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Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1987

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,039 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a book that most people think they remember and almost always get more or less wrong. Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner took a lot from it, and threw a lot away. Wonderful in itself, the film is a flash thriller, whereas Dick's novel is a sober meditation. As we all know, bounty hunter Rick Deckard is stalking a group of androids who have returned from space with short life spans and murder on their minds--where Scott's Deckard was Harrison Ford, Dick's is a financially strapped municipal employee with bills to pay and a depressed wife. In a world where most animals have died, and pet keeping is a social duty, he can only afford a robot imitation, unless he gets a big financial break.

The genetically warped "chickenhead" John Isidore has visions of a tomb-world where entropy has finally won. And everyone plugs in to the spiritual agony of Mercer, whose sufferings for the sins of humanity are broadcast several times a day. Prefiguring the religious obsessions of Dick's last novels, this book asks dark questions about identity and altruism. After all, is it right to kill the killers just because Mercer says so? --Roz Kaveney, Amazon.co.uk

From Publishers Weekly

In Dick's futuristic dystopian novel, life has become a tenuous existence for those who have stayed behind after the war and exodus to other planets. Rick Deckard struggles as a bounty hunter in San Francisco to destroy a new breed of androids nearly undetectable to humans. However, he finds himself battling with empathy for the supposed lifeless beings—especially when he must team up with one to achieve his goal. Dick blends the detective story with science fiction and a bit of philosophy. Brick is a perfect match for one of Dick's most memorable novels. He maintains Deckard's grittier disposition and a range of other human and inhuman characters, but also provides the inflection and morose tones found in the story's more somber moments. Not all of his female voices are completely believable. However, one of Brick's most gifted abilities lies in his quivering voice used throughout for emphasis and mood. A Del Rey paperback. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Blade Runner
  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (July 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345350472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345350473
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,039 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Whelan on March 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
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 humanity has become imperiled.

The novel "DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?" re-titled "BLADE RUNNER" to tie it to the Ridley Scott film loosely based on it, remains available under either title (and with separate entries on AMAZON), but it is the same book. The film studio wanted to market a "novelization" of the film, but PKD adamantly refused to authorize this, forcing them to instead market his original novel under the film's title. Good move, Phil!

This decision, however, has led to confusion and/or disappointment when readers approach the novel with expectations formed by the film. Many reviewers here (whether they like the book, the film, or both) have commented on how different they are. Few seem to realize, however, the extent that they are in direct and fundamental conflict. Some praise the book for tearing down the distinction between man and machine or promoting other nihilistic views and pro-robot messages that the author would have found abhorrent. Others pan it for lack of focus, or for otherwise failing to promote the film's pro-robot agenda as effectively as the film did.

The book is anti-robot and pro-human, and seeks to uphold the distinction between robot and human, and between illusion and reality, in the face of a most-insidious challenge.
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Format: Paperback
Other SF writers have ideas; Philip K. Dick had visions. In fact, all of his visions may be said to be part of a single Uber-vision, a life-long attempt to construct a picture of the world and to ask meaningful questions about it. Most of his SF novels were different "takes" on this vision and explorations of those questions. To say, as so many people have done (including Dick himself), that his themes are "what is reality" and "what is human", is to touch only on the surface of the problems he was grappling with. It is necessary to understand how thoroughly Dick lived with his vision of life to know what his explorations meant, especially if one wishes to grasp their emotional center.

Take this novel for instance (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). One could read it as if it were an ordinary SF novel and be fascinated by its "ideas", such as androids with false memories or the economy of real-animal trade in a post-apocalyptic setting -- in the same way that some fans of the "Star Trek" shows are interested in the structure of the Federation, the nature of the Borg, etc. But Dick's ideas are nothing more than access points to his larger vision, and the novel has some interesting little conduits that can take you there.

One thing of note (that few notice) is the idea of the "Penfield mood organ" which triggers an argument between Deckard and his wife in the opening chapter. Apparently one selects a desired emotional state and "dials in" settings to send one's brain the electrical signals that create that emotion, such as "pleased acknowledgment of husband's superior wisdom in all matters". The gadget is obviously named after Wilder Penfield, 20th century pioneer in brain mapping research.
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Comment 99 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes one wonders why some people even bother to read. If you are a fan of the movie Blade Runner, and you are a little disapointed by this book, then shame on you. You shouldn't be reading books in the first place then! Rarely can movies capture all the themes and ideas of a book, and rarely can books capture the artistic cinematography of film. The two media are separate. Treat them as such.
What Blade Runner and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? are about is the routine of police bounty hunter Rick Deckard. His job is to hunt down and "retire" fugitive androids. But what the movie only scratched the surface of is WHY those androids are fugitives. Fans of the character of Data from Star Trek, or of the computer Mike from Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress will find the familiar theme of what it is that defines the difference between artificial intelligence and artificial life.
This is the realization that Deckard comes to and must deal with: these androids are not mere machines with off-switches, they are living creatures, aware of their own existence and their own mortality. In the post-nuclear holocaust world that Deckard exists in, humans define life by their ability to feel empathy. Empathy for the lives of each other, empathy for the lives of the remaining animal species of earth decimated by fallout, or empathy for artificial life. Eventually, Deckard questions his own ability to feel empathy, and therefore, his own humanity. For if being alive is about feeling empathy, then how can he truly be alive without feeling empathy for the living machines whose job it is for him to kill.
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