Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Reviewed date: 2005 May 31
Also entitled Blade Runner
Earth has been wrecked by nuclear war. All who are able emigrate to other planets do so. A few remain, like Rick Deckard, bounty hunter. Deckard hunts escaped androids. As biological humaniform robots designed to look and act human, androids can pass as human. Only a trained bounty hunter with special equipment can positively locate and identify an android. Once identified, escaped androids are terminated.
Dick's novel explores what it means to be human and what it means to be alive. Androids are biologically alive and can pass for human. In some ways they surpass many humans: in intelligence, physical prowess, beauty. They have no empathy but they can fake it enough to fool any man. And yet despite their superiority to many men, androids are not considered human.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was filmed as Blade Runner, but the plot of the book is noticeably different and stranger than the movie. For example, the movie leaves out entirely the religion aspect: a religion called Mercerism preaches the sanctity of all animal life, even to the littlest spider or fly. It's a great contrast to the wanton killing of android life.
The book is good, if a little disjointed. (But that's Philip K. Dick for you.) I give it a four out of five.