Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
Rick Deckard’s job is to track, identify, and retire a small group of rogue androids.
When I started reading this, I thought I had seen the movie adaptation years ago. I was baffled by how different it was from my memory until I finally realized I had confused Blade Runner with The Running Man, a very different 80’s sci-fi film. Even expecting something completely different from what I got, I was pleasantly surprised to find this story so compelling right from the beginning.
The beginning of the book admittedly isn’t especially thrilling, but I still found it to be engaging. A bounty hunter, Rick Deckard, has replaced his deceased pet sheep with a mechanical replicant and desires only to have a real animal again. The problem: live animals in this world are both rare and expensive. The solution: if he can fulfill five bounties by catching rogue androids, he will be able to afford a real live horse. It’s kind of an absurd hook for a sci-fi, but it makes sense as the search begins and the story develops into something about humanity and empathy.
Although I enjoyed this story and would like to read the other Blade Runner books, I hated the romance in it. It was weird, and it always makes me feel icky when a woman is described as ‘childish’ or ‘adolescent’ in appearance by a man trying to hook up with her. That whole scene could have not happened and I don’t think anything would have changed. Outside of that brief encounter, I liked Rick’s journey of tracking the androids, questioning his reality, and the added perspective of John Isidore, who’s just doing his best.
Would recommend if you want a surreal sci-fi with light action about humanity.