Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?): Back in college, I read constantly. Some of the books were fluff,only to be read once then put on a shelf and forgotten about. Philip K. Dicks novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: demands to be reread periodically.
This was a brilliant work that helped shape the science fiction and cyberpunk genres into what they are today. It was later made into Blade Runner, with Harrison Ford, but the vivid images left in my mind after reading this book trump anything that thinking about Blade Runner could evoke.
The book begins with Rick Deckard preparing for his day. As he goes about what are clearly his mundane daily tasks, we learn that his pets are androids and that his wife is home with cybernetic mood manipulating devices.
Upon arriving at work, he learns that the senior bounty hunter has been attacked by an android,so he is responsible for killing six androids that are hiding within San Francisco. The majority of the book focuses on the internal struggles that Deckard faces. On one hand, he is assigned the job of killing six androids that have been responsible for the death of his senior bounty hunter.
On the other hand, he finds himself needing to understand what qualifies as alive and who deserves to be free to live. This compulsion leaves him torn and unsure how to deal with Rachel Rosen, the first android that he encounters. Like the movie, this book is incredibly strange. Gibson’s ability to create a futuristic, dark universe manages to straddle familiar and terrifyingly alien.
Unlike the movie, the pace was slower, the violence was less dramatic and graphic and the writing style less polished. It was written decades before the movie was released, so keep reasonable expectations. Anyone who enjoys reading books about dystopic futuristic societies and the philosophical questions that people will face must read this book. It is a classic not to be missed.