Sci-fi books are fascinating works of literature because they really push the boundries of amazing and dream-like technology. Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? does just that and asks difficult questions. Keep reading for a brief summary and why you should read this classic novel!
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: Summary
Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter in San Fracisco and works for the police department. He is given the assignment to retire (kill) six androids that have escaped from Mars to Earth. These androids are new and highly intelligent and are made of organic matter making it difficult to tell them apart from humans.
To tell the androids apart from humans, an empathy test is given to the subject in question. The latest empathy test however, is not fully reliable. The Rosen Association tries to get Deckard to drop the case and will go to any lengths to do so.
Deckard heads out and hunts the androids and tries to make them take the empathy test. But this task turns out to be a lot more difficult than Deckard imagined. He wanted to use the money from this mission to replace his electric sheep and buy a live animal for his depressed wife. Now, Deckard must come to terms that the androids he is supposed to kill are more human than anyone could have imagined.
First published in 1968, this novel went on to be nominated for the Nebula Award. It should have won the award but it is what it is. The novel has been overshadowed by the 1982 movie adaptation titled Blade Runner. My guess is that this may partly be due to the second plot of the novel that feels like a whole different book. I’m sure many readers were left confused by that.
I loved this novel and I loved how well thought out it was. Very few books can pull off something like this. Dick is a great writer and could easily have written sequels for Deckard if he wanted to. This is a novel that I often find myself thinking about.
In later versions of the book, the title Blade Runner was added and it appears on some editions so don’t let that confuse you. The popularity of the movie lead to the book adding that name. I do think they should have kept the original name for the movie because of how unique it is but Hollywood does its own things to sell.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone because it is great writing disguised as a sci-fi novel. The genre isn’t appealing to a lot of people but that is the book’s strength. It uses everything to make a point instead of just telling a another simple story.