Customer Reviews for

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

The inspiration for Blade Runner, but different

It's easy to see how this book inspired the movie, Blade Runner, but it's plot runs differently.

I found it quite enjoyable to read. It was thought-provoking on it's issues and I was very impressed with the way that the writer created a dark, empty and claustrophobi...
It's easy to see how this book inspired the movie, Blade Runner, but it's plot runs differently.

I found it quite enjoyable to read. It was thought-provoking on it's issues and I was very impressed with the way that the writer created a dark, empty and claustrophobic atmosphere. The human characters in the book were more complex and interesting than in the movie.

On the other hand, this is not the book to read in order to figure out the movie. The movie's plot was simpler and more cohesive. The book's story line is as murky and inconsistent as the future world that the book describes.

Basically, the book raised lots of new issues to think about and didn't add much to my understanding of the movie. It's a great book and I recommend it highly, if that's what you're hoping for.

posted by Hornbillette on June 23, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Classic Philip K. Dick, you just have to be in the mood for it.

Philip K. Dick is not so much of a science fiction writer as he is a mystery writer who sets his plots and characters in imagined future enviroments. His characters are interesting while humanly flawed and the plot twists keep you guessing and surprised. Unlike some s...
Philip K. Dick is not so much of a science fiction writer as he is a mystery writer who sets his plots and characters in imagined future enviroments. His characters are interesting while humanly flawed and the plot twists keep you guessing and surprised. Unlike some science fiction he doesn't focus on a narrative of a future world. The details just kind of sneak out naturally as part of the plot. What the future allows Dick to do is to change the rules and see how his characters fit into that environment. But the humans still act like humans with all their flaws, and the androids, maybe more so.

posted by RichGillock on August 2, 2012

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    The inspiration for Blade Runner, but different

    It's easy to see how this book inspired the movie, Blade Runner, but it's plot runs differently.

    I found it quite enjoyable to read. It was thought-provoking on it's issues and I was very impressed with the way that the writer created a dark, empty and claustrophobic atmosphere. The human characters in the book were more complex and interesting than in the movie.

    On the other hand, this is not the book to read in order to figure out the movie. The movie's plot was simpler and more cohesive. The book's story line is as murky and inconsistent as the future world that the book describes.

    Basically, the book raised lots of new issues to think about and didn't add much to my understanding of the movie. It's a great book and I recommend it highly, if that's what you're hoping for.

    12 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 2, 2012

    Classic Philip K. Dick, you just have to be in the mood for it.

    Philip K. Dick is not so much of a science fiction writer as he is a mystery writer who sets his plots and characters in imagined future enviroments. His characters are interesting while humanly flawed and the plot twists keep you guessing and surprised. Unlike some science fiction he doesn't focus on a narrative of a future world. The details just kind of sneak out naturally as part of the plot. What the future allows Dick to do is to change the rules and see how his characters fit into that environment. But the humans still act like humans with all their flaws, and the androids, maybe more so.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2010

    Cylons before Battlestar Galactica did it

    Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter on the now sparsely populated planet Earth. His job is to hunt "andys," slang for androids, that have escaped from the human colonies on Mars and Earth's Moon. The latest model of cylon, er android, the Nexus-6, is particularly wily; they resemble humans more closely than ever before. Most importantly, the Nexus-6 can almost pass a Voigt-Kampff examination, which tests an intelligent being for empathy, a quality androids don't possess. As Deckard pursues the six andys that eluded his predecessor, he finds that the line between human and android isn't as defined as he previously believed and starts to question the morality of his undertaking.

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the second Philip K. Dick work I've read (the other being A Scanner Darkly) and there is a theme that the author explores in both novels: an understanding of the quality that makes us human. In A Scanner Darkly, Dick was able to create a sympathetic character out of a double-crossing, drug-addicted undercover informant. Similarly, Dick makes sympathetic characters of his androids, showing their humanity even though they are not human. The bounty hunter Deckard starts to notice this too.

    Deckard begins to question his preconceptions when he is pursuing the opera singer Luba Luft. She cunningly accuses Deckard of being an android because of the ease with which he "retires" androids without feeling any empathy toward them. Deckard, of course, denies this, but a change in his attitude is revealed shortly, after Luft has been retired by Phil Resch, another bounty hunter. Deckard was touched by Luft's musical skill and starts to think that robbing the world of her talent, android or human, is insane. This is the first time Deckard feels empathy toward the "things" he hunts.

