Book #45: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was really weird.

It’s set in some futuristic, post-apocolyptic society where nuclear war has basically destroyed Earth and most of the genetically, physically, and mentally sound people have emigrated to Mars. Most of the people left on Earth have been somehow damaged by nuclear fallout. Because life has been so totally destroyed, owning and caring for a living animal has become a mark of social standing. People who cannot actually afford real animals spend money on convincing electronic animals, so no one will know that they can’t afford the real thing.

In this world where electronic versions of animals can fool people, there are, naturally, electronic versions of people. The androids are manufactured on Mars and intended to serve the people there. Like most technologies, they keep getting smarter and generally better. The problem is that sometimes these servants “go rogue” and escape to Earth. This is where the bounty hunters come in. It’s their job to try and figure out which people are the androids.

The thing about this book is that it makes you feel like you’re going insane. Like…for real. You’re reading along and you think everything’s fine and you’re into the plot and then suddenly Dick flips your world completely upside down. Then it’s like you’re standing on the ceiling of the book, which is never fun, and you aren’t even sure if you’re actually right side up or not. And you’re just like, “Whoa, I’m not even sure what’s happening right now.” Sometimes it’ll be the little things that freak you out.

For example, there’s a part where John meets one of the androids. She tells him her name and she says it’s Pris. Then in the next sentence, she says her name is Rachel. Then she goes back to being Pris. For some reason, that tiny moment in the book freaked me out a whole lot.

Overall, I liked Androids. At first when I was reading, I wasn’t terribly excited or interested in the book. But once Dick really got rolling and things got weird, I couldn’t stop reading it. While I was reading the book, I told my roommate about how it made me feel crazy. He told me that it’s supposed to do that. Dick was actually probably schizophrenic. At the very least he had mental illnesses that he worked into his books. If he really was schizophrenic, I’m pretty sure that Androids gives a pretty good representation of what that must feel like.

My goodness.

Rating: ****
Up Next: Enduring Love

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Kendra on April 30, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    PKD is my favroite author. All of his books have that affect on the reader. I’d recommend Ubik or Flow My Tears the Policeman Sadi if you want to read another of his books.

    Reply

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