5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended to me, really good read
Really interesting, thought provoking read. It frames nicely some of the questions we are starting to deal with with artificial intelligence. At what point does a computer program become a person? With legal standing? I have an iPhone, is Siri a person? I don't think so, yet, but as the programming develops, and processing power expands...
Published 8 months ago by Bradley Gould
3.0 out of 5 stars Seen Blade Runner?
If you have seen Blade Runner don't worry about it spoiling the ending, completely different messages. Everything of Dick's I have read have been wild, inventive, and extremely interesting. I would recomend trying to completely forget Blade Runner (or vice versa) while reading this book, only the names and a few constructions are the same. I actually preferred Blade...
Published on March 13 2003
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cool Cyberpunk before Cyber was Cool,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)A lot of people credit Gibson for the cyberpunk genre. However, you'll find many of the themes right here: alienation, our relationship to machine intelligence, the fusion of worldwide cultures, the noir-world of moral relativism.
This is the story that the film Bladerunner (excellent in its own right) was based on. However, it is important to realize that the film was very loosely based on it; there is one scene in the book that is virtually identical to the film, but beyond that it is quite different.
Unfortunately, I find that Dick can really meander towards the end of his longer works (unlike his tightly plotted short stories). Thus, I can only give it four stars. Nevertheless it is a timeless classic that will be of interest to anyone interested in what the future of man-machine interactions might hold.
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Science Fiction,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)The title of this novel clearly demonstrates that this book is going to deal with some man-machine sociological technological "issues". That it does.
When reading a biography on the author, I found out that he only made something like $9,000 on the book (which is disappointing), yet it was a sci-fi hit in the theater, grossing millions.
5.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, thought-provoking masterpiece of sci-fi,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)In 2021, after World War Terminus, life on Earth has changed forever. Those who were not killed either emigrated to other planets or chose to remain on a tainted planet. With most species of animals dead, live specimens are prized possessions, and for those who can't afford a live animal, companies build artificial ones. Some even build artificial humans.
Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter, sent to find and to retire rogue androids, or "andys," who manage to find their way back to Earth. The government has banned them, fearful of what they might do, especially since they blend in so well with regular humans. But, the more contact that Rick has with the Nexus-6 android Rachel, the more he begins to question what life is. Can an artificial life form have empathy? What happens when a human starts to have empathy for an artificial life form?
Philip K. Dick's masterful novel deals with these issues in a fast-paced, realistic environment. All the characters are finely drawn, especially the andys, and the intelligent story keeps your attention. I also found it relevant with what's going on in the world today. It's one of those novels that I just couldn't put down. A superb sci-fi novel.
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen the movie? You'd better read the book too!,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)This 1967 novel inspired the classic movie _Blade Runner_, and it remains Dick's most popular book because of that association. But because the movie altered so much of the original, the book has a vibrant life away from it...and it's an incredible achievement.
Bounty hunter Rick Deckard (married in the book version) goes on the search for the Nexus-6 androids loose on a nearly abandoned Earth where wildlife has come close to extinction. Dick explains the background much more thoroughly than the movie, and places special emphasis on the absence of genuine animals on Earth; Deckard's desire to possess a real animal instead of a robot copy becomes the focal point of his struggle to define his own humanity. John Isidore, a mentally deficient "chickenhead" who falls in with the androids (never called 'replicants' as in the film), is the other symbolic half of this confrontation with what it means to be human; the movie would change him into William Sanderson's diseased inventor. Throughout, Dick uses his piquant humor and dead-on satire to enthrall the reader.
A classic SF novel, no arguing about it, and it lead to a classic, if extremely different, SF film. A fascinating read. Even if you claim to dislike science fiction, you need to pick this one up. It may change your opinion of the whole genre. (And make you want to read more Philip K. Dick --there's a lot more great stuff out there!)
