Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Right. So this is another bloody weird book. It follows some of the same plot as Bladerunner but it is significantly different in many ways.

The world is a bit fucked, most of humanity has left for Mars while Earth slowly succumbs to ‘the dust’. The basic plot of having to track down and retire some androids is there but it’s a bit weirder.

  1. There’s a religion called ‘Mercerism’ where people connect with each other through the ’empathy box’. Androids can’t connect to the empathy box. There’s some weird stuff about Deckard (the main character, the bounty hunter going after the Androids) fusing with Mercer or seeing him in real life. It gets a bit surreal at the end when he’s retiring the last of the androids.
  2. Everyone is obsessed with animals – an extension of Mercerism. Deckard has an electric sheep. There’s a long discussion about horses and owls at one point. Deckard later buys a goat. He later finds a toad that turns out to be an electric toad. It’s a huge theme!

Rachel also exists, she’s a lot more manipulative than in the film, she pretty much strings Deckard along. Deckard also cheats on his wife with Rachel. And then she reveals that she has slept with most of the bounty hunters in the area. Deckard wants to kill her, but doesn’t. She later kills his goat.

Does it pass the test? Maybe. There are so few characters that exist for any length of time. However, 3 of the androids are female and have fairly long sections in the plot (but 2 of them are killed by Deckard). Rachel is really quite interesting but the way she’s described in the part where she sleeps with Deckard is super creepy.

It has an air of surface level sexism:

  • Deckard’s wife does nothing all day it seems
  • all the other women are basically secretaries

Then there’s the whole thing about ‘specials’. Basically, because of the radiation or whatever is wrong with Earth, people get genetic disorders and become ‘special’. Basically, they become less intelligent, can no longer emmigrate and looked down upon by everyone else.

It’s just all a bit weird though, you can see they dropped a lot the weirdness and went for the relatively straight forward plot in Bladerunner.

Anyway, it was super weird. Still, it was a quick read and kept me interested, so maybe 3/5 stars.

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