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- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (641 customer reviews)
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Did you like Blade Runner?
This is the story that movie was based on... and its so much more.
The movie leaves out lots of things from the book, and drastically... Read more
This is one of those rare occasions where the adaptation of the book for the movie was actually better than the book. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Rodney Thompson
it is a book that should be read multiple times because it is difficult to understand the first time through. personally, the ending was a bit flat. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Amazon Customer