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Blade Runner Paperback – 11 Feb 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 288 customer reviews

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Paperback, 11 Feb 1999
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; New Ed edition (11 Feb. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857988124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857988123
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 646,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a book that most people think they remember, and almost always get more or less wrong. Ridley Scott's film Blade Runner took a lot from it, and threw a lot away; wonderful in itself, it is a flash thriller where Dick's novel is a sober meditation. As we all know, bounty hunter Rick Deckard is stalking a group of androids returned from space with short life spans and murder on their minds--where Scott's Deckard was Harrison Ford, Dick's is a financially over-stretched municipal employee with bills to pay and a depressed wife. In a world where most animals have died, and pet-keeping is a social duty, he can only afford a robot imitation, unless he gets a big financial break. The genetically warped "chickenhead" John Isidore has visions of a tomb-world where entropy has finally won. And everyone plugs in to the spiritual agony of Mercer, whose sufferings for the sins of humanity are broadcast several times a day. Prefiguring the religious obsessions of Dick's last novels, this asks dark questions about identity and altruism. After all, is it right to kill the killers just because Mercer says so? --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Philip K. Dick's classic SF novel, which was adapted as the film BLADE RUNNER.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Philip K. Dick was part of the generation of 1950's science-fiction writers who took as their core task the criticism of American popular-culture. Thus there is a frequent recurrence of certain themes in his works: The threat of nuclear war; the evil effects of unbridled capitalism; and the degrading influence of mass-media (especially television). However there is another theme which pervades Dick's work, and is more personal: An obsession with the blurring of reality, dreams and waking confused together, mechanical replicas indistinguishable from their originals, drug-induced hallucinations more real than reality. His books are often structured as a series of unexpected trap doors. You think you know where you are and who is whom, then suddenly the bottom falls out and your certainties are thrown into doubt...
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Format: Paperback
I read this novel some years after first seeing the film version - "Bladerunner". At first, I was disappointed: I foolishly expected something to resemble the film - but I had forgotten that Dick himself was extremely distressed about the distruction of his plot when the film was made: Hence the book and the film, although based on the same ideas should really be viewed as different stories: Both have a "Bladerunner" chasing after escaped Androids, but there the similarities start to run out.
On reflection, I now recognise the book as being an excellent work. The only reason I have awarded it four stars out of five is that I have also read "Ubik" - which is so excellent that I cannot judge "Do Androids..." at 100% in comparison.
The book is more subtle than the film, and includes a lot of Dicks subtle examination of the human condition, which, over the years, had led him to accurately predict several technological innovations to come, not because he was up on technology, but because he knew the sort of thing we'd end up doing. The story contains electric animals, since the real ones have become rather scarce, one of these being the electric sheep owned by the main character, which he pretends is real to save face. One of my favorites is the device which can change your mood: When you don't feel like changing your mood, you can dial in a code to put you in the mood for using the machine! So, given that we are now cloning sheep, I would suggest mood-machines and Androids are on the way.
If you're new to Dick, you're also new to his unique ability of being able to weave a puzzle that will take at least half the book to unravel (or so you think, until you reach the end, and you realise you were wrong!
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Format: Paperback
Deckard is a bounty hunter in the regular employment of the San Francisco police department. His regular salary is low but he earns 1000 dollars for every android he destroys. there's not much life left on Earth. Most of the plants and animals were either killed in the nuclear war or died later from radiation poisoning. Those left are still deteriorating and dying. Unaffected survivors were persuaded to colonise other planets and were offered android 'slaves' as an incentive. So Deckard and his wife now live in a dry, barren, depopulated city where radioactive dust and escaped androids are the big problems. The diminishing fertility of the few remaining healthy men is guarded by lead codpieces. The most expensive, prestigious and coveted commodity is an actual living animal - even a spider or a toad is highly valued. Deckard and his wife own an electric sheep which they keep on the roof of their apartment building. They're ashamed of it. If Deckard could 'retire' 3 androids, the 3000 dollar bounty would be enough for a down-payment on a real ostrich or a goat. This is his ambition.

If you've watched 'Blade Runner', it might strike you that this, the book it was based upon, tells a very different story. This Deckard bears little resemblance to the Harrison Ford Deckard. The android characters are equally dissimilar to those in the film. the way they're tested (in book and film alike) is by asking them a series of questions, the answers to which show whether they have empathy. Androids fail the empathy test. Whereas the film androids failed the test, they then went on to behave empathetically. the book androids, on the other hand, confirm the test results in their cold behaviour, not only to their enemies, but to each other.
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Format: Paperback
Forget about Blade Runner. That was as much about Ridley Scott's stylish visual sense as androids and humanity. The book the film was based on is much more about decay. This is not a world of Tokyo cityscapes; it is a broken world, a dying world, a world populated by those too old or to stubborn to leave. It is about a society where people strive to own a real animal. And of course, it is about questions of what it is to be human, and about the rights of androids when their intelligence surpasses humans'.

As usual Dick imagines this with incisive intelligence himself, considering commercial and political influences on the development of androids and society in general. The plot is 'overcoming the monster', delivered in simple prose, with twists to confuse and tease your mind. A quick but stimulating read, in short, it deserves its classic status.
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