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Paperback Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Book

ISBN: 0345404475

ISBN13: 9780345404473

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

(Book #1 in the Blade Runner Series)

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

A masterpiece ahead of its time, a prescient rendering of a dark future, and the inspiration for the blockbuster film Blade Runner By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dick's Most Popular Novel - Marvel at the Philosophy

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is an excellent introduction into the sci-fiction/philosophical masterworks* (*emphasis on master - Dick is a noted literary genius) of Philip K. Dick because this is one of his best works and also most of you have seen a very close adaptation of this book, a film called Blade Runner, which unfortunately was released to box office failure shortly after K. Dick's death, only later to become a cult classic that no one has missed from their DVD collection. Dick's books must be viewed along with writer's ambitions and warnings. In 1968 Dick wrote this story a year before man landed on the moon and yet describes a world somewhere closer to our own, in a `very soon down the road' roundabout way, as Dick does in all his books. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is no different, describing an environmental catastrophic event that leads to Earth's ruin, where humans have migrated to offshore colony worlds, where they get a free human cyborg - a replicant, to serve them. Back on the earth those who remain live in a world where everything is synthetic, the atmosphere radioactive, and where everyone dreams of owning a real live pet, and not a clone controlled by microchips and circuit boards, including our protagonist, Deckard, a professional bounty-hunter cop, with secret ambitions of replacing his electronic sheep with real ones before the neighbours found out how poor he is, so takes on a contract to hunt down and `retire' a group dangerous renegade replicants that escaped from the offshore world colony of Nexus 6, murdering people during the break out and who have managed to make their way to earth blending in with the local population. Deckard who is looking forward to buying some real sheep goes to visit the Tyrell corporation where he uses, the now unforgettable, Voigt-Kampff test, to see if a human is a cyborg. The Voigt-Kampff test is the key to opening the philosophical mindset of this book - "Is empathy only a human condition?" with the psychology that a replicant will test negative for empathy during the test. The question then arises for Deckard, "has he ever retired a human by mistake?" Dick challenges us to think about this (look at the books title) as Deckard runs across the city retiring replicants who appear to lack empathy only to suddenly find himself up against a new type of Nexus 6 that does not lack empathy and has the ability to learn it. The book will keep you second guessing as to who is real and who is not, but at its heart the question Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in conjunction with Deckard's job, and his desire to own real sheep, leads him slowly down a path of questioning this own existence and reassessing his life and what he thought he knew. The book finished beautifully, answering these questions to the full with a bit of a revelation. However we would do Dick a disservice, not to at least complement the writer's ability to craft the English language, and more importantly, edit

Total commitment

Other SF writers have ideas; Philip K. Dick had visions. In fact, all of his visions may be said to be part of a single Uber-vision, a life-long attempt to construct a picture of the world and to ask meaningful questions about it. Most of his SF novels were different "takes" on this vision and explorations of those questions. To say, as so many people have done (including Dick himself), that his themes are "what is reality" and "what is human", is to touch only on the surface of the problems he was grappling with. It is necessary to understand how thoroughly Dick lived with his vision of life to know what his explorations meant, especially if one wishes to grasp their emotional center. Take this novel for instance (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). One could read it as if it were an ordinary SF novel and be fascinated by its "ideas", such as androids with false memories or the economy of real-animal trade in a post-apocalyptic setting -- in the same way that some fans of the "Star Trek" shows are interested in the structure of the Federation, the nature of the Borg, etc. But Dick's ideas are nothing more than access points to his larger vision, and the novel has some interesting little conduits that can take you there. One thing of note (that few notice) is the idea of the "Penfield mood organ" which triggers an argument between Deckard and his wife in the opening chapter. Apparently one selects a desired emotional state and "dials in" settings to send one's brain the electrical signals that create that emotion, such as "pleased acknowledgment of husband's superior wisdom in all matters". The gadget is obviously named after Wilder Penfield, 20th century pioneer in brain mapping research. (A variant of this idea was used later in another of Dick's robot-or-man novels, the neglected We Can Build You.) Significantly, the device "frames" the novel, referenced again during the last scene. Such a device is the least outlandish piece of "science fiction" that the novel contains, since it is based on real science. And that fact roots the other speculations of the novel, however wild, in a very real and pressing contemporary question: if our moods and attitudes can be manipulated via electrical currents, then... what are we? Another fascinating aspect of the story is the quasi-religious figure named Mercer. Mercer speaks at times with words like those of Christ, at other times with Zen riddles and self-contradiction. He offers empathy without salvation, salvation without truth, a truth through lies. When he is exposed as a fraud (when the set for the Mercer films is "subjected to rigorous laboratory scrutiny"), he admits it but insists that it does not detract from his validity. Mercerism is the only hint of transcendence offered by the novel, which raises the question: if such transcendence is exposed as fraudulent, then... what can be our transcendence? The devastation that Deckard experiences in the end is a reflection of Dick'

