Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Perhaps Philip K Dick's best known novel is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It was the basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner. It takes place in the year 2021, in a U.S. that has been devastated by war and mass extinctions. People have begun to covet every living creature (owning real pets has become an extreme luxury). There are people who make electric animals for those who can't afford real ones, though there is stigma attached. They can also make humans. The novel follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who job is to find and destroy (retire) rogue androids, known as replicants.

The world Philip K. Dick has created is a dark and vivid one. I personally imagine it to always be raining or the streets to at least always be wet. This is probably an influence from the slow, but ultimately cult classic Blade Runner. Dick is able to create mysterious characters and set the scene faster and more effectively than any writer I know. There's something to be said about a novel written in 1968 that foresees so many things. He was certainly ahead of his time (or maybe dropped by aliens...)

The relationship developed between Rick and Pris is not sexy or really something that is lusty, it just is. There's an extra dynamic in the story, where the reader is made to be unsure of who is a replicant and who is not. It makes sense, then, that any relationship that forms in the book seems artificial in nature. Even Rick's marriage to Iran seemed contrived. It was a wonderful job by Philip K. Dick to create an atmosphere of uncertainty around each character.

I recommend this book to hard scifi fans and to fans of scifi films. There have been recent talks of sequel or prequel movies, which I'm not too sure about, but am willing to give a shot. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is a classic, and if you're just getting into the science fiction or even near future genres, I would recommend this as a great start to your adventure.

Bookophile Rating: Ludicrous!

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