Book Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (AKA Blade Runner)

I picked this book because I saw a friend reading it. The original title is ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ and was made into the very famous SciFi movie ‘Blade Runner’ starring Harrison Ford. It was written by the very famous Philip K. Dick, author of a very interesting set of novels: A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Screamers, Minority Report, Paycheck, among others. He’s a very prolific writer and I strongly urge everyone to read at least one of his novels. The only other book I’ve read by him is A Scanner Darkly which was great.

I never saw Blade Runner, and I was advised to read the book first, so I took the opportunity. Overall I loved the story. It’s set in a fictional 2021 (actually 1992 in the original version). Remember that Dick wrote this in the 60’s. There has been some sort of nuclear fallout and most of the population of Earth has moved to ‘the colonies’ on Mars. There has even been some sort of expedition to proxima centauri (the closest star to our solar system). Humanoid Robots (androids) have been invented and perfected, and now are used heavily in the colonies. However, some of these androids escape their life of servitude and flea to Earth to live in peace. Earth does not want androids living amongst them, so the police departments employ bounty hunters to ‘retire’ all androids found.
Wildlife is rare, and it is consider a position of stature to own one. For instance, owning a sheep would make you look very good, where as owning something smaller would be something more of a ‘norm.’ The main character in this story, Rick Deckard, owns an electric (or fake) sheep because his real sheep died. The electric sheep is made to look like a real one so as not to lose social stature. Deckard is an android bounty hunter, and this story tells of his journey in retiring many androids.
Philip K. Dick has a way of writing that is hard to describe. He is very philosophical and spacey. His stories ask odd questions, and can appear to be making no sense. The title of the book, for instance, leaves the reader feeling like they’ve missed something. I personally love his style of writing precisely because of this. I like that everything is not spelled out for me. It keeps me thinking days later.
I strongly recommend reading any one of Dick’s books, not necessarily this one. But of the two I’ve read, I would consider him a great writer.
happy reading!
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