Scott Sheaffer's Reviews > Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 19, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read from December 19 to 29, 2010 — I own a copy

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.
182 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
Sign In »

Quotes Scott Liked

Philip K. Dick
“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.”
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick
“I like her; I could watch her the rest of my life. She has breasts that smile.”
Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Reading Progress

12/19/2010 page 48
23.0% "I'm breaking my Philip K. Dick hyman on this book."
12/19/2010 page 48
23.0% "I'm breaking my Philip K. Dick hymen on this book." 1 comment
12/21/2010 page 200
95.0% "What is reality?
What does it mean to be human?"
12/24/2010 page 52
25.0% "Is it over? What did I miss? I decided that before writing a review and putting this one back on my shelf I would re-read it. There is definitely meat in this one as dick takes on many heavy issues. This is sort of like Alice in Wonderland in space."
12/28/2010 page 183
87.0% "OMG, This is so good!"
show 1 hidden update…

Comments (showing 1-16)

dateUp arrow    newest »

Rosalía Great, witty review.

Sasha I have come of the closet recently too after reading this :p really really enjoyed it will have to read more of Philip K. Dick's work :D

Scott Sheaffer David, P.K Dick is an artist using words and paper like a painter uses canvas and color. Welcome to the wonderful world of P.K Dick!

message 13: by Your (new)

Your Lover no they dont dream of sheep dickhead

Scott Sheaffer Your wrote: "no they dont dream of sheep dickhead"

"Dickhead" is that what a Philip K. Dick fan is called like a Rush Limbaugh fan is called a "Dittohead? If so, then I guess I am one.

What do they dream of?

Keith Trumble Consider me a "dickhead" too, as I can say that I love Dick as well. Very well written review, couldn't agree more. Superb book, my favorite of Dick's.

Scott Sheaffer Keith, Welcome to the fan club of Dickheads. Your card is in the mail!

Stanuch I love the novel too. It's like Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, isn't it ?

Dorsey Jr. Hey Staunch, this is the book Blade Runner is based off of.

Joe-Lin Kohn great review

Scott Sheaffer Joe-Lin wrote: "great review"

Thanks Joe-Lin.

Shawn Miles thanks, your review helped me understand how to review. and boy did I love this book!

Kendra I felt sorry for the androids, until they mutilated the spider. It made me furious, actually. Why would they do that? The spider was harmless! It was innocent! It was life. If they ought to kill it, kill it swiftly. Those were the thoughts that raced through my mind.

However, I realized that Deckard, because he had empathy for other humans, had to discard his empathy for androids to 'kill' them. So is it justified? Are humans any better than andriods? And if humans use the mood organs to somewhat control and alter an important part of their consciousness, how are they different from machines?

So many questions.

Kristine Dicerchio I am astonished by the concepts Dick grapples with in this sci-fi book. I never tried much science fiction before. And your review delineates the themes nicely. I'm so excited to read in a genre that covers higher level questions regarding our existence now in 2017. Yay for Philip K. Dick!!!!

message 2: by Felix (new) - added it

Felix "I Love Dick." That's all you needed to say..

Chrisolu Excellent review. I’m reading the book because the movie left me with so many questions. As the movie was loosely based off the book, many of my questions may go unanswered.

back to top