Posts Tagged ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’

Quotes I’ve Loved, First Half of 2013 Edition

Sorry I’ve been less than awesome at updating lately. I’ve just been on a string of trips, because my teaching schedule is drastically reduced in the summer and I have time to travel. At the beginning of the month I was in Italy (Rome and Venice, if you were curious), then my brother visited me in Prague and we went to Munich with my roommate. I’m currently coming at you from a hostel in Budapest, where I’m typing on the stickiest keyboard I’ve ever experienced.

This is my last trip for awhile, I think (though on Monday if you’d asked me what my weekend plans were, they wouldn’t have included being in Budapest…), so there should be more posts soon. I’m currently about 3-4 books ahead of the blog. I just have to write them. But here are some of my favorite quotes I’ve read this year to tide you over till my next post. These are the quotes that have REALLY knocked me over, made me feel something, think about something, or at least stop and underline them. They’re the ones I’ve taken with me in this project.


“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

“As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived.”
– Mario Puzo, The Godfather

“[. . .] memory is time folding back on itself. To remember is to disengage from the present.”
– Madeliene Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

“Like many others who have lived long in a great capital, she had strong feelings about the various railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“[. . .] the music started with a goblin walking quietly over the universe, from end to end. Others followed him. They were not aggressive creatures; it was that that made them so terrible to Helen. They merely observed in passing that there was no such thing as splendour or heroism in the world.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or another; finally the name ‘Mozart’ will vanish, the dust will have won.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in ‘sadness,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘regret.’ Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, ‘the happiness that attends disaster.’ Or: ‘the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.’ I’d like to show how ‘intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members’ connects with ‘the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.’ I’d like to have a world for ‘the sadness inspired by failing restaurants’ as well as for ‘the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.’ I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

“One may feel a certain indifference to the death penalty, one may refrain from pronouncing upon it, from saying yes or no, so long as one has not seen a guillotine with one’s own eyes: but if one encounters one of them, the shock is violent; one is forced to decide, and to take part for or against.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“What is more melancholy and more profound than to see a thousand objects for the first and the last time? To travel is to be born and to die at every instant.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“That light called history is pitiless; it possesses this peculiar and divine quality, that, pure light as it is, and precisely because it is wholly light, it often casts a shadow in places where people had hitherto beheld rays; from the same man it constructs two different phantoms, and the one attacks the other and executes justice on it, and the shadows of the despot contend with the brilliance of the leader.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There is, as we know, a philosophy which denies the infinite. There is also a philosophy, pathologically classified, which denies the sun; this philosophy is called blindness.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Not seeing people permits one to attribute to them all possible perfections.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Our chimeras are the things which the most resemble us. Each one of us dreams of the unknown and the impossible in accordance with his nature.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of the other.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Way late at night Will had heart – how often? – train whistles jetting steam along the rim of sleep, forlorn, alone and far, no matter how near they came. Sometimes he woke to find tears on his cheek, asked why, lay back, listened and thought, Yes! they make me cry, going east, going west, the trains of far gone in country deeps they drown in tides of sleep that escape the towns. Those trains and their grieving sounds were lost forever between stations, not remembering where they had been, not guessing where they might go, exhaling their last pale breaths over the horizon, gone. So it was with all trains, ever.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Add up all the rivers never swum in, cakes never eaten, and by the time you get to my age, Will, it’s a lot missed out on. But then you console yourself, thinking, the more times in, the more times possibly drowned, or choked on lemon frosting. But then, through plain dumb cowardice, I guess, maybe you hold off from too much, wait, play it safe.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“So, in sum, what are we? We are the creatures that know and know too much. That leaves us with such a burden again we have a choice, to laugh or cry. No other animal does either. We do both, depending on the season and the need.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Death doesn’t exist. It never did, it never will. But we’ve drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we’ve got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Is Death important? No. Everything that happens before Death is what counts.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, okay? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“Home is watching the moon rise over the open, sleeping land and having someone you can call to the window, so you can look together. Home is where you dance with others, and dancing is life.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why. Not until the future eats the present, anyway. We know when it’s too late.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“I believe the entire natural world is but the ultimate expression of that spiritual world from which, and in which alone, it has its life.”
– Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly

“I am firmly persuaded that a great deal of consciousness, every sort of consciousness, in fact, is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From Underground


Fifth Decade Roundup!

Here we are at the end of the fifth set of books I’ve read for this project.

This was an interesting group. I had several really long books, so it took me a lot longer to get through this set than others.

It wasn’t a great decade for my mental wellbeing. There were a lot of books that made me feel pretty nervous: a creepy stalker novel that made me never want to look a stranger in the eye again, an excellent nonfiction account of a cold-blooded killing. and a sci-fi book that made me feel like I was going insane. And then, of course, there was the confusing, intriguing, and wonderful book about a hermaphrodite, which completely rocked my world.

With The Pilgrim’s Progress and The Enormous Room were very philosophical and religion-based. They were good for making me think about the world in a pretty cool spiritual way. Virgin Soil also painted a frighteningly prophetic picture of pre-revolution Russia and the revolution to come.

Then, of course, there were the behemoths: Parade’s End, the monster four-books-in-one tome about the social upheaval caused by World War I and the death of the Victorian Age; and Les Miserables, Victor Hugo’s monster of a book. Of course, neither of them were actually tomes because I read them on my Kindle. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to physically see the progress I made with these 800-and-900-page monsters.

Howards End also dealt wonderfully with social changes in turn-of-the-century England, though pre-war, if I recall correctly.

This was, to say the least, a great set of books. There were very few that I didn’t totally enjoy. In fact, I absolutely loved most of them. It’s going to be very hard to pick a favorite (though I think I have).

The biggest surprise was Howards End. I’m not usually a fan of novels like this, but I really liked it. The quotes and the reflections were good and, against all odds, I found myself caring about the two main characters and actually being interested in their lives. For some reason, when the main characters are Victorian-ish women, I just never care that much about them. Usually they bore me. But not so with Howards End.

The book I liked the least was The Pilgrim’s Progress. I was excited to read it because of its religious importance over the years, but it really didn’t do much for me. I think the “metaphors” were just way too strong and I didn’t get the joy of drawing the parallels and conclusions myself. I need that in a book.

I’m adding a category this time, in honor of Les Miserables. This book has the honor of being voted least likely to be turned into a musical.

The book that, I think, I would most enjoy seeing in musical form was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It could, of course, turn very silly, but I think that with the right songs and the right writer, it could be interesting to see on stage. Can someone get on this, please?

And now, I suppose, I have to choose a favorite. It really was quite close. It hasn’t been this close since I couldn’t choose between A Home at the End of the World and The Shining (which, by the way, after like six months I finally settled on The Shining). This decision was even harder. I love, love, loved In Cold Blood. It was fantastic. But I also really liked MiddlesexSo I’m going back and forth between these two.

But I think I’ve decided on MiddlesexEugenides is a great writer and the story was so unique. Not only was the subject interesting and the narrator totally different than anything I’ve read before, but the way Eugenides told the story was also different and unique. It was a new, exciting read and I enjoyed it very much. You all need to go read it. Right now. Please.

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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