Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Book - 1996
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A masterpiece ahead of its time, a prescient rendering of a dark future, and the inspiration for the blockbuster film Blade Runner

By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and "retire" them. But when cornered, androids fight back--with lethal force.

Praise for Philip K. Dick

"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world." --John Brunner

"A kind of pulp-fiction Kafka, a prophet." -- The New York Times

"[Philip K. Dick] sees all the sparkling--and terrifying--possibilities . . . that other authors shy away from." -- Rolling Stone
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, 1996, c1968
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books trade pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780345404473
Characteristics: x, 244 p. ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Blade runner


From Library Staff

List - The Handmaid's Tale
WVMLlibrarian May 19, 2017

Captures the strange world of 21st century Earth, a devastated planet in which sophisticated androids, banned from the planet, fight back against their potential destroyers.

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Jan 26, 2018

I am in a book club at work and this was the first book we read since the club's launch. When I requested Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep through my local library, I didn't realize that I had selected the graphic novel adaptation of this book; but I am so glad that I did. The artwork complements the story very well and the story itself is really interesting. Although Phillip K. Dick published this novel in the 60s, it is very reminiscent of the world today, which goes to show you that no matter how many techy products we develop, humans are humans are humans. We struggle with envy, insecurity, anger, and the desire to worship someone or something. We love using terms like primitive and progressive when it comes to describing human behavior & beliefs, but eventually you realize that regardless of the year change, our faults & weaknesses remain the same.

Dec 08, 2017

A fast read elapsed a short span, an effect on me will last much longer. Compact (story and characters), elaborate (concept and outer/inner landscape), and so far ahead of its time.
It's quite different from film Blade Runner, or extend further to different dimensions, e.g. the book delved deeper from human (regular and special) perspective, and the movie is equal on both human and replicant ("humanoid robot" in the book). As I love the movie so much, I can't tell right away if its inspirational source - the original book, triumph over.
I expect to read more Dick's novels.

Nov 01, 2017

The format of the book as an illustrated book was impossible to read. Print varied in color and was occasionally invisible on the illustrations. A very expensive comic book where the format completely overshadowed the contents.

Sep 17, 2017

***Spoilers Below***

I found the passage below in a blog post <> from 2011, I think it speaks cogently of Dick's distrust of technology and how the film focused rather more on humanity. I agree with the author that both elements are found in each work and it's a matter of greater emphasis in one or the other. We'll see how the new film deals with the subject.

In the 1982 film Blade Runner, the autonomous humanoid machines that the main character Deckard is tasked with hunting and killing are called "replicants". In the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel that inspired the film, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, they are called "androids". But that's a superficial difference compared to the divergent views of humans and technology in the two works.

Blade Runner has a curiously more positive take on replicants and a dimmer view of humans. In Androids, Deckard is introduced to us in bed asleep with his human wife, Iran, and the novel ends with their troubled relationship improved and Deckard going to asleep in the bedroom with Iran leaving the room to make a phone call on his behalf. In Blade Runner, Deckard has no wife or close human relationships and the film ends with Deckard running off with his love interest, a fugitive replicant named Rachael.

In the book, Rachael and Deckard have sex but for Rachael's part it's an attempt to manipulate Deckard, not out of anything like love. Later, when it's clear that Rachael did not succeed with Deckard, she goes to his home and kills his black Nubian goat. In the dystopian future of Androids, domestic and wild animals are exceedingly rare and expensive. Deckard pays a large down payment and signs a three-year loan contract in order to buy the goat.* Animal ownership is also a sacramental part of the dominant religion of Mercerism, being necessary for "true fusion with Mercer" ( p. 441).** Elsewhere in the book, Pris, an android, notes that animals are "sacred" and "protected by law". Another android, Roy, breaks in and adds "Insects ... are especially sacrosanct" (p. 549). Later, Pris and Roy methodically mutilate and torture a spider to the great distress of the human, J. R. Isidore, who found it. None of this is in the film.

Lack of empathy is a distinguishing feature of androids-replicants in the book and film but this comes across much more strongly in the book. In the film, the empathy deficit is at least partly the result of a human design feature—the replicants have an engineered four-year life span. In the book, the androids, including Rachael, are down-right sadistic but while they too have a four-year life span, it is not deliberate but the result of a technological shortcoming. In one of the final scenes of Blade Runner, the last fugitive replicant to die, Roy demonstrates empathy, saving Deckard's life, and then in his final moments Roy gives a beautiful soliloquy about what will be lost when he passes out of existence. No such scene exists in the book.

Jun 05, 2017

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity."
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction masterpiece by Philip K. Dick (PKD) that also served as the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. It was first published in 1968.

