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283 of 303 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Things Pretending to be People
This anti-robot novel is oft misunderstood by those who come to it with expectations formed by the pro-robot movie. The novel is essentially a paranoid fantasy about machines which pretend to be people. The pretense is so horrifyingly effective that a bounty hunter engaged in the entirely necessary task of rooting out and destroying these monsters finds that his own...
Published on March 23, 2007 by J. Whelan

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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WRONG EDITION
Completely disappointed and feel cheated for Amazon and Oxford not making it more obvious that the paperback was a rewrite....would go so far as to call the edition and sale fraudulent. What author wants their words re-written? Be very careful when deciding on which edition to purchase...the original is worth every penny and more....one of my top 10 books of all...
Published on August 13, 2011 by PKDFan99999


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Futuristic One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, July 24, 2001
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
In this futuristic novel, Rick Deckard is a post-apocalyptic bounty hunter contracted to "retire" fugitive androids, who winds up searching for the quality that makes him human - this is the engine that drives Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Surrounding the engine is a latticework of suggested alternate themes, which are introduced with spartan and objective efficiency. The accuracy and poignancy of Dick's prescience is only fully appreciated by keeping in mind the book's publication date of 1968, which is hard to do in light of its contemporary feel.
The book's accessability is heightened by Blade Runner, its cinematic interpretation, which gives the reader a sense of familiarity with Deckard's world. The year is 2021, and the Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear war, of a forgettable albeit unavoidable origin. Most of the Earth's "normal", or genetically intact, inhabitants have long since emigrated to Mars. What is left is a society of undesirables, either "normal" inhabitants with fringe employment or genetic misfits (termed "chickenheads") given to schizophrenic behaviors. It is a society addicted to 24-hour vacuous t.v broadcasts, artificial mood stimulation and a cultish brand of religion/mysticism, called "Mercerism". Most species of animals have been eliminated or rendered near extinction, making owning a "real" animal a symbol of social distinction.
Provision of a gratis sophisticated android servant is offered as an impetus for remaining inhabitants of Earth to emigrate to Mars; although, "chickenheads" are denied emigration or reproduction because of their perceived genetic inferiority. Posing a threat to this clearly delineated social order are independently thinking androids, escaped from Mars, and reverse-migrating to Earth. Deckard is hired to "retire," or terminate the fugitive androids, who are distinguishable only by their inability to invoke empathy for other androids or living organisms. Deckard's mission becomes confused when he begins to feel empathy for a female android, Rachael Rosen, further complicated his increasing more general antipathy to the task he performs.
At its surface level, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is remarkable because of Dick's ability to project the moral difficulties posed by Tower of Babel-like advancements in technology. Present is the luddite concern of the problem of creating technology, which becomes capable of surpassing human invention. However, the book owes as much to Ken Kessey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962) as it does its author's ability to foresee a technological Armageddon. The book's true concern lies in the eternal question of what it means to be human, which is compounded when humans attempt to classify individuals into clearly delineated categories and classifications. The same concerns Kessey expressed with the psychological classification of individuals in One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest are present in Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The difference is that Dick, in 1968, foresees the desire of individuals to be classified and receive artificial mood enhancers or detractors to deal with their classification -- a desire which emerged around the time of the millennium. (Now, isn't everyone some classification, i.e. ADD or maniac depressive, obsessive compulsive, etc.) Whereas, the mindset of Kessey's time was to react against any attempt to classify individuals. Also worked into the thematic stew is a curious examination of the role of religion and mysticism in the framework of an "advanced" society. Dick suggests the question of whether it is more important that people unite in their religious belief of a genuine religious article or whether it is merely sufficient for individuals to unite in a belief of something. Throw in a dash of the amorality of Camus and you have Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
With a sparsity of words, Dick has created a future of moral conundrums. It is a wonder that this work is not being contemplated, via multiple readings, by high school and college students throughout the country.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Androids" Are a Dream of Their Own, August 15, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
In Philip K. Dicks novel "Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep", Dick explores humanity not only in the near future, but also in the present. Although written in the sixties, Dick had a keen eye on what makes humans tick, emotionally as well as intellectally as he explored the life of Rick Deckard in the year of 2021. The cult classic hit movie BLADE RUNNER was loosely based upon this novel, however fans new to the book should be warned: the book is superior and vastley different from the movie.
In the year 2021 Earth is slowly recovering from a world war that has destroyed most of the animal population and drives the healthy humans onto other outworld planets, namely Mars. Existing animals are taken care of by the humans unable or unwilling to leave Earth,and according to society, it is a sign of prestige and honor to take care of these animals. Humans have developed not only androids to assist colonists on other planets, but also electronic animals so humans unable to afford expensive live animals are able to keep their dignety with fake animals that look almost real.
Already in the begining of the book, Dick has established a world that fits his unique style. Quetioning what is reality, identity, and consiousness is Dick's specialty. And nowhere else can you find that more prevulant in his protaganist Rick Deckard's conflict with himself as he pursues 6 renegade androids\replicants from the off worlds. During his pursuit, Rick encounters not only the replicants but also other characters that further Rick's journey into what seems is self-discovery.
Dick has not only established himself in the genre of scince fiction with his work, but has also showed what a true writer is. His ability to explore the characters lives in this particular story and expanding the readers awareness is a sign of pure genius. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" has this written between its pages.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lessons from the fall of man that never happened.. yet, June 9, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
Having read this book for the the third time I am only just now grasping the delicate message that Phillip K Dick so carefully wove into this novel. Despite the sucess of "Bladerunner", a movie that only slightly borrows from the book, and I think this is to the better.
Centered around a gravely wounded earth, that may or may not be dying, "Do Androids..." is a story about one man amoung the multitudes of humanity comming to the realization that he "feels" for the androids that he is employed to track and kill. The vehicle for his conversions is the bleakness that he feels within his own soul... I feel that he struggles with this inner sorrow right to the end of the book, with his discovery at the end being a glimmer of salvation, until his wife shuts it out...with the line "...its electric you know...", and you realize the signifigance of his struggle... his search for meaning, for reason to be, and a reason that the "andys" are not allowed to be. In his job, killing rogue androids, he gives a test, and empathy test, to determine the response... different for humans and androids, it is through this test that I feel he comes to pity that which he is forced to destroy. In the bleakness of the environment and that of his own soul, you can sense the struggle to continue, to go on living a human life. This is why I feel the title sums up Deckard's inner question... "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep." Do they feel as he does, only in a machine-like, autonomous manner, is his bleakness mirrored in the bleakness felt by Pris in her sorrows at the deaths of her friends... is this not a form of empathy. Does this not defy his reasons for judging them. I feel the lesson from this book is one of Mankind keeping a closer, more compasionate view of the thinks we alter and create. For us to realize that feeling is an unmeasurable quality... a thing beyond programming, or construction. It is a thing discovered. And I think Phillip K Dick answers this well.. by giving us no answer at all
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A readable problematization of the issue of personhood., March 1, 1998
Dick's book, far more so than the movie you have probably seen, problematizes the issue of personhood, as opposed to humanity. In the culture of the year 2021, the criterion for personhood is the ability to feel empathy, both for humans and for nonhuman animals. The culture has even built a religion, Mercerism, centered on empathy. Androids, who cannot participate in Mercerism, are used as slaves by humans who have colonized outlying planets. The murder and torture of animals is a crime, but the murder and enslavement of androids is required, despite the fact that androids are more intelligent than humans.
This is a readable problematization of issues of personhood which can be used to introduce the philosophically naive reader to questions about what it is to be a person:
-- Does intelligence matter?
-- Can a robot ever meet the criteria, or is there a soul or ghost in the human machine which can never be in the humanmade machine?
-- To what extent does slavery and cruel treatment construct beings as non-persons?
-- Does species matter?

