinogradus
In Which the Emphasis is on Androids Who Grasp the Twin Handles of Empathy

"Deus sive substantia sive natura": Spinoza


Just as in the animal kingdom there is a continuum between humans and animals, there is a continuum in this novel that incorporates humans, androids and electric animals, the main difference being that the latter two are artificial or human constructs.

Here, the androids are organic and sentient. They are not purely electrical or mechanical robots infused with artificial intel
...more
Lit Bug
Nov 16, 2013 Lit Bug rated it liked it
Shelves: novels, fiction, owned, sf
Post Blade Runner, almost everybody knows of the existential angst of this PKD book – like much modern SF, it questions our notions of what makes us so special as humans, or if there is anything such as human. It asks us if we can ever consider artificially created, mass-produced, identical androids as individuals. And I’m not sure I know all the answers.

On near-future earth, Rick Deckard is a ‘bounty hunter’, a police official who hunts down androids illegally fleeing Mars to find a home on Ear
...more
dead letter office
Apr 10, 2008 dead letter office rated it really liked it
chris's fish died here at work and he seems down. everyone else was mean to the fish (not to its face mostly, just made fun and tapped on the glass) but i always came to see it and i think chris appreciated that for some reason. i've never seen him look so down before. this is one of those things that makes me sad out of all proportion to the scale of the incident, like when i made katy think she was wrong about kansas bordering colorado or when my brother saved his allowance for months and boug ...more
Darwin8u
Jun 02, 2016 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
“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?

description

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
...more
Anna
Aug 16, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Από τις γνωστότερες ιστορίες του Philip Dick, ενός από τους σημαντικότερους εκπρόσωπους της επιστημονικής φαντασίας, στο όνομα του οποίου υπάρχει βραβείο στο είδος. Επίσης, σε αυτή την ιστορία είναι βασισμένο το Blade runner, ταινία που πρωταγωνίστησε ο Harrison Ford στα χρόνια που έκτιζε την καριέρα του με Star Wars και Indiana Jones. Αντιλαμβάνεστε λοιπόν πόσο σπουδαίο βιβλίο είναι και πόσο περιττά και λίγα είναι όποια λόγια κριτικής μπορώ να πω. Θα προσπαθήσω λοιπόν να σας δώσω κάποιες κατευθ ...more
notgettingenough
Over the last few weeks I’ve read The Luzhin Defense, followed by Bluebeard and then Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Originally I was going to write some stuff here about the central characters and compare them with the original Outsider. I was going to say things like this:

Maybe it is a contradiction in terms, to put 3 books about outsiders in the same review, but I can’t stop myself.

We have here a chess player, a doctor who might or might not have murdered a wife and a chickenhead. They al
...more
Jason
Jan 27, 2009 Jason rated it liked it
Ooooooh, i think i get it now! The title "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Is intentionally ambiguous. It wants you to think of "dream" as the notion of sleep, when it's "dream" as palpable hope. The incisive plot threat in the book revolves around a set of androids with the ambition to outlast human beings. It seems like they only want to survive, but their leader--Roy Baty--alludes toward a propagandized theme he led the group with, that Mercer is a fake and without empathy human beings a ...more
Werner
Jan 17, 2016 Werner rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of serious science fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
Note, Jan. 17, 2016: I've just edited this review to correct one misspelling.

While Dick was always a professed Episcopalian, his writing began to take a more distinctly Christian turn only after his spiritual experience in the early 1970s. Here, his outlook is still shaped more by postmodernism, strongly suggesting that simply believing something can make it true. (Paradoxically, it also exudes the strong skepticism, which informed his writing all through his career, as to whether our ordinary h
...more
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Around the Year i...: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick 15 58 Jun 29, 2016 04:36AM  
Philip K Dick: Empathy Test 6 23 Jun 02, 2016 03:11PM  
The Sword and Laser: Funny book-related image 5 78 Apr 24, 2016 04:50PM  
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Blade Runner (4 books)
  • The Edge of Human (Blade Runner, #2)
  • Replicant Night (Blade Runner, #3)
  • Eye and Talon (Blade Runner, #4)

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“My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.” 561 likes
“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.” 442 likes
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