[Review] Do Androids dream of electric sheep?

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“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.”

This is probably the most famous quote out of the 1982 Ridley Scott movie “Blade Runner” – yet it is nowhere to be found in the source material, Philip K. Dick’s “Do androids dream of electric sheep?”.

I am a science fiction fan, yet I am continuously baffled by how many of the classics I haven’t read yet. Dick’s 1966 novel is one of those classics I hadn’t read. And I must say, I don’t think I have ever consciously sat down and watched the movie adaptation either. I heard its very different to the book.

Anyways, a couple of weeks ago I pulled the book off my shelf and read it. Its not very thick, but its also not very easy to read. I consider myself rather fluent in the english language, even though its not my mother tongue. But one has to pay attention in this novel and I will probably have to read it again some time.

I guess the plot is pretty well known. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department somewhere in the future. He hunts androids, who are not allowed to be on earth, but will only be used on the colony worlds. The novel doesn’t go into too much detail regarding this, only that the androids must be hunted and retired – which means destroyed really.

Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep

The setting of the world is pretty dystopian. Most humans either died or left the planet, after a great war called “World War Terminus”. Only a few people are left on earth, mostly people deemed unfit to relocate to the colony worlds.

Dick’s description of the world is pretty bleak, I could easily imagine the desolation. Whole skyscrapers pretty much empty, with only a handful of people scraping out a meager existence. Owning life stock is a great privilege and also something of a societal obligation. Television is reduced to a single program that runs around the clock.

Outside of a few hints and bits here and there you don’t get to know much about the world, or what brought on the war, and who won. You don’t learn about the colony worlds, only that most people went there and that androids are not allowed to come back from them.

I am usually torn between wanting to have stuff spelled out for me and imagining it myself. Philip K. Dick manages to evoke rather vivid pictures in my mind of the bleakness of this future.

Overall, I really liked the book and would recommend it to any sci-fi fan out there. I you are like me and haven’t yet read this classic – do it. Now.

Just so that not everything on this blog is about Warmachine, I am starting to write short reviews of the books, movies and shows I am reading or watching. Expect more of these in the coming weeks.

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