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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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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 March 16, 2015

    Interesting; mostly well-written. An enjoyable novel about huma

    Interesting; mostly well-written.

    An enjoyable novel about humans and androids, interactions between them, and philosophical principles about their similarities and differences.

    The parts about the mood organ, the electric animals and Mercerism were pretty weird.

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  • Posted August 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A mind-bending dystopian hero¿s quest through the looking glass?

    A mind-bending dystopian hero’s quest through the looking glass?

    Summary: An impending sense of desperation pervades this gloomy romp of Dick’s arguably most famous work. The author’s prose, sometimes criticized, is a swift reading. In trying to keep up with the schizophrenic twists and turns of the story—I think that the digestible writing is well balanced. Though the dialog can be stiff in parts there is so much depth in what is going on, the work as a whole would suffer if weighed down by verbose diction.

    Podcast: If you enjoy my review (or this topic) this book and the movie based on it were further discussed/debated in a lively discussion on my podcast: “No Deodorant In Outer Space”. The podcast is available on iTunes or our website: [...].

    *** * *** SPOILER WARNING **** * ***

    Review: Rick Deckard is chasing after six renegade androids in a post-apocalyptic earth. He’s a government agent/bounty hunter, whose main task is retiring escaped androids who are trying to blend in among humans. Sounds dangerous and exciting? Maybe. However, Dick gives the character a sort of “everyman” approach. Deckard is good at what he does, but it’s just a means to an end. And what is that? Well, that’s life baby. Deckard is just trying to get through the day like everyone else, and bring home a decent paycheck so he can afford the latest, coveted creature-comforts.

    In this world, that means real-life “animals.” Deckard needs to make money so he can buy a live “animal,” now a luxury in a world where nearly everything seems to be rock, plastic, metal or kipple (more on that later). World War Terminus has already rocked the planet sending a vast majority of human emigrants into the skies to establish new colonies on mars. The earth has emptied out a good number of people, and for good reason as the planet’s covered in radioactive dust. So many animals have since died off, that now it’s considered “chic” to own one. So much so that a whole cottage industry has rose up around creating fake robot animals complemented with fake veterinarians. In keeping up with appearances, Deckard replaced his recently died sheep with a robotic one. And yet he can’t quite get over it. He want’s a real one damn it, and he’ll destroy as many androids as he has to so he can make enough money to do so.

    He needs to. His marriage with wife Iran is strained. Everyday they dial-in their appropriate feeling for the day through the help of a bedside console known as a Mood Organ. One of my favorite lines of the book is when Deckard is trying to get his wife to dial in a happier mood from the console and she resists claiming: “My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.” (!) And yet, even though Deckard also tries to enhance his mood with the console he remains gloomy. He’s out their searching, looking for some kind of connection. His job is starting to weigh heavy on him and all he can do is hold out a little longer until he can find that next “thing” to set matters right.

    Iran (and Deckard to a different extent), finds some solace in the world religion known as Mercerism. The faith is a sort of communal virtual-reality experience where people of the world connect with one and another by watching a repetitive video of an old messiah-like figure plodding through a barren landscape of rocks. Mercer (the mysterious figure) toils along while getting occasionally stoned (and I don’t mean with drugs) by unseen forces, until he goes over this giant hill into the mysterious Tomb World. For some inexplicable reason, the worshipers, who engage this religion (also through a handheld console), experience the stoning. They even come away from the engagement with real-life injuries (though not severely). Iran seems to get something from this religion, a sense of belonging, a sense of community, which may be important in a world where mankind is slowly being siphoned away to distant planets.

    Whether or not this religion is genuine is up for debate – but then, that’s faith. There is an interesting subplot woven through the story where a 24-hour vapid TV personality host attempts to debunk this would-be messiah as a fake. Dick manages to blend the lines between the virtual, spiritual, and physical world in a way that makes the reader question what is real (in a good way). Can we ever really know? Deckard finds that Mercerism, or his faith, or is it his humanity, cannot be so easily dismissed by a television expose.

