Monday, October 12, 2009

Review-Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? By Phillip K Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time. By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans. Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.
"[Dick] sees all the sparkling and terrifying possibilities. . . that other authors shy away from."
--Paul Williams
Rolling Stone

I've never seen Blade Runner so I didn't have the slightest idea what this book was about. I'd gotten it for Tai and decided that I might as well read it too. I can't say I loved it. I'm glad I read it, but I think I missed something. People value life so much that they buy fake animals and pretend they are real. I know there is underlying meaning to all this but my poor brain is so far from being intellectual anymore that I think I missed most of the underlying meaning. 
Both the empathy machine (part of Mercerism, their religion)  and the mood organ scared me. For people to have so little empathy for each other than we need to hold a box that helps us feel apart of others, eek. I can see how people have trouble empathizing today. Overexposure to violence has made some resistant to it. But to the point where we can't feel something for our fellow man. I don't want to live in a world like that. And the mood organ? You don't like how you feel so you can change it? Wow, that seems entirely messed up. How about just feeling whatever you are feeling? Geesh. I think I missed the point.
Overall I enjoyed the book. It made me think about how we treat people and divide them into categories and how we fear those who are different. It's thought provoking and creatively done. Recommended for those who love scifi. Other more intelligent discussions can be found at Kay's Bookshelf, The Planet Harris Book Blog, and Bookstove.


  1. Dude, this sounds super awesome. I'll definitely try to check it out.

  2. Intrinsically I know I've seen Blade Runner, we rented it from Netflix I even put it in the DVD player but I can't remember a damn thing from it.

    It was just a series of odd things and Daryl Hannah in weird hair. That's really all the impression it made on me.

    I just don't get it, and usually I can at least pretend to get the weird slow Sci-Fi (2001 anyone?) but Blade Runner left me cold.

  3. Linda -
    Sometime Sci fi is so esoteric... that some people just fake that they know what the author means...
    Have you read The Host? I think you would like that. Sci Fi - romance, easy nice... :)

  4. I couldn't imagine not being able to empathize with others. The mood thanks!


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