4.0 out of 5 stars a 2003 take on this,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)the way I see it - this book is particularly relevant to today because it deals with isolation, loneliness and the mechanistic world v. the frail imperfect human world. To share my ideas on this book I am interacting via a computer; I live a pretty isolated life which main connection to the world is via the web, or through internet. So to a large extent I, myself, have become an extension of the web - a biological peripheral if you like. Anyway - getting back to this book - as far as I am concerned it makes us ask how we descriminate between 'real' people and the new 'plastic' people who are programmed by big business to perform regimented tasks and will have their genes modified to remove unwanted characteristics - the human will be turning himself into a replicant in pursuit of perfection - eugenics is a powerful ethos and with the right genetic technology you can basically chose the characteristics you want - as you would if you were ordering a replicant.
So, unlike many readers - I see this book in a very much the eugenic real versus artificial tension that occupys a region of philosophy I guess.
The only thing I agree with the other reviewers is the fact that the book bears no relation to the fillum. [also as well as the book, I find the vangelis soundtrack better than the film]
read it - it is mind-altering
5.0 out of 5 stars Asks important questions,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)By now, most people are familiar with the book because of the movie, Blade Runner, which frankly fails to capture those qualities that make the book special. Let's face it, Dick was a hack writer, but a fascinating philosopher. I personally, read Dick for his boundlessly thought provoking ideas. In Androids Dream, he is principally concerned with the questions:
If the ability of humans to manipulate logic can be modelled in machines, and machines are extensions of human intelligence, then what does it mean to be human? Can there be Artificial Intelligence? If so, can it be distinguished from Natural Intelligence? How so?
Obviously, Dick believes the difference is empathy, a notion that derived from an early childhood experience of his own. He was torturing a beetle, and observing the beetles struggles to survive, when he had a full blown satori--that he and the beetle were the same, they were alike in their striving for existance and their avoidance of pain. It was a life changing moment, he later would claim, and that theme is a the heart of this novel, and is reminiscient of Blakes poem, "The Fly". But his point goes deeper than this. He seems to want us to think about how we humans can lose our humanity and behave as if we have become machine-like. If we sacrifice our free will, our creativity, our ability to say yes, or no, independently; if we sacrifice our conscience--and blindly commit ourself to be governed by a set of external rules--then we have become computer programs, not human beings. And he seems to imply that this is how places like Auschwitz came to exist, built by human beings who had become machines that are exceptionally good at following orders. Around the world, we have political machines, economic machines, marketing machines, martial machines. In Cambodia, a political and miliary machine consisting mostly of children forced millions of people from the homes into the fields to be mowed down like so many insects.
The points that Dick makes are important--extrememly important, to an authentic human being who has not sacrificed their humanity or abdicated their sense of responsibility to a set of rules. But his particular genius lies in his ability to paint different, contradictory views and interpretations of the same reality. This ability conveys a peculiar paranoid sense of reality that is as eerie as it is profound. It gives a strong sense of what it must feel like to experience a psychotic break with reality. That may be a strange roller coaster ride, but it helps to create a sense of empathy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Only an inspiration to Blade Runner; this book stands alone,
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)If you have watched "Blade Runner" before reading PKD's story (like I did), you'll find they are very different indeed. "Do androids...?" is the inspiration behind Ridley Scott's movie, but this book has its rightfull place within the realms of good science fiction.
While the movie is very graphic, visual and dark (all those rainy nights and opulent clothing), the book seems like a mind-breaking experience. In fact, to fully understand the many layers contained between the lines, one reading is not enough. The novel itself is not that much graphic. Dick rarely describes settings, people, buildings, etc., leaving the reader's immagination to work full-time. In fact, is this science fiction? Yes, I think it is, not because of the science involved, but because of the revolutionary elements present in the story.
This is mental sci-fi; the main question of the book is: what defines a human being? Rick Deckard has to answer this question every time he retires a Nexus-6, all the time taking care not to loose his bearings of what he thinks a human being should be. This kind of complexity is what makes "Do androids...?" a great read, although I thought Dick's style a little too dry for my personal taste.
