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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
1001 book reviews > Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philips K. Dick

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Diane  | 2051 comments Rating: 4 stars

Not my usually genre anymore, but I was really into sci-fi as a kid. I can't believe I finally read this for the first time. It is set in the future (2021). The book was written in 1968, so the future looked a bit different. The world has been destroyed by atomic warfare. There are few animals left and many of the people have left to live on Mars. Many people have android animals as pets, since it is nearly impossible to have real ones. There are some android people, too. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter hired to kill these android "humans". Overall, a good look at what is real and what is fake. Despite its age, much of it is still relevant today.

Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 124 comments Rating 4 stars.

So, this book is set in 2021. That's next year. This book was written in the late 60s and while we aren't quite there technology wise (no humanoid androids walking around) IS 2020 and some pretty wild stuff has happened this year, so maybe the androids are on their way. :)

This book is set in a post-apocalyptic San Fransisco in 2021. Society is living in a world damaged by World War Terminus. There are dust clouds, the world is overrun with "kipple" (rubble, scraps, garbage etc), people have machines that they can dial up to stimulate different emotions in their brain AND there are androids who look like humans. These androids have escaped work colonies on Mars and other environs. Our lead character Richard is a bounty hunter who is tasked with hunting down and "retiring" these androids.

While the movie Blade Runner is inspired by this book, the plot isn't exactly the same. The novel is, as is often the case with dystopian novels, a reflection on the psychology of humans and what it means to be human.

Kristel (kristelh) | 4265 comments Mod
Story of Rick Deckard, bounty hunter of rogue androids in the world in 2021 after the World War that killed millions and destroyed many animals. Both humorous and depressing. The movie Blade Runner was loosely based on the book. The author wrote this book in 1968. I must have liked it. I gave it 4 stars.

Amanda Dawn | 1251 comments Read this one recently for the “sci-fi” BINGO square for the year. I’ve never seen the movie Blade runner, but am far more interested in doing so after reading this book. I found the core themes of what defines humanity and the flawed ways we “other” people was really well conveyed. I also liked the use of real animals as a status symbol in this dystopia. I gave it 4 stars.

Leni Iversen (leniverse) | 483 comments Dystopian post-apocalyptic novel, amusingly set to this year. Rather different from the movie. The book explores what it means to be human, what separates us from animals and machines, and takes the position that it is neither rationality nor self-awareness - it is empathy. This is problematised further by the lack of empathy shown towards androids and people with brain damage from "dust" - a sort of radiation sickness. A new religion, mercerism, based around the figure of Mercer, a sort of mixture of Christ and Sisyphus, gives the story a hallucinatory quality at times.

4 stars. It is not flawless, but it was at times quite gripping and has aged much better than a lot of sci-fi from that era. Definitely worth reading.

message 6: by Gail (last edited May 18, 2021 01:37PM) (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1543 comments I also gave it 4 stars. As Leni says it has aged well for sci-fi from the 1960's. I am so happy to have read it in the year 2021 which is the year it is set in.
A bounty hunter whose job it is to neutralize or retire (i.e. kill) androids who have escaped the colonies to hide out on earth, takes us through a particularly crucial two days in his life. He confronts the different layers of empathy that exist in "real" humans versus androids. He struggles with his wife and his overwhelming desire to own a "real" animal as opposed to an electronic one. The major themes regarding what it is to be uniquely human as opposed to simply mammal, how humans categorize and turn on anything that is 'other', how post nuclear disaster will stretch dying out over decades instead of bringing it on suddenly, how environment degradation condemns us all, and how the profit factor in manufacturing will ensure the ultimate demise of our tribe to the benefit of our products, are all perfectly in tune with today as well as the 1960's.
Dick got zoom or videoconferencing culture correct. He gave us all hovercraft but still had us using carbon copies....funny how you can project some things and not others.
I felt that the architecture of the book was unique in the way that much of the drama took place in the tension between knowing the morally right thing to do rather than the action. I particularly appreciated the play between Buster Friendly, the honest but not empathetic TV personality, and Mercer who represented a metaphysical element in human culture. Mercer was fake but very empathetic and therefore people did not care if he was fake.
I appreciated this quote from Mercer to our Bounty Hunter:
"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".

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