“The electric things have their life too.”
First published in the late 1960’s, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is an odd book that plays straight for the most part but wanders into disjointed realms (on purpose) at times. I picked this book up for three bucks at a local Dollar General store. Having heard about the book for years and both of the films that were inspired by it (Blade Runner (1982) and 2017’s Blade Runner 2049), I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
I’ve never seen either of the films that this book is based upon nor have I read the book until just recently. I have to admit that I really enjoyed the book, especially its dystopian setting and the bleakness of the entire read. The story focuses on a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard who is tasked with eliminating six android adversaries. The six androids are new Nexus-6 models that are almost impossible to distinguish from humans. The androids murdered their owners on Mars and escaped to Earth in the hopes of blending into society. As the story goes along, Deckard encounters an android that makes him question his motives for “retiring” the murderous models, teams up with a fellow bounty hunter that may or may not be an android himself, and goes on the hunt for a live animal for his wife, Iran.
Without giving too much away, I was very intrigued by the story involving Resch, the bounty hunter that begins to doubt his own humanity as a result of a massive fabrication made by the androids. When Deckard begins working with him, it gave me a lot of insight into Deckard’s true feelings. I also enjoyed the androids, particularly Pris Stratton and Luba Luft. Luft proves to be quite prepared to keep herself alive and she does a fine job of holding off Deckard for the most part. Pris uses a “chickenhead” named John Isidore to hide herself and two other androids. Isidore is called a chickenhead because that term is used to describe humans who have slowed mental capabilities or other deficiencies due to the effects of radiation following World War Terminus.
The story reveals how humans are losing their own humanity, resorting to following a religion known as Mercerism, which uses virtual reality to trigger empathy within people. It involves an old guy getting hammered by rocks and eventually leads to Deckard and Isidore both experiencing virtual reality bizarreness, but you’ll have to read the book to catch what’s happening and define it for yourself. Humans also use Penfield Mood Boxes to literally dial up an emotional state, encouragement, denial, and more. Again, this shows how humans are losing their humanity and, in reality, the androids are probably more human than….humans.
This book makes you think and I quite enjoyed reading it. Deckard isn’t necessarily the nicest of guys and I actually preferred the android moments more than his own. I recommend checking this book out. It’s definitely worth a read. It’s also convinced me to watch both of the Blade Runner flicks. When I do get a chance to see them, I’ll be sure to blog about them here.
Thanks for checking out my post. I’m currently reading a book about fan fiction therapy and…..it’s a task. I’ll be sure to let all of you know how good or bad it is very soon!