    Luft's death makes Deckard aware of the difference between himself and Resch. He is convinced that Resch is an android because of Resch's quick trigger finger (and his indifference to art, perhaps, as well). Deckard tells Resch, "You like to kill. All you need is a pretext. If you had a pretext you'd kill me." Despite his conviction, however, Deckard's test reveals that Resch is human. The result of the test is significant enough for both bounty hunters to try to make sense of it, with Deckard reasoning that Resch has a defect that makes him unsympathetic toward androids. Resch points out, though, that this isn't a defect; if he felt any empathy toward androids, he wouldn't be able to kill them.

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is filled with conundrums of this sort, in which the qualities that make humans human and androids android are flipped, mixed, rearranged and contemplated. Deckard, a bounty hunter, mourns a dead android and finds he has too much of the quality that androids don't possess. Those humans that can afford it use a machine to program moods for themselves; Iran, Deckard's wife, even programs depression for herself twice a month so that she feels bad about being left on Earth. John Isidore, a human whose intelligence was affected by the nuclear fallout on Earth, is considered sub-human, below the level of animals even, which are now highly sought-after because most of them died from radiation poisoning. The only friends he has are the escaped...

    [Due to BN.com's character limit, the rest of this review can be found at FingerFlow.com]

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    A great story. As they always say, "the book was better than the movie." I wasn't a huge Blade Runner fan, but I really enjoyed the book. It poses the classic Scifi questions about defining life. It's a quick read; for anyone with a few hours to spare, I'd highly recommend it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    Original and Entertaining

    This is a great book for escapism. If you've seen the movie Blade Runner and expect the same sense of intellectual challenge and ambiguity, you'd be disappointed. Not because the book is less interesting, it is just a lot more different that you'd expect. Nevertheless, it is a great sci-fi story and its short content makes it an easy read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Great Primer For Dick

    If you have never read any of Philip Dick's other books, I recommend you start here. Chances are, you have seen the film that was based on this novel (Bladerunner) and this is one of the easiest of his books to get into if you are not familiar with his style. Do not expect a lot of action, as this is a small but heady novel full of intriguing philosophical ideas and biting social commentary. if you like this, move on to Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said or A Scanner Darkly. PK Dick is a real treat for the mind.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2007

    A quick, interesting read

    This book by Philip K. Dick was a very quick read. The beginning of the book doesn't move so quickly, but once you get into the book, things start moving fairly fast. The book is primarily about one man's encounter with androids that have escaped and turned to killing humans. He is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Dept. and gets paid to 'retire' these rogue androids. When he receives a larger assignment than usual, some unexpected things happen when he is forced to fight the most advanced androids in existence, the Nexus-6 series of android. The way in which the author portrays the world adds a lot to the story and helps make a lot of the other things in the story that most people would normally take for granted make sense. However, at the same time, it can be seen as a sort of a dystopian view of the world (most everything is destroyed, people are grouped into 'regulars' and 'specials' based on how much brain damage they have received from nuclear fallout, etc), so if you don't enjoy that sort of book, this is probably not the book for you. If you're looking for a sci-fi thriller, this is also not the book. There are not very many action scenes in this book, instead philosophical ideas fill in this gap. I personally enjoyed the book. I believe most people would as well, if they can find the story engaging (easier after reading the first few chapters). It is definitely worth reading.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2001

    The best Book Ever!!!

    This is the best book I have ever read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Amazing

    Great book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Awesome

    Yup...awesome.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I hadn't read PK Dick since the late 1960s, and since I enjoyed

    I hadn't read PK Dick since the late 1960s, and since I enjoyed Blade Runner so much, I thought I should see what the writer had to say. Of course, it came as no surprise that the movie follows a different path. If they had stayed true to the books, no one would have seen the film. This is a dark and very sad novel. Reading it, as a fully-conceived idea of the world of the Nuclear Winter I was struck,over and over again by the persistence of both human denial and human ascendancy, despite all odds to the contrary. These people still find things to care about, even though there is little reason to. Unlike the feeble triumph of Cormac McCarthy's characters in The Road, Dick's characters gain nothing and once the bounty hunter has discovered how his work is actually affecting him, he understands the futility in life itself continuing under these conditions.