My God this book is good

I read this book before seeing Blade Runner, and I'm glad I did."Do Androids Dream?" is more of a philosophical novel than a science fiction film. Basically, the premise is, "what are the philosophical implications if robots became virtually indistinguishable from humans"? In 1968, this was a mind-blowingly new idea.The vision of Philip K Dick is absolutely fascinating. For example, in order to maintain the difference between androids/replicants and humans, the government has invented a new religion, based on the idea that killing animals is highly immoral. Yet today we eat animals every day. This belief-system has artificially made a moral code which androids fail to understant. It's a little like the blacks after the Civil War - invent white supremacy, disallowing the blacks from making their way in society as normal people - and whites can then point at them and say, AH HAH! I told you blacks need us around to help them! Look how (...) their lives are! OBVIOUSLY they are inferior!Philip K Dick makes many references to the Afro-American experience in this novel, and the theme is most disturbing.There are many, many other, even more interesting, themes in this novel; including those seen in the film. If replicants show more mercy than humans, does this not grant that they have greater "empathy"? This is a vast theme, and one that is successfully portrayed in the film. Roy Baty has a chance to kill Rick Deckard (in the film), yet he chooses to save him.This novel bears so many re-readings. For instance, yesterday I reread the part where Deckard gives the Voigt-Kampff test to Rachael the replicant (it also appears in the film!) I noticed for the first time, that the questions that Rachael does not react to are the ones concerning killing animals! Again, this is an artificial moral code, so the only reason she feels no "empathy" to wasps, butterflies etc. is that such moral codes were never natural. ALso, she fails to react to a question about killing babies. The reason this is so is that replicants cannot have babies, and so any emotion towards "children" are denied them...To anyone hesitating before being this book: There are some aspects of this book that may turn one off.First, there is little or no action, and no film noir style. That part (great as it is!) is only in the film version.Secondly, the novel is in Philip K Dick's bizzare, almost childlike style. Do not look for brilliant prose (although there are some gems), or brilliant dialogue.Thirdly, Philip K Dick was desperately poor all his life, and all his books were written VERY fast in order to make enough money to live! Thus, the book is not as well polished as it could be 0- although it's better than some others.Fourth, there are some parts of the book that are - well - strange. VERY strange. Philip K Dick was the master of strangeness. If you prefer books where both feet of reality are kept firmly planted on the ground, this is probably not for you.Fifth, the book is extremely ric

Important point in book not in film.

To be honest I liked the book better than the movie (but isn't that always the case?). The thing that always bothered me about the movie was that an important point made in the book was never brought in to the screenplay of the film; and it could have been, without much trouble. The important point I'm talking about is the fact that it is the future and there almost no "real" animals left to have as pets. Everyone has electric sheep or dogs or cats, etc. It is very prestigeous (in the book) to own a "real" animal. Decker figures at $1000 per killed android, he could make the $5000 necessary to acquire the pet goat he wanted. Also, the goat is pivotal late in the book when Rachel (replican) gets mad at Decker for killing her replican friends, and goes to his apartment and throws the goat off the roof to its death (to get even with Decker). This point was important to me and I was amazed they didn't mention it in the film... I think it would have made the "morality" message a little more substantial if they had. Read this book

It's life, Rick, but not as we know it...

Sometimes one wonders why some people even bother to read. If you are a fan of the movie Blade Runner, and you are a little disapointed by this book, then shame on you. You shouldn't be reading books in the first place then! Rarely can movies capture all the themes and ideas of a book, and rarely can books capture the artistic cinematography of film. The two media are separate. Treat them as such. What Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are about is the routine of police bounty hunter Rick Deckard. His job is to hunt down and "retire" fugitive androids. But what the movie only scratched the surface of is WHY those androids are fugitives. Fans of the character of Data from Star Trek, or of the computer Mike from Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress will find the familiar theme of what it is that defines the difference between artificial intelligence and artificial life. This is the realization that Deckard comes to and must deal with: these androids are not mere machines with off-switches, they are living creatures, aware of their own existence and their own mortality. In the post-nuclear holocaust world that Deckard exists in, humans define life by their ability to feel empathy. Empathy for the lives of each other, empathy for the lives of the remaining animal species of earth decimated by fallout, or empathy for artificial life. Eventually, Deckard questions his own ability to feel empathy, and therefore, his own humanity. For if being alive is about feeling empathy, then how can he truly be alive without feeling empathy for the living machines whose job it is for him to kill. In the film version, Rutger Hauer's performance as one of the androids briefly captured the theme of the book, but it was never really explored and was instead sacrificed for artistic license. If you were intrigued by special effects, skip this book and rent Terminator 2. If you were intrigued by the question of artificial intelligence and artificial life, then you may want to ask if androids really DO dream of electric sheep.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Mentions in Our Blog

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