Philosopher and non-philosopher alike can enjoy Dick's inventiveness (a mood organ for changing your moods, a response test for checking your empathy level, invented words like "vidscreen" . . .) and fluid writing style. The novel has action, but those looking for the action and suspense of the film may be disappointed. The book opts instead for a slower and more contemplative exploration of issues.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking but less than great prose, June 18, 2007
By 
E. Cetin (East Quogue, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Androids takes place in a not-so-distant future where a world war has spread a cloud of radioactive dust across the globe, many forms of animal species are extinct, many of the survivors have emigrated to colonies on Mars and the remaining humans are encouraged to emigrate, except for those who have been tested and classified as "specials" meaning the ones with diminished mental abilities because they have been affected severely from radiation. Emigrants are given androids, very sophisticated robots, as slaves. As the technology gets better, newly manufactured androids become more and more human-like, both in appearance and behavior, to the point that they are very hard to distinguish. Discontented androids sometimes kill their masters and find ways to smuggle themselves to earth, in hopes for a better life. In the post-world war earth, life is regarded so precious that owning and caring for an animal is both considered a highly moral life and a status symbol. Because real animals are so rare, many people have fake, very sophisticated and real-like electronic animals that they care for and hide from their neighbors the fact that their animal is fake. On the one hand there are bounty hunters who catch and kill androids, human robots which dreamt of a better life, evidently with some feelings. And on the other hand there is the value which people place upon animal robots. On the one hand there are intelligent, sophisticated androids like the one who made a successful carrier on earth as an opera singer; on the other hand there are hunters who emotionlessly kill her without regard to her artistic talent, or there are simple-minded specials. Throughout the plot, readers are given a lot to think about questions like what is life, what is empathy, where do you draw a line between the value of real and artificial life? It is a philosophical novel and the author puts all these questions before us with brilliant comparisons between characters. The only negative feeling that one might get is the unusual, somewhat simple prose style but overall, a very good, thought provoking novel.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Do people dream of them?, February 28, 2007
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
We all know that Bladerunner is based loosely on this book. Very loosely. They are two separate works - I like them both, but they need to be considered independently of each other.

