“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.”
Published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (which was adapted into the film Blade Runner) is set on an Earth devastated by World War Terminus. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalks, in search of his prey – renegade replicants. But in Deckard’s world, things are never that simple, and his assignment quickly turns into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit – and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted…
As a big fan of the film Blade Runner, I was excited to pick this book up. However, I am usually more of a fan of sci-fi films than sci-fi books, as I just find it easier to escape into a new world when someone else has done all the hard work of creating it visually for me already. But I was excited to read my first Philip K. Dick all the same!
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. First of all, I didn’t expect the concept of owning an animal to show your wealth to have such a big focus, and that’s where the film and book are so different. So because I wasn’t expecting this, I found it a little odd that details of Deckard on the lookout for a new goat were more prominent than the bounty hunting itself. It’s a great futuristic idea, of course, I just wish the focus was the other way around.
Secondly, I was hoping this “new Earth” would be better described. I got a fantastic understanding of the context and history so I have no faults regarding this, but my only visualisations were from the film, so I was searching for more detail here.
Nevertheless, I love the idea of a test to tell humans and androids apart and where those boundaries lie. And more than anything, it’s a story that has inspired a phenomenal film so I love the foundations that it laid. I have no doubt as to why Dick is one of the most prolific authors in his genre and will always be interested in the film adaptations of his work, but maybe the books just aren’t for me.
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