Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick
Black Friday deals - an avalanche of bookish bargains, plus extra discounts and clearance items - live now at Foyles
|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Natalie Moran|
|Summary: A bleak and at times chilling novel with a way of speaking so plainly that the reader is deeply affected by the discontent of the few people still left behind in a world getting less hospitable by the second. This is a truly touching story of humanity, and everything but your average robot thriller.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: March 2007|
World War Terminus is over, and Earth is in ruins. While most people have emigrated to Mars, some continue to live their lives on Earth while radioactivity slowly impairs their brain and reproductive function.
Upon emigrating to Mars, all citizens were given a highly sophisticated android servant, and now six have escaped from captivity and fled to Earth, killing all in their path. Rick Deckard is the bounty hunter commissioned to track down and destroy these androids, almost indiscernible from humans, in return for a fee.
For years Rick has owned an electric sheep while trying to fool his neighbours, and himself, into believing he is caring for a real animal. In this world, most species are now extinct and live animals are expensive and rare. In risking his life to kill six escaped robots, Rick hopes to earn enough money to buy the ultimate status symbol, an authentic living creature. We follow Deckard as he risks everything in this world of hover-cars, highly adept weapons and 'mood organs' which enable the user to alter their emotional state at will.
As Rick tracks down these 'andys' we are drawn into the quest to find the answer to the question 'what is it, to be alive?' Deckard's interaction with the androids he encounters and his desperate struggle to justify his 'retiring' of these robots raise a lot of questions about mankind's dream of creating life-like robots in the future.
Although the book is relatively short Dick manages to fit in a wonderfully complex story, even going so far as to bring in a new ideological concept centred around machines that allow you to draw on the happiness of others for comfort. Of course the downside of this social system is that when Rick Deckard finally finds something in the way of happiness, he is torn between enjoying his own contentment and his duty to others - to share his happiness with them, thus diminishing his own emotions.
Philip K. Dick coins new words like 'kibble', loosely defined as useless objects which multiply over time. Newspapers, for example, are one day useful and the next irrelevant. And in this world, full of apartments nobody lives in, schools no longer open, and people not part of any real society, it is chillingly fitting. It is new terms like this which really epitomise the atmosphere of the novel, and Dick's stark prose and flippant mention of future technologies immerse the reader in an entirely realistic world that may one day become ours.
The novel is bleak at times and Philip K. Dick has a way of speaking so plainly that the reader is deeply affected by the discontent of the few people still left behind in a world getting less hospitable by the second. This is a truly touching story of humanity, and everything but your average robot thriller.
You might also enjoy Spark by John Twelve Hawks.
You can read more book reviews or buy Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.