Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – How Do We Define Humanity?

Book Review : Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick

Spoiler Alert!

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Summary

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.
Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard’s assignmet–find them and then…”retire” them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn’t want to be found!
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)

Adult Point of View

 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has been on my “to be read” pile for years. After some of the quintessential mediocre books from my summer reading I finally decided it was time to take the plunge and read something different. Like other early science fiction books, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? isn’t written for pure pleasure reading (aka fluff), it has a sociological point the author wants to convey.

The setting is in the San Francisco area after the world has suffered through a nuclear war, which has decimated and mutated the human population, killed many animals to extinction and created the need for space colonies. To attract the non-damaged humans to venture into space they were offered an android as a servant. Androids have continued to become more sophisticated and appear human; they want their freedom and are willing to kill to escape their masters. The plot centers around the humans rather than the androids.

I believe Dick wants us to think about our humanity. What makes us human? When do we stop being human? One of the most interesting points in the story is when the female robot, Rachael, kills Rick Deckard’s beloved goat. If the robot truly has no empathy they would have no need for revenge. Then why would Rachael intentionally kill the goat when she has acknowledged it is the thing he loves most, even more than his wife. Rachael does nothing to stop Rick from his course of action to kill the other androids.

Rachael was an inconsistent character, and was my biggest problem with the writing. She claimed she had not known she was an android when confronted by Rick. Later, when Rick is seducing her (though how do you seduce a robot that has no emotions?) Rachael says that she has done this multiple times and every bounty hunter is changed after being with her, except for one.

On a funny note, I borrowed this book from the library – inside the cover was a sticky note which read, “You’re reading! Nerd!” I have laughed over this wondering if they are trying to tell me I’m a reading nerd, or are they surprised I know how to read, or what? Since I picked up the book I knew I was reading, and I actually already know I’m a nerd. So, what.

In conclusion,  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was not my favorite book. I felt like I was back in High School reading an assigned book so I could analyze the deep meaning the author intended. On some days I would probably rate this book with more stars, similar to Orson Well’s 1984 (another High School assignment).

3 out of 5 stars

3 star

  • the Mother

If you liked this one try The Foundation trilogy by Isaac Asimov.

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About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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