recently read: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
I’m not really the world’s biggest fan of science fiction (Doctor Who aside), but I actually really enjoyed this book. I feel like it’s something that a lot of people have read and I’ve heard a lot about it, so it was one of those books that felt important to read and when I finished, I was able to say, “So that’s what everyone’s been talking about.”
DADoES? is about Rick Deckert, a man who in 2021 San Francisco is a bounty hunter engaged to kill escaped androids from Mars. Some people get really excited by dystopian worlds, but, and I think this goes without saying for this book, the most important part is how Rick comes to terms with killing (or ‘retiring’ as he euphemizes) things that are so close to humans that it is difficult to detect any differences.
A large part of the book is dedicated to Rick’s (and the whole society’s) obsession with animals. The reigning religion of the age, Mercerism, calls for people to care for animals as a way of developing empathy. This, though, created a huge market for animals, including electronic ones. How can Rick, a man who kills electronic humans, harbor affection for an equally electronic animal?
Rick tries to keep his ideals straight, but throughout the novel, he is tested and his faith in what he has done and what he must do is shaken.
The class I’m reading this for is a literary theory class that I work for, so I really enjoyed reading Dick’s novel in terms of the idea of humanness v. the unhuman. The novel is the basis for the movie Bladerunner, which I haven’t seen, but the professor said that much (or all) of the discussion about electronic/real animals is removed from the movie, so I read the book wondering how that could be done in a movie, especially because the animals are so integral.
The science fiction elements weren’t overly distracting—sometimes “new worlds” are so convoluted you lose sight of the plot in trying to figure out how everything works. I would certainly recommend reading it: it’s a great summer read- not too difficult, but not meritless.