    As the messiah character toils uphill amid flying rocks, the reader can’t help but feel Deckard’s plight. Retire some androids. Make a little money. Buy something fancy. Then do it all again. Why? What’s the point? Mercerism seems to indicate that that is the point of everything. That’s what we all do. We slowly climb our hills, get a few rocks flung at us, and keep going. To where? The Tomb World? Who knows. The point is, we all have to do it. Nobody is exempt. It’s just a little easier to take when we can commiserate our woes with everyone else. To know we are not alone.

    That’s what makes us human. Separates us from the androids. Good old-fashioned “empathy”. In fact, that’s virtually the only way (besides bone marrow testing which will require a warrant) Deckard can determine if someone is really a some thing. Deckard must administer a verbal psychological test and monitor the reaction of the suspect with the help of yet another special device. But as technology increases, the androids are becoming harder and harder to detect—some of the androids don’t even know themselves that they are androids due to false memory implants (in classic Dick fashion even robots have to question what’s real and what’s not). In a great plot point, the author let’s us know that the tried and true “Voight-Kampf” android test has flaws. Apparently, people with mental issues or “flat affects” might elicit a false positive which puts Deckard in a conundrum because he doesn’t want to be blowing away real-life humans.

    The fear of finding a false-positive is not fully realized though. Much like the fear that the androids are going to “retire” Deckard before he can retire them. Dick shies away from action-packed cliff-hangers. We don’t completely fear the danger that Deckard will be killed off by an android, even though his predecessor was severely hospitalized by one and unable to speak to him about it. As other reviewers have pointed out, many of the android confrontations are over as quickly as they start. To his credit, I think this keeps the focus on the more important esoteric questions being raised rather than the adventure story used to illuminate the issues. We are there, with Deckard, wondering just as he is, why he’s doing it all? If he’s killed off, we’ll that’s not the main stake here—his sanity, sense of self, sense of morality—those are the things at stake.

    Even though the androids are definitely not human, they act and feel much like humans. Deckard sees this and he struggles with it, sympathizing for the androids he is seeking to destroy. One of the female androids, Rachel, seduces Deckard, putting him in a very precarious position as she tries to influence his actions. Things get really weird (is that even possible) when Deckard is picked up by the police, who seem to know nothing about him. This is Dick in his complete mastery. Deckard is held at a “second” separate police station and questioned in such a manner that we really begin to doubt who the androids really are. Is Deckard an android? Are these “other” policemen androids? Deckard even gives himself the “Voight-Kampf” psychological test at

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  • Posted July 6, 2013

    Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep are two ent

    Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep are two entirely separate beasts. Both are remarkable and both question what it means to be human but there the similarities stop. Read the book and watch the film or vice versus as both are enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, one of Philip K Dick¿s famo

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, one of Philip K Dick’s famous science fiction novels, is well known as the inspiration behind the well-known movie Blade Runner. In this novel, Dick tells a story of a dystopian society. After a World War in which nuclear weapons are used, the earth is succumbed by harmful dust. First the animals start dying. Soon everything starts to slowly degenerate as some people move to a new hope on Mars or stay on the decaying earth. As society evolves in these hostile environments, so does technology. Androids are not all uncommon to these future societies. Often time’s androids are a means for them to replace the loss of life, especially pets. This distinction between what is real life and what is manufactured life is often the underlying theme in the novel. 
    More than just a novel of a futuristic dystopian society, Dick’s novel is an exploration of what it truly means to be alive. This central idea almost seems to precede the plot/events in the novel. The novel follows a character named Rick Deckard who hunts androids or andys as they are often referred to. Rick hunts androids who have escaped from their masters on Mars and have made their way to earth to try to live their lives. I found that I honestly did not care to much for the success of his quest but more for the philosophical questions arising from the story. Often times in terms of the plot and the events that unfolded between Rick and the androids I thought were portrayed rather simple and quickly which seems inconsistent with the story. Without giving to much away, it seemedas thought there was not much of an actual fight for Rick to succeed. I thought what truly made the book interesting were the events that may not have been immensely important to the plot such as the scene between Rick and Phil, another bounty hunter, which did not actually make it into the movie Blade Runner. 
    Written in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep has an erie way of describing technology resembling new technological advances in modern society. It seems as though Dick’s future society grows nearer as new technology comes out, such as face time/Skype and genetic alterations and to some extent the Internet. While reading the novel, the TV show of Buster Friendly, a 24 hour talk show that seems to be the only thing people watch, not only reminded me of the constant news shows on TV but also of the internet. The internet, like Buster Friendly and his show is constantly on, constantly at people’s finger tips, and constantly relied on by so many people. Often times the Internet eliminates some social interactions we have and replaces them. In the book, many people were greatly isolated from society, living in outskirts, often alone; having the talk show of Buster Friendly often seemed to falsely give people a sense of togetherness. It seems as though people are wired to the internet like people are wired to Buster Friendly. Dick’s novel offers his interpretation of where technology is headed and their affect on society that can easily be compared to today. 
    Overall, I enjoyed reading the novel. Although there were many parts in the novel that I may have gotten annoyed with the plot, I thought that the novel offers a lot of food for thought and has an interesting subject. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    Philip K. Dick¿s, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is one of

