I strongly recommend this novel for anyone who's willing to suspend disbelief and revel in the joys of discovering a future world.
Please don't make the same mistake that i made in thinking (for at least 20 years!), "I've seen Blade Runner
; why should i bother reading the book?"
I don't remember anything in the movie about empathy boxes or Mercerism or the reverence with which pet ownership was held. I don't remember Deckard being married or being even slightly milquetoasty. And i don't remember Isidore the chickenhead who befriends the Nexus-6s. I'm gonna rewatch the movie soon to confirm these recollections (or lack thereof). This handful of differences make the book drastically different than the movie and, in my opinion, make it much more rounded and enjoyable.
Thanks to my swiss cheese memory of what i read only a few weeks ago, i don't recall specifically what made me love this book. It definitely became my favorite PKD novel, supplanting The Man in the High Castle
. It certainly surpassed the enjoyability of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
, though these titles give each other a close battle for best ever. (sci-fi books probably have a naturally unfair advantage in such competitions, though)
I remember now that the exploration of Humanness and Identity reminded me of one of my favorite books of all time, The Fifth Head of Cerberus
. Dick pretty literally asks the question, "What's the difference between being self-aware and being unable to determine the difference between 'not self-aware' and 'self-aware'?" Like the proverbial unheard/soundless tree in the forest, is an android actually human if it believes
it is human? What if other humans can't determine whether or not it is human or android? And can the existence or absence of empathy be a clear enough distinction to be certain?
I can't help but get jazzed about a book that seriously poses those questions within an innately enjoyable adventure.
I thought for a while (of late) that i'd have to strike "SF lover" from my personal list of identifying characteristics, but this book proved to me that i am still capable of relishing it. Amen.