Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Book - 1996
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A masterpiece ahead of its time, a prescient rendering of a dark future, and the inspiration for the blockbuster film Blade Runner

By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and "retire" them. But when cornered, androids fight back--with lethal force.

Praise for Philip K. Dick

"The most consistently brilliant science fiction writer in the world." --John Brunner

"A kind of pulp-fiction Kafka, a prophet." -- The New York Times

"[Philip K. Dick] sees all the sparkling--and terrifying--possibilities . . . that other authors shy away from." -- Rolling Stone
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1996, c1968.
ISBN: 9780345404473


From the critics

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Jun 30, 2018

I can appreciate the book's focus on philosophical questions of morality, it definitely gave me some food for thought. However, I found the pace was sometimes lagging and I would have liked a bit more action. Additionally, the religious beliefs of characters that play a relatively big role in the story were not very well explained. That being said, I did enjoy the aspects of the story that revolved around the value of animals and I liked the development of the main character.

Jun 19, 2018

"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" is a story that isn't always coherent on what's actually happening. Unlike the movie, animals are coveted now as the Earth atmosphere has become toxic. This alludes to the title of the book. The movie is nothing like the book. It's important to remember that the book inspired the movie and it isn't an adaptation of the book itself. With that in mind, don't expect to like the book if you really liked the movie.

May 16, 2018

A very enjoyable read but I liked the movie it inspired better.

Mar 11, 2018

I didn't rate this book as highly as I would have preferred. Despite the hooray and praise surrounding the novel it failed to enthrall me. I struggled through every chapter, but I tried to keep an open mind to the ideas an social commentary the author was making. From a literary context the novel is well written, well organized, and the story creates a world full of imagination. However, I had a very hard time relating the main character and an even more difficult time relating to his wife or to Rachel. But, I contemplate the fact that it may be the authors point to make his characters difficult to relate too considering most of them are humanoid robots. However, even Deckerd with his needy disposition to 'keep up with the joneses' and snide, near caustic, attitude towards all female characters, failed to inspire empathy. If you want a dystopian novel that presents human desire for empathetic connection in a existentialist, materialistic world yet robs you of that emotional fulfillment then this is the novel for you. Please don't misunderstand, the author is an imaginative genius and his novel presents incredible themes and perceptions on modern society - I simply didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped.

Feb 21, 2018

Very interesting book, especially given it was the model for The Blade Runner movie, the first one, which by the way is the best sci-fi movie ever made. That's not just my opinion, most critics agree... Further interest stems from that it was written in 1968 and was surprizingly innovative for that time. I suppose I've underestimated what good writers are capable of regardless of when they lived,.
For the Blade Runner fans the movie does not follow the book's plot much, and actually the movie's plot is much, much better.

Jan 26, 2018

I am in a book club at work and this was the first book we read since the club's launch. When I requested Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep through my local library, I didn't realize that I had selected the graphic novel adaptation of this book; but I am so glad that I did. The artwork complements the story very well and the story itself is really interesting. Although Phillip K. Dick published this novel in the 60s, it is very reminiscent of the world today, which goes to show you that no matter how many techy products we develop, humans are humans are humans. We struggle with envy, insecurity, anger, and the desire to worship someone or something. We love using terms like primitive and progressive when it comes to describing human behavior & beliefs, but eventually you realize that regardless of the year change, our faults & weaknesses remain the same.

Dec 08, 2017

A fast read elapsed a short span, an effect on me will last much longer. Compact (story and characters), elaborate (concept and outer/inner landscape), and so far ahead of its time.
It's quite different from film Blade Runner, or extend further to different dimensions, e.g. the book delved deeper from human (regular and special) perspective, and the movie is equal on both human and replicant ("humanoid robot" in the book). As I love the movie so much, I can't tell right away if its inspirational source - the original book, triumph over.
I expect to read more Dick's novels.

Nov 01, 2017

The format of the book as an illustrated book was impossible to read. Print varied in color and was occasionally invisible on the illustrations. A very expensive comic book where the format completely overshadowed the contents.

Sep 17, 2017

***Spoilers Below***

I found the passage below in a blog post <> from 2011, I think it speaks cogently of Dick's distrust of technology and how the film focused rather more on humanity. I agree with the author that both elements are found in each work and it's a matter of greater emphasis in one or the other. We'll see how the new film deals with the subject.

In the 1982 film Blade Runner, the autonomous humanoid machines that the main character Deckard is tasked with hunting and killing are called "replicants". In the 1968 Philip K. Dick novel that inspired the film, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, they are called "androids". But that's a superficial difference compared to the divergent views of humans and technology in the two works.

