Dime Store Reads: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

“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!

Dime Store Reads: The Predator: Hunters and Hunted

The Reapers Take Aim At A Yautja

At the end of 2020, I offered up my first Dime Store Reads post. It was a brief review of the novelization of the film The Predator from 2018. I enjoyed the book well enough so I decided to head back to the same Dollar General that I purchased the novel at to pick up its prequel, The Predator: Hunters and Hunted. Written by James A. Moore, Hunters proved to be even more enjoyable than the film and book that it sets up.

In the story, an elite group of soldiers called the Reapers have been training for years in preparation for engaging and capturing a Yautja (Predator). Trained by Pappy Elliot, the only survivor of an attack in Vietnam, the group finds themselves outsourced to other departments to dispatch drug rings and other ne’er do wells. The group is lethal and chomping at the bit for a real challenge. Unfortunately, funding is on the verge of being cut for the team and Project Stargazer, a research project that hopes to study one of the Yautjas in order to reverse engineer its technology for the benefit of the U.S. government.

With two members of Project Stargazer in Washington, D.C. pleading their case, the Reapers finally get to engage a Predator on the Florida/Georgia border in the Okefenokee Swamp and the surrounding areas. They quickly find themselves in a battle for their lives while attempting to capture the alien visitor. After successfully trapping the Yautja and suffering major casualties, the group bring the hunter back to Project Stargazer’s base of operations. The monster manages to escape and the thinned out group has to battle it once more. With the loss of their comrades in mind, the Reapers plan to kill the Yautja in their second confrontation. Who wins? Read the book for yourself and find out!

Moore does an excellent job of alternating the story between the perspectives of the Reapers, the Predator, and other characters in the story. The Reapers feature some very interesting characters that are all given a decent amount of development. My favorite Reaper was a character named Hyde who, based on a quick search on other reviews of this book, proved to be one of the most popular characters in the story overall. Two characters featured in the film that follows the book, Traeger and Keyes, make an appearance, with Traeger getting some heavy development in the novel.

Parts of the story remind me of the first two Predator films, especially the second one starring Danny Glover and Gary Busey. There are brief callbacks to both of these films but this novel does well to stand on its own. Moore is no stranger to writing stories based upon established film and television series. He’s written novels that are parts of the Alien and Buffy The Vampire Slayer universes and is also a successful novelist of original series as well (Seven Forges novels, Bloodstained series, etc.). In this novel specifically, he does a great job of setting up and executing battle scenes. A favorite of mine is the Predator’s encounter with an alligator.

I really enjoyed this book and would love to see some of the surviving characters return in other novels or even in future films in the Predator series. As stated before, I picked this book up at Dollar General. It cost me three bucks and was more than worth it. I definitely recommend this novel.

Thanks for checking out this post. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this novel or any other Predator books. Feel free to tell me what you liked, disliked, or absolutely hated about any of the books.

Dime Store Reads: Pacific Rim Uprising Official Film Novelization

Getting “Pentecost”-al!

My latest discovery on the Dollar General book rack happened to be the novelization of a film that I enjoyed for the most part. Pacific Rim Uprising was a decent film but it lacked the style and overall “coolness” of its predecessor. The printed version of the story was a fun read, but the battles between the Jaegers and Kaiju lost something on the page. Whether that was due to Alex Irvine’s writing style or my inability to visualize the battles in my head, I’m not sure.

Irvine is no stranger to writing film novelizations. He wrote the novelization for the first Pacific Rim film as well as others including Independence Day: Resurgence and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, so I’m not sure why his descriptions of the battles in Uprising came across as flat. In his defense, the battles in the film were a tad flat as well, so it might just be that the source material needed more dressing up than Irvine could provide.

The book’s plot is relatively simple: It has been ten years since the Battle of the Breach. The Jaeger program, deemed to be too expensive to maintain any longer, is about to be replaced by drones designed and manufactured by the Shao Corporation. When a rogue Jaeger attacks members of the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps while assessing the new drones, Jake Pentecost, son of PPDC hero Stacker Pentecost, and a young woman named Amara Namani are thrown into an entirely new war with the Kaiju. They join up with an old friend who feels slighted by Jake and a team of young recruits to battle new Kaiju designed by the Precursors and a surprise ally. The story is fast, full of action, and pretty entertaining for the most part.

I picked up this book for three dollars. It’s definitely worth that much. I recommend giving it a shot. I also recommend checking out the film that it is based upon. It’s not as good as the first film, but it’s still a fun ride.

Thanks for reading my post. I’m already reading another Dime Store Read and can’t wait to tell you about it!

Dime Store Reads: The Predator: The Official Movie Novelization

In reverse…..

Welcome to the first entry in a new category that I’m testing out: Dime Store Reads. In this category I will be reviewing books that I purchase at stores such as Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Ollie’s, and other bargain outlets. None of the books that I review will cost more than five bucks unless they come in an omnibus edition. For each book I’ll give a brief review, the price that I paid, and the store in which I purchased the book.

The first book that I decided to review is actually a movie novelization of 2018’s The Predator. I saw the book on the bargain rack at Dollar General one day and after two trips to the store, I decided to nab it. For three bucks, I didn’t really care if it was a good book or not, I just needed something to fill the fifteen minute increments that I get for breaks during the work day. In that regard, the book did its job.

I haven’t actually seen the film that this book is based upon, but I am very familiar with the franchise. I saw the original Predator film way back in 1987 and its 1990 sequel as well as Predators (2010) and both of the Alien Vs. Predator films. This book’s tale doesn’t stray too far from all of the previous films’ formulas of a collection of heroes squaring off against a superior alien hunter or hunters.

In the story, U.S. Army Ranger Quinn McKenna has a run-in with a Predator in the jungle. He manages to acquire the creature’s helmet and forearm band and ships them both to his home. He believes that the government will cover up any and all information that he reveals and wants physical proof just in case the U.S. attempts to discredit him. Soon enough he ends up incarcerated and on his way to what he believes is a military prison. The Predator that McKenna encountered is being held at the military facility and just as McKenna and his newfound friends, a ragtag bunch of military mental patients, arrive, the creature breaks out. It goes on the hunt to get its stolen gear back, heading straight for McKenna’s autistic son.

An evolutionary biologist joins up with McKenna and his pals as they attempt to prevent the Predator from harming McKenna’s son. A second, larger Predator enters the fray, intent on recovering the lost mask and arm band and to eliminate the first Predator. Government agents, Predator pooches, and tons of action follows as McKenna and company battle two Predators.

The book is pretty good. It is very fast-paced and reads just like a pulp novel. McKenna’s buddies are all given brief backgrounds that provide just enough information for the reader to like them and, as is the case in any Predator movie or book, they get killed off with one heroic act after another. The book actually makes me want to see the film, but I have a feeling that the novel is actually a bit better than the movie. I’ll probably see the movie soon, and I’ll be sure to review it. The book was written by Christopher Golden and Mark Morris and based upon the screenplay by Shane Black and Fred Dekker. If you like sci-fi action, this book is for you.

I paid three dollars for this book at a local Dollar General. It was definitely worth the price.

Thanks for checking out my quick review. If you’ve read this book or watched the film that it is based upon, let me know if you enjoyed either of them. I’m thinking about reviewing all of the films in the Predator franchise. If you’d like my opinion of them, let me know in the comments!