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Monday, January 24, 2022

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Review



The influential novel titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick inspired many science fiction works that followed especially in the cyberpunk subgenre. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is described by this Guardian review as 'An incredibly deep and complex book that makes for a very interesting read'.  

Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Image Credits: Warner Bros. 

According to the Guardian book review, Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is probably his best known work, and was adapted into the well known movie, Blade Runner. It follows the story of Bounty Hunter Rick Deckard, whose job is to 'retire' renegade androids who have escaped from the outer colonies.

Do Androids… is set on a near-future Earth, which has suffered the events of a cataclysmic third world war, called 'World War Terminus' (abbreviated to 'WWT'). Most of humanity has moved to colonies on other planets (Mars is the only one to be directly referenced, but it is implied that there are others, and a failed mission to Alpha Proxima is also mentioned).

 

 

The government advocates emigration to the colonies, and only a few people remain on Earth, many of which are 'chicken heads', people who do not have the necessary IQ to emigrate. One of these chicken heads is John Isidore, who provides safe haven for three of the Nexus-6 androids later in the story.

Deckard wants, above all, to own an animal – a symbol of one's position in society, as the war has caused massive nuclear fallout, making animals extremely rare and valuable.

His dream becomes possible when he is given an assignment to retire five Nexus-6 androids – the most advanced type yet, since one of them severely injured his superior. However, nothing is ever simple and Deckard finds himself coming close to death more than once.

Do Androids… starts slowly – the first fifty pages are used to set the scene, and give the reader some background knowledge, before really getting into the story.

I liked the way that the story flows and gradually increases in pace. I found that Philip managed to keep the reader on edge, with many completely unexpected twists. When Rick is arrested by the fake bounty hunting agency, the reader has no idea what is going on. I thought that Rick had somehow been moved forward in time, which could not be farther from the truth (I'm not going to spoil it for you, read the book if you want to know what happens!) Phillip manages to change a rather dull scene, into a life-threatening one for Deckard, in mere few lines. 

 



Another thing that I found good about Do Androids…, was the fact that Phillip manages to create a civilian atmosphere, which is sorely lacking in many other sci-fi novels. By creating both a fake religion, and a television show, he manages to piece together a realistic enough post-war society.

One of the main underlying currents in Philip's novels, as far as I can tell, is the fact that he loves asking the question: 'What is real? What is fake?'. While Do Androids… doesn't take it to the extreme that Ubik does, (the only other one of Philip's novels I've read), it still manages to profoundly disrupt the reader's understanding of what is happening. While this can be viewed as either good or bad, I find it to be a plus, because it is unusual, and departs from the standard cliché's of sci-fi novels, and writing in general, on top of making the reader stop and think more about what they are reading.

Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick
Image Credits: IFY Bookstore

If this review convinced you to grab a copy of the Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and want to grab yourself a copy of this science fiction classic, send us a message here at IFY Bookstore. You can also check out our store at Shopee for similar great reads. Click here. 

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