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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on June 19, 1998
To be fair, I found only a glimmer of similarity between the two pieces. Both pit a number of human-engineered automatons against a single cop, but after that setup the two pieces couldn't be more dissimilar. Dick's work is laborious, boring, the action stagnant with philosophy. There are points when Dick could delve (interestingly) into the hero's psyche and render the author's philosophical and moral arguments more convincingly with action; instead, the writing is too concerned with the sort of adolescent, masturbatory concerns that have tainted science fiction in the past. If you want a brainy, philosophically overwrought read, pick this up. If you want a story that moves -- albeit not without its flaws -- rent the director's cut.
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on June 2, 2002
I am a big fan of the movie (the movie gets five stars). This is one of those cases where the movie story-line is much better developed and delivered than the book. I found this book very disappointing. Although it does provide an intriguing perspective of the future, the main character's (Deckard's) delusional introspective ramblings throughout the book do little to build a coherent story. Very little of the movie storyline is from the book, and the reasons become obvious. Lots of imagination (good for ideas), weak story and resolution. Unless your curiosity is overwhelming, there are many better sci-fi books to read....
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on August 13, 2001
This is one of the very rare cases where first there is a book that becomes a movie; and then this movie is so much better than the book. Normaly it's the reverse (however this rule generally does not apply to books written to appear as additional merchandise with the new blockbuster).
The movie (that thankfully did stray very far from this book) is "Blade Runner" - one of my all-time favorites. Maybe even the best scifi-movie ever. But the book .... . OK, I don't really like Dick. But still, this book is a low even for him. So take my advise: dump it, but get the movie ASAP!
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on August 17, 2002
PKD: "Maybe I'm a great writer in France because I've got good translators....Somebody suggested I write the translator, Japanese translator, and ask him specific questions about the book. And I could tell something about the Japanese edition that way. And he wrote back. And he was really - I thought the Japanese were suppose to be very polite because I was really wrong. In his first letter he said your book wasn't any good to start with....And he went on like that. I was really amazed how up front he was in his contempt for the book."
Translations better than the original (they couldn't possibly be WORSE) might account for international reputation -- to the extent there is one....When I was a kid reading science fiction in the late sixties, I considered the concurrent A writers Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Fred Hoyle. (Robert Heinlein wrote a little A stuff, "A Stranger in a Stranger Land", for example, and a lot of B stuff.) I put Philip K. Dick resoundingly in the B category and mostly avoided him. Now re-reading and re-evaluting all these things I consider H. G. Wells and Stanislaw Lem the only consistently good science fiction writers. (Back then Lem wasn't available in English.) I was right on about Dick.
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on August 24, 2002
I've a moderate tolerance for flat-footed prose, but I didn't get far with this before I had to give it up. Possibly it has compensating virtues: I don't care.
Apparently the consensus about Theodore Dreiser, by the bye, is something like this:
"Dreiser is not a particularly good writer. His sentences can be clunky, truncated and fragmented. His language is stilted and awkward at times. He has no ear for writing dialogue. But these technical limitations are more than offset by Dreiser's incredible insight into the interior lives of his characters."
Still I'd be very surprised (I've not read him) to find his novels nearly as badly written as "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" (It seems to me, for that matter, that prose approaches poetry when it is especially felicitous, not when it is especially awkward and inept.)
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on July 12, 2002
This is a TERRIBLE book.
Too many unanswered questions to make it deeper than a dixie cup, too much grammatical acrobatics to read well, and so many cutesy ideas beat to death.
Dick had one hell of an imagination, but he couldn't write his way out of a wet paper bag.
William Gibson took his imaginative direction and made it readable, believable and entertaining. Gibson can take an idea and make it just one story element; Dick had to beat it into your head ad nauseum.
If only Ridley Scott would make a movie out of Neuromancer...
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on April 5, 2004
I should preface this review by saying that I'm a huge fan of PKD, or atleast his short fiction. I rank him as possibly the greatest short SF writer ever. However, his novels stink to high holy hell.
The book reads like 3 or 4 short stories that have somehoe been slammed together and fused into some unholy spawn of the underworld that contains almost nothing resembling a coherent story. There's obviously supposed to be a deeper question brought up by this book of "What it means to be alive", but it's horribly executed. The characters are often placed in unlikely situations and their reactions make little sense. The plot twists double back on themselves far too quickly for someone to actually follow. Often times the location and surroundings randonly change in the middle of a paragraph with little to no warning. Even the final "religious revelation" of the main character seems trite and cliche.
There are themes of religion vs mass media, artificial vs natural life and even good vs evil, but none of these are drawn out to anything resembling a conclusion. Some of them never get past the set up stage.
Overall I was incredibly disappointed in this book and would recommend against it.
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on July 5, 2002
From page one: "Friendlily, because he felt well-disposed toward the world...he patted her bare, pale shoulder."
This guy writes lovelily, doesn't he? Aspiring science-fiction authors take note: Avoid turning adjectives that already end with "ly" into adverbs. Someone is bound to try to pronounce your prose aloud, trip over himself, and sue you. In any case, the "friendlily" in the above example is superfluous: ALL shoulder patting is friendly (this is the meaning of the gesture). A simple "He patted her shoulder" would have been much more effective.
From page two: "After a hurried breakfast - he had lost time due to the discussion with his wife - he ascended clad for venturing out, including his Ajax model Mountibank Lead Codpiece, to the covered roof pasture whereon his electric sheep grazed. Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building."
"He ascended clad for venturing out" is awkward and amateurish. "Clad", "whereon", "that it was", and "bamboozling" are affected. The nested "whereon"s are confusing. The colloquial "bamboozled" is inconsistent with the formal "clad" and "whereon".
In short, anyone with any literary discrimination at all will find this book unreadable.
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on September 29, 2002
We are told below that this "one of the best books ever written by man", comparable presumably, then, to The Odyssey, The Bible, Canterbury Tales, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Walden, Critique of Pure Reason, The Sun Also Rises, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Let's assume, however, out of hand, for the sake of argument, that it really is "one of the best books ever written by man": How does it compare to the best books written ever by rooster, drake, or bull (speaking of bull)? What? Was its author awarded the Nobel Prize in Quasi-literate B Science-fiction Pulp? Is this a new category? Let's assume, however, out of hand, for the sake of argument, that it really is worthy of a Nobel Prize in Quasi-literate B Science-fiction Pulp: Wouldn't you still rather read the back of your box of Fruit Loops? (Or, for the that matter, the side panel listing ingredients?) I know I would -- that is, if I actually ate Fruit Loops.
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on December 20, 1996
Anything that's Blade Runner sucks
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