5.0 out of 5 stars no title,
By A Customer
This review is from: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Paperback)147 reviews --- says a bit. maybe we need some of that empathy in what's up, what's around us.
5.0 out of 5 stars Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,
By A Customer
This review is from: Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) (Mass Market Paperback)A Review by Hunter
In January 2021, Rick Deckard had been given a license to kill. There were several rogue androids that lurked among the hordes of humans. It was Rick's job to find them and kill them. The only problem was that the androids looked exactly like humans, and they don't want to be found. Will Rick be able to find the androids before they pose a real big threat?
I love how this novel makes me want to keep reading, it's action packed. This novel leads up to the climax in a slow but step- by- step kind of way, like when Rick finds one android after the other. The author gives clues about the character and about the characters role in the story. He lets the character tell us during the story and his feelings towards killing. Like when his android detector tells him that an old woman was an android , and he has a hard time believing it. It is difficult to follow when the author changes the point of view, because Rick Deckard the main character is in so many places at one time in the story, and the point of view changes so often. An on the edge conflict of finding deadly androids is really scary because you don't know what is going to happen next. This is a very exciting book , there are some nerve racking moments in the story and if you have seen the movie than you should know. It's too bad that there is not a sequel to this book.
I really liked this book, and I recommended it to you and anyone else that likes danger, and excitement. This novel is the kind of book I like to read in my free time. Check it out!
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to PKD,
This review is from: Blade Runner (Movie-Tie-In Edition) (Mass Market Paperback)First off, be advised that the book is very different from the movie. The movie was most enjoyable for its vision of a gritty dystopic future and its action sequences.
The book, like other works by PKD, is about ideas. There is little "action"-- the android killings are basically executions. PKD was never a "prose stylist" like Gibson, who could make a scene live and breathe. Rather, he's concerned with the "big issues"-- primarily, the meaning of human existence.
The book is more challenging than the movie. In the movie, the androids just seem like slightly stiff people-- people who had the misfortune of being created rather than born. While they commit evil acts in the film, the ending clearly wants us to empathize with the androids.
In the book, the androids completely lack any empathy with any other creatures. They care little when other creatures are killed, and seem to even lack a survival instinct. That is why the Voight-Kampff test is used to test for androids-- it measures emotional reactions to the death of other living beings, which androids lack. (This wasn't explained at all in the movie!)
What I found very interesting is that the Voight-Kampff test measures involuntary emotional reactions to the deaths of animals, which is taboo in this future world. (The radioactive dust has killed of many species, making them a rare and precious commodity.) Clearly, this can't be an intrinsic empathy that humans have-- we kill animals now! Is this "empathy" something we get from the society we live in?
The book also dwells far more on the "value" that animals have in this future world. The animals are supposed to be precious because many have been killed off by the war and the radioactive dust that lingers afterward. The Mercer religion in the book puts primary value on other living things. But how does this empathic "value" compare with the great monetary value of the animals? Rick Deckard constantly pulls out his Sidney's to get the money value of animals he sees, as someone would with used cars. What PKD does so great is show how the empathy cult of Mercer, which represents basic idealism and altruism, contrasts with the base capitalist valuation of these animals.
I found Mercerism to be one of the most interesting aspects of the novel. It seems to be the primary way through which people are able to merge together and share an empathic group consciousness. However, questions are raised as to whether Mercerism is literally true-- one can see clear parallels to Christianity. By showing a meaningful religion based on lies, I was reminded of Bokononism in Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle." Sadly, PKD never enjoyed the literary success of Vonnegut...
There is a lot going on in this novel-- one could probably write a novel about this novel. There are endless ideas and twists upon twists. However, don't come into it expecting anything like the "cyberpunk" action movie Blade Runner.
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Paperback - May 28 1996)
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