Blade Runner has a curiously more positive take on replicants and a dimmer view of humans. In Androids, Deckard is introduced to us in bed asleep with his human wife, Iran, and the novel ends with their troubled relationship improved and Deckard going to asleep in the bedroom with Iran leaving the room to make a phone call on his behalf. In Blade Runner, Deckard has no wife or close human relationships and the film ends with Deckard running off with his love interest, a fugitive replicant named Rachael.

In the book, Rachael and Deckard have sex but for Rachael's part it's an attempt to manipulate Deckard, not out of anything like love. Later, when it's clear that Rachael did not succeed with Deckard, she goes to his home and kills his black Nubian goat. In the dystopian future of Androids, domestic and wild animals are exceedingly rare and expensive. Deckard pays a large down payment and signs a three-year loan contract in order to buy the goat.* Animal ownership is also a sacramental part of the dominant religion of Mercerism, being necessary for "true fusion with Mercer" ( p. 441).** Elsewhere in the book, Pris, an android, notes that animals are "sacred" and "protected by law". Another android, Roy, breaks in and adds "Insects ... are especially sacrosanct" (p. 549). Later, Pris and Roy methodically mutilate and torture a spider to the great distress of the human, J. R. Isidore, who found it. None of this is in the film.

Lack of empathy is a distinguishing feature of androids-replicants in the book and film but this comes across much more strongly in the book. In the film, the empathy deficit is at least partly the result of a human design feature—the replicants have an engineered four-year life span. In the book, the androids, including Rachael, are down-right sadistic but while they too have a four-year life span, it is not deliberate but the result of a technological shortcoming. In one of the final scenes of Blade Runner, the last fugitive replicant to die, Roy demonstrates empathy, saving Deckard's life, and then in his final moments Roy gives a beautiful soliloquy about what will be lost when he passes out of existence. No such scene exists in the book.

Jun 05, 2017

"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."
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction masterpiece by Philip K. Dick (PKD) that also served as the inspiration for the movie Blade Runner. It was first published in 1968.

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Sep 17, 2017

"I am a fraud," Mercer said. "They're sincere; their research is genuine. From their standpoint I am an elderly retired bit player named Al Jarry. All of it, their disclosure, is true. They interviewed me at my home, as they claim; I told them whatever they wanted to know, which was everything."

"Including about the whisky?"

Mercer smiled. "It was true. They did a good job and from their standpoint Buster Friendly's disclosure was convincing. They will have trouble understanding why nothing has changed. Because you're still here and I'm still here." Mercer indicated with a sweep of his hand the barren, rising hillside, the familiar place. "I lifted you from the tomb world just now and I will continue to lift you until you lose interest and want to quit. But you will have to stop searching for me because I will never stop searching for you."

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."

PimaLib_JB Oct 28, 2014

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday's homeopape. When nobody's around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you go to bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up the next morning there's twice as much of it. It always gets more and more."

Oct 19, 2011

He thought, too, about his need for a real animal; within him an actual hatred once more manifested itself toward his electric sheep, which he had to tend, had to care about, as if it lived. The tyranny of an object, he thought. It doesn't know I exist. Like the androids, it had no ability to appreciate the existence of another.

Wolvie Aug 12, 2009

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.

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Oct 29, 2013

sannuus thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

Jul 21, 2012

everydayathena thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Oct 02, 2013

Do Androids dream of electric sheep? Do androids dream at all? Do they hope for something better? Humans have dreams and hopes, and humans have empathy. How and why have these traits come about? Research on this can be found, yet here, Dick has explored what happens when these traits are missing. How cold logic and curiosity can take over, and how when the pain in others does not register, or the pleasure for that matter, lead ultimately to worse and deadly choices. Can a person live without these qualities? Would they be condemned by their peers? What happens when we remove the spider's legs? Does it make a difference if the spider is artificial? I personally was intrigued when a discussion about judgment came up, or at least it did in my mind. A being exists which is pure acceptance, and lacking in judgment. Lacking judgment allows for a more clear perception of the worald, and a release from stress. What happens when this point is reached, and can it be reversed? Can a mind go from complete numbing acceptance to the strong opinion and emotional reactiveness which seems more common to human nature. If you, or anyone, lacked empathy, how would you go about testing for its existence in others? At some point, though we may recognize the pain of another, most people have committed some act at the painful expense of someone else. So, then, does empathy only give recognition of feeling? Are some more susceptible to their empathic sense than others? I would imagine so; in fact, I'm sure I've observed this. If your arrival to this work was due to watching the film Blade Runner do not expect too much similarity. Certainly, many of the characters and ideas, and even at times the plot, seem to go with the film, but ultimately it is quite a different experience. The landscape of Dick's future is hard and polluted. So much so that it can take lives, and souls. Try not to let the imagery of the film be the backdrop when you read, for it is not quite the same. And, in order to prolong the inevitable build-up of kipple, I suggest checking this book out from the library so that you can return it before it breaks down... Then again, I would consider one worth keeping in the personal collection.


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