Wednesday 9 January 2013

#bookreview: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter - he hunts down renegade androids who are posing as humans on the devastated, crumbling Earth. The only thing that separates humans and androids, other than a long and painful bone marrow test, is man's ability to feel empathy for others. But what if humans are also "retired" in this process for underdeveloped emphatic abilities? And what happens when the bounty hunter starts feeling empathy for the very beings he is supposed to murder?

Written in 1968, this novel was then made into the show Blade Runner (which I haven't watched, so I can't compare them). It took a while for me to get into the swing of things, as it was written in a drier style than what I've been currently reading; I have to say this though, Philip K. Dick's writing is compelling. He subtly nudges you to question your own humanity even as you wonder if Deckard really is human, or if he's being played by the androids. What if the psycopathic killers, like the one behind the Sandy Hook shootings, was really an android who can't feel anything for others? Is empathy really what makes humans human?

I'm probably late to the party, only having heard of him recently on the web. One thing I know is I'm going to be looking out for his books from now on. Hopefully they're still in print.

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  1. I read his work "The Man in the High Castle." (My library had it as part of a collection of his: "Four novels of the 1960s") It was fascinating, conceptually. And I thought well executed. My only complaint was that there were several characters who, ultimately, didn't seem to add too much to the story.

  2. Philip K Dick is a great writer. I have opposite problem. I've never read the story, but watched the movie. Great point about empathy. It operates us from machines.