✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)'s Reviews > Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
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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), 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.

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Reading Progress

August 7, 2015 – Started Reading
August 7, 2015 – Shelved
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: dystopia
August 7, 2015 – Shelved as: classics
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: set-sail-for-disappointment
August 9, 2015 – Shelved as: feminism-just-committed-suicide
August 9, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by mich (new)

mich This novel is a cult classic. You're supposed to love cult classics right? Right.

Ha! That's exactly why I'm always a little nervous to read books like this. I'm afraid I won't "get it" and make me uncool, hehe :)

✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) I'm so uncool haha! Cult classics are bad enough but sci-fi cult classics? They're the worst!;)

Rageofanath Yeah from all the PKD books I've read so far he has no idea how to write a female character. I imagine this stems from his own failed love life... he was married 5 times, none of them for long. I think the problem's you, buddy, not the entire female gender.

His work really suffers for it, too. When fully half the inhabitants of a world are subhuman it loses a lot of charm.

✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) I've read a few PKD novels but never realized the full extent of his misogyny until now. What you mention about his lounge life is pretty enlightening. It doesn't make PKD's portrayal of women more acceptable but it helps understand why he chose to depict them in such a way.

message 5: by Sumant (new) - added it

Sumant Agreed, discontinued the book after 2 chapters.

✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans) And I'm the one with the serial DNFing reputation! Haha. Good for you, Sumant, you saved yourself a lot of pain by stopping so early!;)

Scott Buddy "The other BIG problem I have with this book is the way women are portrayed."

In regards to this statement. It was a very different time back then when this book was written. Equality was not such a prominent thing. If the book was written now I highly doubt it would have the connotations. The man grew up in the 1930's and 40's back then the men were the providers and the woman were stay at home. It was a completely different time back then and I think this show through his work. I don't blame him for this outlook I blame the generation before him as bad habits are picked up and unfortunately hard to break. Misogyny is disgusting but it is expected considering it was a prominent problem back when the book was written.

message 8: by Peter (new)

Peter Webb For those who may be interested, Blade Runner was based on not just Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep but The Man in the High Castle.

Connor Hagan Peter you are 100% wrong. Blade Runner was totally based on this book and follows the plotline closely but missing a few small details here and there.

message 10: by Peter (new)

Peter Webb '100% wrong?' - The Japanese presence in the film? The billboards and Japanese announcements? '... missing a few small details here and there.' - Mercerism and its absence from the movie? No Mood Organ?

I should have said that the movie demonstrates some influence of The Man in the High Castle rather than that it was also a basis for it along with DADOES.

It has been argued that Blade Runner is set in the future of the world depicted in The Man in the High Castle and that The Grasshopper Lies Heavy - the book within TMITHC - is the prequel to Blade Runner. You may agree with this or disagree (it's not my theory) but I would still recommend reading both books with an eye to assessing the influence of TMITHC on Blade Runner.

I think keeping an open mind and looking for links is part of the joy of reading an author's body of work, and I would be surprised if Mr R Scott didn't take the same approach.

I'm all for being absolutely correct when it is possible.

But '100% wrong?'

Sure ...?

message 11: by Peter (new)

Peter Webb ... and before someone else points it out, I know Ridley Scott has been quoted as saying that he didn't read The Man in the High Castle until Phillip K Dick had seen the opening sequence of Blade Runner and commented on similarities with that book; the question is, how far along was he in production, and had others involved in the making of the film read TMITHC?

Perhaps it doesn't really matter ...

still a cracking film!

message 12: by Josh (new) - added it

Josh Great point about his portrayal of women. One more reason to dislike this seemingly interminable book.

Yubu exacly what i felt after reading this book

Ghizal A. I can’t express how accurate this review is. Literally fell asleep twice while reading it.

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