notgettingenough 's Reviews > Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
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's review
Oct 20, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, modern-lit, pairs

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 all share a trait lacking in the original Outsider: they are all able to induce a sympathetic response from the reader. I don’t believe we have any capacity to understand Camus’s Outsider and without that, how can we have sympathy? It is easy to empathise with the others, however apart they may be from our own lives. It is impossible for Camus to put us in the shoes of his Outsider. It IS possible to become the crazy chess player, the murderous doctor, the mentally deficient chickenhead. Indeed it is Dick’s great strength that his characters slip into you; no matter that they are hypothetical consequences of a hypothetical world.

I can’t help wondering how I would have felt about Nabokov if I’d read him last instead of first. I thought he was getting away with being clever and ornate at the time. But to read the spare prose of Frisch next made me question this. And sharing with Dick the suffering of his characters meant I started wondering if Nabokov really had a clue what he was writing about. He says things that hit the mark for sure and his general thesis that chess saves the hero’s life until his dogooder wife-to-be starts interfering is completely faithful to the real world. I would scarcely be the only chess player to associate with Luzhin’s discovery of the game, a discovery that means life is suddenly tolerable. But something makes me distrust Nabokov’s portrayal of the Outsider, and I’m tired of trying to figure out what it is.

That’s the sort of thing I was going to say.

But I’d rather read. Consider me a goodreads outsider.
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02/05 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5)

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message 5: by M. (new) - added it

M. Sarki Great thought process. Enjoyed reading your review. Haven't read Dick yet but purchased his "Four Novels of the Sixties" over the summer.

notgettingenough Bird Brian wrote: "Fascinating. I didn't get any of those things out of this book! :)"

I think the point is that the context in which you read something has an impact on what it means to you. It was mere coincidence that I read these books in that order. Otherwise I would never have associated them together.

notgettingenough M. wrote: "Great thought process. Enjoyed reading your review. Haven't read Dick yet but purchased his "Four Novels of the Sixties" over the summer."

He's the best author I've read for ages. I guess I'm going to hit the ones even he thinks are bad, but I haven't come across one yet.

message 2: by M. (new) - added it

M. Sarki I am having the same experience with my re-reading of Franny & Zooey this past summer and my current Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. The different context being my age now and experience with life. I think it fits in with what you are talking about. I am certainly looking forward to my first experience with Philip K. Dick.

Mohnish While reading The Outsider I was like I wouldn't mind being like Meresault.It's better if one doesn't need to think any BS & just go with the flow. But here in DADOES its the other way round. The androids feel they are missing out on that awesome empathetic feel which makes humans superior. Interesting review even though I haven't read the other books.

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