It's an "After the War" setting, with the existential emptiness of not really knowing who was fighting, or who launched the weapons that scorched so much of the earth, or maybe even what the weapons were. It hardly matters, since the world is a radioactive waste, with daily reports on fallout the way we expect reports on rain or high tides. The governments want everyone out, to colonies on the other planets. As incentive, they offer a free robot to everyone who leaves, built to request. If you qualify for an exit ticket, there's no down side.

Unless you're one of the robots. Slaves, really, since they're carbon goo instead of steel and silicon. Of course, some few try to escape. Of course, since their factory-made minds are so agile, many succeed. Of course, the people (such as they are) who remain on Earth are fussy about "skin jobs" who killed real people (whatever that means) in order to escape. Enter Decker, a quasi-cop whose job is to bring back enough cells to confirm the kill.

Despite it forty-year age, the story remains strong and vivid. Lots of things morphed on their way to the silver screen, including J.R. Well, that's OK. They're different media. They tell stories different ways, and that means that they have different stories to tell. Even with the movie update, this one is still strong and original.

//wiredweird
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42 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WRONG EDITION, August 13, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
Completely disappointed and feel cheated for Amazon and Oxford not making it more obvious that the paperback was a rewrite....would go so far as to call the edition and sale fraudulent. What author wants their words re-written? Be very careful when deciding on which edition to purchase...the original is worth every penny and more....one of my top 10 books of all time....continue to reread through the years. Philip Dick is one of the best writers of the despair of human existence.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read all round..., June 7, 2001
"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" is a brilliant sci-fi adventure through the streets and skies of futuristic society. Set in 2021, this is a story of Richard Deckard; "Blade Runner", husband and just another person with the usual social ails.
A number of highly advanced androids have made a daring escape "off-Earth" and have come back to Earth to try and survive. Deackards job is to hunt these androids, who appear as much like humans as everyone else and neutralise them before they harm anyone.
Dicks ability and endless imagination drive you through the book, depicting the state that the world has become (the rare existance of live animals) and the demise of the rogue androids.
This was my first exposure to Dicks brilliance and I have since read "The Man in the High Castle" and "Planets of the Alphane Moon", which have both been excellent. If you enjoyed the movie adaptation, you will be thrilled with this books added detail and depth. Enjoy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful blending of genres--A must read, March 21, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
Philip K. Dick has always been loved by true fans of Science Fiction. He has long been hailed by many Europeans critics as a true giant of American genre writing. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is an excellent example of his ability to masterfully blend genres. In this book you'll see elements of the hard-boiled private eye, the mythic American West, romance, science fiction, and other genres.
But don't dismiss this book as pulp trash, it is one of the top five books used in college science fiction courses--and I even teach it in my "Introduction to Popular Culture" course at Bowling Green State University. This book, although it moves at a rapid pace, contains deep meditations on what it means to be human and has the power to truly move you. It is even more relevant today now that we are seeing the emergence of cloning and must begin to decide on issues which will force us to re-examine the rights of all living beings. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was filmed as the movie "Bladerunner" with Harrison Ford. Although the film adaption is a landmark in American cinematography the book is still far superior.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Science Fiction, July 20, 2003
By 
Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)
This was a really emotional read -- and fun. The story is pretty simple, a futuristic bounty hunter Rick Deckard is commissioned to "retire" six Nexus-6 androids. The Nexus-6 androids are remarkably human and it is only through the so-called Voight-Kampf test that Deckard can truly tell the androids from the humans. The Voight-Kampf tests androids for empathic responses; that is, the androids will respond callously to the test's life-death questions, whereas humans tend to respond with empathy regarding the destruction of life.
Herein lies the novel's poignant irony: Deckard is a human, and he's on a mission to "retire" the androids using this test. So the question becomes, Who is really human, who really has compassion?
I really enjoyed "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" but it is for a very different reason than say a Michael Crichton or Larry Niven novel. Dick's science is a little screwy/funny, but his heart was _so_ in the right place. Reading a Philip K. Dick novel is a little like looking at the wildest of Van Gogh's paintings, you know, where you can feel the desparation in every dash of paint. Technically it looks like the work of a teenager, but there's a grown man's heart on the line underneath the text of this story. And _that_ is why the next science fiction novel I read will most likely be a Philip K. Dick novel.
Stacey
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Les Martin (Paperback - May 28, 1996)
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