My husband bought me an incredible book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick. Ever since watching Season 1 of Electric Dreams on Amazon Prime, we have become addicted to his stories and was surprised by this gift which I hear inspired the movie Blade Runner.
After reading this book, I understand the lyrics and Janelle Monae’s style even more. She appears in Electric Dreams! I am so happy for her!
In the book, bounty hunter Rick Deckard “retires” andys(androids) for a living. He feels no shame in killing them because they are machines. His wife disagrees with his profession, but then again, his wife is addicted to the emotion box where a person can download feelings(so I guess this like a new drug. Pick an assortment of emotions per day). Eventually, Deckard finds himself in a moral quandary that could prove fatal for his journey as a bounty hunter and a husband…as a person.
“He wondered, now, about her, too. Some female androids seemed to him, pretty; he had found himself physically attracted by several and it was an odd sensation, knowing intellectually that they were machines...”(Electric Dreams, pg. 88, 2017, 1968)
What tripped me up good in the book, is that anyone could be an android. Opera singers, sales associates. You just never know. In order to figure this out, Deckard had to test them and some would become enraged that they are being tested.
What really makes this an exceptional work are the many messages displayed within the work. At some point I think the message could simply be: we are what we have to be, when we need to be it.
Then, another message towards the end could be: What is loneliness?
If androids can have sex, eat, drink, and rationalize…can they dream also?
What is the symbol of the electric sheep?
The problem with reading this book is you must sip it slow like wine. You could miss some intricate part of the message and it may get lost in the “kipple”, but when you step back and look over at the big picture you will question what it means to live- as the androids often do.
There are several pieces of backstory involved as well which serves as reminders of the world Deckard lives in. First off, nothing is alive, so when you find a live insect or animal you can sell it for a very high price. The electric sheep Deckard has on his rooftop is a reminder of the last living sheep he used to have.
Then there is the chickenhead J.R. Isidore, who lives alone in an apartment complex and is not very bright. He cleans up dead animals from roads and unwittingly “befriends” androids who are escaped from Mars.
I would go into more detail, but I must say the way the show Electric Dreams is filmed and directed, you get the same feel from this book.
So can androids really dream?
I think so 😉
Then again, I’m kinda weird…
I highly recommend this book for science fiction readers, speculative readers and fans of Electric Dreams.
Have you read any of Philip K. Dick’s books?
~The Write Web