Sometimes I pick up a book, and can’t remember why I decided to read it in the first place. I just seem to suddenly find myself half done and no idea why I started yet another one when I’ve still got three more waiting for me. That’s what happened this weekend. I finished Fool Moon on Saturday, and then last night I was lying in bed and realized I was not reading one of the books that has been on my “Currently Reading” list for a month or two, but was in fact reading a new book I didn’t remember starting! Not that I regret reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, of course, but I just wasn’t planning on it.

 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

 

Philip K. Dick is one of those science fiction authors I had always meant to get into, but never found the time or patience to read anything. Honestly the only thing I really knew about him, other than the fact that everyone who knows I like to read will recommend him as one of the best sci-fi authors ever, was that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the inspiration for Blade Runner, a movie I have never ever been able to watch all the way through. Or even past the first half hour. So like I said, I was rather confused last night.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a dystopia about Earth in the year 2021. Following a terrible World War, deadly radiation dust falls from the sky and most people have moved to a colony on Mars. Animals have become highly prized possessions, and those who cannot afford one fear that some day people will realize their pets are electronic copies. Increasingly advanced androids, designed to look and act like humans, are built as companions and workers on Mars, but occasionally one will kill its owner and run away to Earth. Rick Dechard’s job as a bounty hunter for the San Francisco police department is to find these rogue androids, who have been banned on Earth as a danger to the human race, and “retire” (kill) them. At the point that we come into Dechard’s life the newest and most advanced androids have recently escaped to Earth, prices on real animals have been steadily growing while the health of his electric sheep has been declining, and emotions can be controlled by machines.

There is also a new religion on Earth called Mercerism, in which people join together, through Empathy Boxes in the struggle of Wilbur Mercer to climb a hill while being attacked. It is this ability to feel empathy for another person that allows humans to be distinguished from the advanced androids, and it is Dechard’s job to administer empathy tests to separate the machines from real people.

I enjoyed Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The story is fast-paced and very exciting, with many plot twists and schemes by the androids to escape detection by the bounty hunters. But I will admit, I’m not sure that I fully understood the social and moral commentary the author was trying to make. Do I really need to perfectly understand a book to enjoy it? I don’t think so, and I fully plan on reading this book again and again until I know what it’s about! Slightly depressing, extremely thrilling, and recommended for someone (unlike me) who is willing to give this book the attention it deserves on the first read.

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