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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick, Robert Zelazny After the hellish events of World War Terminus, humanity decided to jump ship and establish colonies on Mars using the assistance of organic based android slaves. Not everyone booked a one way ticket though, several have stayed behind; forced to live among radioactive dust and the ruins of a once prosperous planet.

Despite the bleakness of life on Earth, the one true solace you can take comfort in is owning an honest-to-goodness real life animal. As you can imagine, the price to bring one home can be astronomical and for Bounty Hunter Rick Deckard, taking down eight escaped androids – or andys as they’re dubbed – could potentially fund his animal owning dream. Or at least provide him with a healthy down payment.

I was so disinterested during the first fifty pages that I worried I would have to force myself to get through this – which is never a great feeling when you get around to picking up a novel so universally loved. When a classic fails to strike that same chord with you as it does with so many other readers, you begin to question your own literary pallet.

Thankfully, that particular brand of anxiety doesn't last long. As soon as Deckard is given his assignment and ventures out in pursuit of his prey, the story picks up and Dick starts to ask some very interesting questions of his audience. Just what exactly does it mean to be human? When does a life become significant and cease being expendable? He’s not going to give you an answer either. It’s all subjective anyway. I have friends who can empathize with animals more than they probably can with other humans – does that mean that as a species, we’re all going to become vegetarians? Probably not. The author just wants you to consider how self-righteous we are and if we have the capacity for change.

For all the importance Deckard puts on the Voight-Kampff scale and determining whether or not an android is capable of empathy, we sure shit the bed on that one ourselves by blowing up the whole damn world and everything in it.