Book Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Title: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Gateway
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price and Format: $6.99 eBook format

About The Author:
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. He briefly attended the University of California, but dropped out before completing any classes. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Dick died on March 2, 1982, in Santa Ana, California, of heart failure following a stroke.
In addition to 44 published novels, Dick wrote approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.Although Dick spent most of his career as a writer in near-poverty,ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.

About The Book:
World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade Replicants who were his prey. When he wasn’t ‘retiring’ them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal — the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.
Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard’s world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit -and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted…

Aspects I Enjoyed:
~Intense Subject Matter: From my point of view, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? will probably need a couple of re-reads before the reader is able to grasp everything, there’s a lot of stuff occurring over a short in-universe time-line, it’s a lot to take in. It doesn’t help that every person in the novel suffers from some level of fallout-related brain damage and detachment from reality. I also think reading this book has helped me gain a better understanding of my Metamorphosis project.

~Villain Antagonists: Rosen Industries will stoop to any and all levels to undermine the bounty hunters and their empathy tests, I would consider Rosen Industries the go-to example for Nebulous Evil Organisation

~Complex Characters: I found the all androids to be much more interesting than Deckard (who came across as bit of an arse), however I think their quest to prove Mercerism fake (and therefore empathy fake) was tragic but intriguing. I understand that the android’s greatest weapon is their intelligence and ability to blend in with their environments were their greatest strengths, however their sociopath behavior and naïvety about Human reactions made me realise that (emotionally) they were essentially beings with the minds of children in powerful adult bodies The notion of empathy as a learned behavior as opposed to instinctive behavior is a complex issue.

Aspects I had Problems with:
~Damsel in Distress: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968 and it most certainly shows. This novel was supposed to be set in the future, yet had a lot of social norms of that time, particularly displayed with the Iran (Rick Deckard’s wife) and the other female characters Rick Deckard interacts with. As a character, Iran annoyed me, she didn’t seem to serve a greater purpose and could easily have been removed.

~Always Save The Girl and Women Are Delicate: I got the feeling it was because of these tropes and Deckard’s attraction to Rachael was the reason he had such a problem with retiring Luba Luft and Rachel Rosen. He had no problems retiring the male androids.

~Big Lipped Alligator Moment: I understand Deckard and J.R. Isidore hallucinatory episodes are meant to be metaphorical, however that didn’t make them easier to understand, there’s a fine line between deep and meaningful symbolism and confusing obscurity.

RMFAO 2015 Genre Challenge

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