Apr 19, 2017

If you read this book thinking that your about to read Blade Runner, think again. It's not representative of that great film, in terms tone and story. The only thing it has in common is the overall plot line, a cop tracks several androids in order to retire them. Where as Blade Runner looked at them in a Hollywood bounty hunter/prison break style, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep explores the story from the idea of how real does fake have to be in order for the distinction to become irrelevant. Superbly written and succinctly explored, this is one of the greatest science fiction books written, by one of the most prolific writers of the genre.

Apr 13, 2017

This book explores several concepts left out of the film (mercerism) or de-emphasized throughout the film (inorganic animals), so there is a lot to appreciate about this book even for die-hard fans of Blade Runner. While in some areas the plot of this book could be tighter or made more significant by building tension and character development, reading this book has bolstered my love for the film as it has proved to be a separate but related experience, adding "new" details to the world formed in the film, "new" complexities to Rick Deckard's character, and "new" questions to wrestle with. This book is a must-read for those interested in philosophy of mind, cybernetics, AI, the question of what it means to be human, and the question of identity/memories.

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Aug 12, 2016

This book is not as good as the film "Blade Runner", but at the same time has material in it that would greatly improve the film. Here we find P.K. Dick questioning what it means to be human, and what it means to love. Other interesting points are a facades we build around us in order to impress our neighbors. Very interesting book.

AL_JEREMIAH Aug 09, 2016

In a post-nuclear setting where most of the earth is ruined, a bounty hunter tries to find and kill six escaped (very life-like) new androids. The overall theme is on empathy, and what it is (exactly) that makes humans different from androids. It’s a rather sad story with an underlying sense of guilt from the characters (one of the sure qualities that distinguishes a human from an android). PKD often made his points very cleverly and subtly, like in this novel, requiring you to really think about what the story is saying.

Jul 05, 2016

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, like many other Science Fiction novels, raises thoughtful questions about why we believe that humans are so special. Set in a richly detailed post-apocalyptic world, this short novel is packed full with powerful symbols and deep themes. What exactly does it mean to be human?

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Sep 17, 2017

"I am a fraud," Mercer said. "They're sincere; their research is genuine. From their standpoint I am an elderly retired bit player named Al Jarry. All of it, their disclosure, is true. They interviewed me at my home, as they claim; I told them whatever they wanted to know, which was everything."

"Including about the whisky?"

Mercer smiled. "It was true. They did a good job and from their standpoint Buster Friendly's disclosure was convincing. They will have trouble understanding why nothing has changed. Because you're still here and I'm still here." Mercer indicated with a sweep of his hand the barren, rising hillside, the familiar place. "I lifted you from the tomb world just now and I will continue to lift you until you lose interest and want to quit. But you will have to stop searching for me because I will never stop searching for you."

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."

Oct 19, 2011

He thought, too, about his need for a real animal; within him an actual hatred once more manifested itself toward his electric sheep, which he had to tend, had to care about, as if it lived. The tyranny of an object, he thought. It doesn't know I exist. Like the androids, it had no ability to appreciate the existence of another.

Wolvie Aug 12, 2009

You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.

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Oct 29, 2013

sannuus thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Jul 21, 2012

everydayathena thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Oct 02, 2013

Do Androids dream of electric sheep? Do androids dream at all? Do they hope for something better? Humans have dreams and hopes, and humans have empathy. How and why have these traits come about? Research on this can be found, yet here, Dick has explored what happens when these traits are missing. How cold logic and curiosity can take over, and how when the pain in others does not register, or the pleasure for that matter, lead ultimately to worse and deadly choices. Can a person live without these qualities? Would they be condemned by their peers? What happens when we remove the spider's legs? Does it make a difference if the spider is artificial? I personally was intrigued when a discussion about judgment came up, or at least it did in my mind. A being exists which is pure acceptance, and lacking in judgment. Lacking judgment allows for a more clear perception of the worald, and a release from stress. What happens when this point is reached, and can it be reversed? Can a mind go from complete numbing acceptance to the strong opinion and emotional reactiveness which seems more common to human nature. If you, or anyone, lacked empathy, how would you go about testing for its existence in others? At some point, though we may recognize the pain of another, most people have committed some act at the painful expense of someone else. So, then, does empathy only give recognition of feeling? Are some more susceptible to their empathic sense than others? I would imagine so; in fact, I'm sure I've observed this. If your arrival to this work was due to watching the film Blade Runner do not expect too much similarity. Certainly, many of the characters and ideas, and even at times the plot, seem to go with the film, but ultimately it is quite a different experience. The landscape of Dick's future is hard and polluted. So much so that it can take lives, and souls. Try not to let the imagery of the film be the backdrop when you read, for it is not quite the same. And, in order to prolong the inevitable build-up of kipple, I suggest checking this book out from the library so that you can return it before it breaks down... Then again, I would consider one worth keeping in the personal collection.


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