Review: Do androids dream of electric sheep? - Phillip K Dick
A good novel, it was the inspiration for Blade Runner, one of the best SciFi films ever. The characters in the novel are similar to those of the film, but there are many differences as well. For instance, this novel is set in 2021, after nuclear war wipes out almost all animals and most of the world's population. Hence, status is attached to owning an animal, and our hero Rick Deckard own an electric sheep because he can't afford a real animal.
It's interesting to see the perspective of the author on technology. In the opening scenes, the protagonist Rick Deckard sets his Penfield mood organ to "a businesslike professional attitude". The mood organ is an electronic device you control by dialing a setting (like on a phone or rotary dial). Now, of course, SciFi authors resort to genetic engineering or neuropsycopharmacology (like Greg Egan's neuropharm machine in Distress). Later we are told that human-equivalent aritificial intelligences were created "since the seventies". Interestingly, Dick's androids are "bio-organic" in nature, not mechanical (like the robotic animals, the electric sheep of the title).
The best part of the book, however is what goes through Deckard's head. The state of mind of Deckard thats only hinted at in the movie is explored in detail in the book. Well worth a read, and if you haven't seen the movie, go and rent it!
2003 Humberto Ortiz Zuazaga
Last modified 2003-07-11 03:14 PM