    Philip K. Dick’s, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Is one of the most well known novels in the science fiction genre. The novel is set in San Francisco, California in 2021 after a world war. It is about a man named Rick Deckard. Rick is a bounty hunter whose assignment is to kill androids. The androids are these perfect replicas of humans who were made to do the hard physical tasks that humans do not want to do or are not able to do in the colonization of new planets. A group of androids came to San Francisco from mars and go on a killing spree of humans. Rick Deckard’s job is to find those androids and “retire” them, which essentially means he his job is to kill them. 
    At the Beginning of the novel, Deckard hates the androids. He thinks they are nothing but murders that need to be stopped, but as you get further into the novel, you see that Deckard starts to find himself contemplating his feelings about how he is starting to feel about the androids and if it is right to kill them our not. 
    I personally am not am not a big fan of science fiction, but I really did like this novel, and I think it would be hard to find someone who likes science fiction and did not like this novel.  The novel is great because you experience so many of the elements of science fiction. You will experience a futuristic time setting with the post apocalyptic, post world war time setting in 2021. You will also experience the use technology and new technology with the androids and some of the weaponry throughout the novels, but the main elements that are in the novel, that make any good novel are the conflict and resolution. The thing that is great about this book is, there is more than one conflict and resolution, there are three major ones. You have the conflict of real animals versus fake animals. You also have the conflict between how Rick originally feels about the androids and how his empathy and love for one android specifically gets in the way of him being able to do his job, and finally you have the main conflict of humans versus androids. What also makes this novel so great is the character development of the main character. He goes from a man that hates androids, and only cares about his social status and getting a real animal to up his status, to a man who begins to feel empathy for the androids and starts to view them as real people and things with lives of there own.  The last thing that makes Do Androids Dream of electric sheep? is, that you do not only get elements of science fiction throughout the novel, but you also get other elements that would interest readers who are not so into the science fiction genre. The story makes great and intense observations about religion, the nature of life, technology, and human emotion. As I said earlier, I am not usually a fan of science fiction, but I would recommend this book to anyone who was looking for a new great book to read. 

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  • Posted February 6, 2013

    Very cool book by a master sci-fi writer.

    Very cool book by a master sci-fi writer.

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  • Posted August 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Different than the movie

    I had seen the movie many times so my reading of the book may have been tainted. I loved the movie but thought the book was not quite as entertaining. It was funny how the electric sheep in the book, which was some key and interesting topics, never made it to the movie. It's a short book but moves along ok.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Dreaming of the perfect novel?

    Well, this isn't it. But, it's a good, solid novel. Dystopia, androids, guns. It's fun and somewhat thought-provoking. It's a good read, not for everyone, but recommendable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2002

    great, but not all it's cracked up to be

    This book has a huge cult following, as does Blade Runner (which was based on the book, in case for some reason you don't know this). But it didn't quite live up to what I expected it to be. Philip K. Dick is a great writer. And DADES is a great book, but I just didn't think that was all it was said to be. Perhaps his other books are the ones that hit you.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted December 31, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted November 11, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted June 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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