Author: Phillip K. Dick
Publication Date: 1968
Review Score: 7/10
Better known as the cult Sci-Fi film Blade Runner, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the story of a modern world in which most people have emigrated to other planets, animals are all but extinct and a post war, toxic dust is engulfing the world and slowly killing all living organisms.
In this bleak future, we meet Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter hired to track down and “retire” rogue androids that have escaped servitude on the colonized planets and are trying to make a new life and pass for humans on Earth.
Your initial thought may be that this is a fast action novel as a ruthless killer hunts and terminates these runaway androids. However, the book is much more complex and intelligent than that. Rather than simply being about killing androids, the novel is a deep philosophical text that delves into the ideas of one’s self existence and knowledge of that existence, reminiscent of Descartes Meditations.
The line between android and human is becoming more and more blurred with each new upgrade and now Deckard is in a position of no longer seeing them as just malfunctioning machines but actually feeling empathy, compassion and even love for some of them.
With the idea of implanted false memories and emotions Deckard also has to face the idea that he may be an android himself and the justification of bounty hunting is getting more and more complex.
I know I always say this, but the book is much better than the film! Don’t get me wrong, Blade Runner was a visually stunning film, but I find that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? paints a picture off a much darker, lonely and scary future.
Put it this way, if you like the film you will love the book, if you didn’t like the film I’m pretty sure you will still like the book and if you haven’t seen the film just read the book!