    The extremely touching counterpoint to the violence of his occupation is his own search for an animal to love -- one that actually needs him. The image of the rooftop pasture occupied by a robotic sheep is one of the most pathetic visions I have ever absorbed. This book left me sad, and without a great deal of hope for the future in the face of the hubris of our species. It is a master work, make no mistake. The writing held me throughout and only lapsed into murkiness when it fit the story, enhancing my emotional response to Dick's well-chosen words. I highly recommend this, but it is not a rollicking chase adventure like the movie was. The androids he hunts down are also not dreamy philosophers, like Rutger Hauer's character in the movie. They are barely passable, utility replicas with no redemption.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Greatly recommended!

    It's a shorter book but still dives deep enough to completely develop the main characters and the plot. It truly makes you wonder what things are actually alive

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Great Read

    While hard to follow at times (as is normal with PKD), it's a great book! Hard to put down!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2011

    Really amazing.

    Books like this don't come around all the time for me. I basically like every book I read, but I don't love all of them. But this book I can honestly say is amazing. I first tried to read it in 8th grade, and got about 80 pages in before I quit. And I just now picked it up again 3 years later. Now a sophmore in highschool I can appreciate it more. It has a good message and a very comfortable style of writing. I will definitely read more Phillip K. Dick.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    If you are hoping for Blade Runner, you might be disappointing.

    I was warned before I read this book that it was not Blade Runner, even though the movie was loosely based on the book. It was interesting that there were direct quotes from the book used in the movie though.

    This was a good read though. Hopefully our world won't turn out quite so bleak.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fresh+and+engaging%2C+even+now

    Very+different+from+Blade+Runner%2C+one+of+my+favorite+movies.++But+that%27s+a+fine+thing+in+this+case%2C+as+it+means+you+get+two+different%2C+wonderful+experiences.++This+book+is+thought-provoking%2C+funny%2C+and+entertaining.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2010

    INSPIRED Bladerunner..

    While a great book AND a great movie.. do not read this thinking its Bladerunner. The screenplay can at best be described as "inspired" by the book. That said its definately worth the read, but be sure to prepare yourself for a quirky add ride down 1960s style pulp fiction.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    A classic. One of PKD's best. It has so many levels of meaning I

    A classic. One of PKD's best. It has so many levels of meaning I never get tired of rereading it.

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  • Posted May 4, 2014

    Periodically it's fun to go back and read some of the classics i

    Periodically it's fun to go back and read some of the classics in Science Fiction; this novel, of course, became the movie Blade Runner. Character development may not be as detailed as in contemporary novels, but the concepts and ideas were original, insightful, and influential, providing a foundation for subsequent authors just as Shakespeare does for modern playwrights. The dysptopian view of this post-apocalyptic novel focuses on what it means to be human, and how we might someday deal with threats to that identity from androids with advanced Artificial Intelligence. Definitely should be on the shelf of any SciFi fan.

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  • Posted August 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book seemed to center around the question of empathy - whic

    This book seemed to center around the question of empathy - which humans,
    theoretically, have, and which androids do not. Bounty hunter Rick Deckard
    uses an empathy test to weed out androids, which are not supposed to be
    loose on Earth, from human beings, and then "retires" them from service. It's
    important to him, not because he's afraid of andys or has moral convictions
    about it one way or another (although there's one he'd like to boink), but
    because doing well at it affords him money/status.

    What bothered me about this is I didn't see/feel any human in it actually
    using or feeling empathy. There's this whole weird semi-religious thing
    where people tune into an "empathy box" to feel connected with other people
    who are viewing/experiencing an old man climbing a hill, Mercerism, but
    Rick doesn't have empathy for his wife. People in general, including Rick,
    don't have empathy for "chickenheads," people whose mental capacities
    have been damaged by radioactive fallout. There's a striving for status in
    possessing one of the few remaining live animals, instead of a robotic
    imitation, but that seems to be more self-love than true caring about another
    living being.

    In a book about emotional connection with other beings, I didn't connect to
    any of the characters, and I had expected to. It's an interesting dystopia
    presented, however.

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