Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

I’m a big fan of sci-fi and dystopian novels.  I love the way that a good writer can create a complete world of fantasy and then sell it to the reader as if it’s reality.  I’m the perfect reader for this type of novel as I get completely absorbed and really believe in the story, however crazy it gets.

First published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in a future where Earth has been almost destroyed by war.  Vast numbers of people have emigrated to Mars, but some have chosen to remain behind on Earth.  Rick Deckard, the main character, is a bounty hunter living in San Francisco who tracks and ‘retires’ androids for a living.  One day he gets his dream break and is given the chance to prove himself in his job, but the closer he gets to the androids he must destroy, the more he finds himself sympathising with them and the less he wants to carry out his task.

Philip K. Dick’s imagination has provided plenty of material for Hollywood film producers: as well as writing the short story Minority Report and the novel A Scanner Darkly, both later adapted for the big screen, the film Blade Runner is loosely based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I have to admit that it’s not my favourite ever sci-fi novel, but I still enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to any sci-fi fan.  It’s a pretty quick read, simply written, with plenty of clever futuristic inventions and plot twists to ensure neither readers nor the characters know who or what to believe.  It’s definitely revived the sci-fi geek in me – I haven’t actually read any for a while – and will hopefully be reviewing more of the same in the near future…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joachim Boaz
    Sep 23, 2011 @ 23:27:20

    It also has important philosophical undertones which I found quite fascinating — the revelation moment that Dekard has when he kills the android opera singer — they might have some “humanity” regardless of how twisted the majority of the androids are (for example, torturing the “chicken head” by pulling the legs of the spider!).

    PKD’s best has to be Martian Time-Slip or perhaps Ubik (The The Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is quite good as well).


    • TheBrontëSister
      Sep 24, 2011 @ 11:34:21

      Thanks for your comments. I completely agree and definitely found those parts thought-provoking. Not knowing who is and who isn’t actually an android is also a clever way of hammering home that point about “humanity”. It’s a different way of looking at the idea of what “civilised” means – as in Brave New World.

      Your blog looks really interesting – I definitely need to read some more sci-fi classics. Thanks for the recommendations – I’ll try those!


  2. Joachim Boaz
    Sep 25, 2011 @ 19:30:45

    Thanks for the kind words! A warning: my blog slogs (sometimes glides) along the more esoteric avenues…. But, if you want a list of the classics definitely check out the Hugo Award list (given to the best sci-fi novels of each year). I do have a best of list but it’s from the existence of my blog so doesn’t include a lot of the classic which I read many years back…


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