Philip K Dick’s ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ paints an incredibly imaginative picture of a grim future earth. The book is rife with great ideas and the story deals with some very interesting themes that span from the details of human empathy to the importance of real or imagined religions.
Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco police department. When the only other bounty hunter in his division, Dave Holden, is injuried by an escaped Nexus-6 humanoid android, Deckard is given the assignment to ‘retire’ the six that remain. Initially Deckard is pleased to get the money to buy himself a real, organic animal pet rather than an artificial, electrical one. But as he hunts his prey, how he percieves these mechanical humans begins to change through those that he meets.
This is a dark book that describes an earth which to me is incredibly frightening; a world where most animals are all but extinct, the majority of human beings have emigrated to Mars to avoid the dust clouds of nuclear war, and with unidentifiable androids walking the streets, visually no different from the regular organic humans. PKD’s world could concievably happen in the future, making it as relevant now as it was back in 1968, and the ideas he has are full of imagination and inventiveness.
It seems, though, that when the story should be getting dramatic (such as the final confrontation with the Batys) that it is rushed and quickly becomes an unmemorable moment when it should be the most memorable of them all. The same can be said of Rachael’s sudden love for Deckard. It just seemed to appear out of the blue. Maybe I’m missing the point, but that was a gripe for me. The same can be said of the film.
But the characters are well fleshed-out and interesting to me, and the relationship of Deckard and his wife, Iran, very believable. The ending could be seen as anti-climactic but it’s actually a very real ending that works really well. Then there’s the idea of the ingenious mood organ, a machine that enables to reset your mood to how you want it for the day. PKD’s world is full of some great science-fiction touches.
I did enjoy ‘DADoES’ but not as much as I thought I would. There’s plenty of themes to think about during your read, but as a piece of entertainment there were times when it didn’t have enough urgency about it. Still, I can see why this is regarded as a masterpiece by some, it’s just it didn’t completely tailor to what I percieve to be a great book.