Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Philip K. Dick, the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, was born in 1928 in Chicago, but he lived most of his life in California. During 1952-1982, Philip wrote 36 novels and 5 short story collections. Philip K. Dick died in 1982 in Santa Monica, California. Philip had a rocky emotional life. He was involved in many bad marriages and was addicted to drugs. He would go through times of great creativity, then fall into times when he wouldn’t write at all. With all of Philip K. Dick’s ups and downs, he continues to be highly acclaimed in the realm of science fiction, as one of the greatest writers of his style.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, is a science fiction novel, based in the year 2021. The story revolves around a bounty hunter named, Rick Deckard. In these times, the world is covered with debrie from a nuclear fall out. In turn, other colonies were created on planets other than earth. A common place to colonize in these times was Mars. A company by the name of the Rosen Association, makes humanoid androids. These androids are made to perform undesirable labor. Occasionally these androids escape and attempt to blend in with human societies. Hence, bounty hunters such as Rick Deckard, are employed by the San Francisco police department. Rick and his wife Iran, are not satisfied with there lives and relationship. They have not achieved what they sought for in life, and it seems they both feel, at least partially, that the other is holding them back.
In the year 2021, the simple possession of a live animal is a large status symbol, not to mention a sanitary relief. Rick and Iran do own a sheep, yet, their sheep is electric. Another source of happiness in this world, stems from something called an empathy box. Inside this box, is an individual called “Mercer.” The box is accessed by dialing a pattern of numbers which all translate into different emotional feelings. Other people feed their different emotions into this box, making them available for others to dial into and experience. This box resembles the addictivedrugs of today such as cocaine, heroine, and tobacco.
The plot of the book involves seven new, Nexus-6 androids who have escaped from Mars to Earth. These androids all came together, to San Francisco. The Nexus-6 android design is a state of the art design, with an extremely high intelligence level and the ability to adapt into human environments. After Rick Deckard’s mentor, Dave Holden, was injured in the pursuit of these androids, Rick took over the assignment. Rick almost gets killed right off the bat by one of the androids, Polokov, who goes under cover and approaches Rick. After this, Rick knew that these androids would be difficult to retire (kill). Throughout this day, Rick encounters new challenges with each individual android. As a bounty hunter, Rick issues a test to identify an android. The test is called the Voigt-Kampff scale. Rick speculates if it is effective on the new Nexus-6 androids. He travels to the manufacturer, the Rosen Association, in Seattle, Washington for confirmation on the test. There he meets a young, Nexus-6 named Rachel Rosen. She later becomes a love affair with Rick, which creates a rift in his thoughts about androids. He begins to have empathy for androids, which slows down his reactions as a bounty hunter. Rick retires three of the Nexus-6 androids in the first part of the day, and then tries to settle down. He buys a real sheep for himself, hoping to ease his concios, which is tearing him up inside.
Later in the night Rick’s boss, Inspector Harry Bryant, orders him to get back on the job. Rick meets up with Rachel for her stratigic help with the remaining androids. As their love affair progresses, they later realize they have serious differences of interest. Rick continues on after the remaining androids, as Rachel goes after Rick’s new sheep. Rick retires the last of the androids and tells himself that he is done being a bounty hunter. During this time, Rachel destroys Rick’s sheep by pushing it off of the roof of his apartment. This is her way of letting Rick feel her pain as he kills her type for a living.
I found Dick’s story to be an interesting story in all aspects. I am not much of a reader, but this story kept an up-beat pace throughout, making it a lot of fun and quick to read. The story’s action kept me in anticipation and it had a lot of believable/convincing material. The main character, Rick Deckard, was developed very well. More importantly, he did not overwhelm the content. I was impressed with Philip Dick’s ability to vividly portray a fictional society within a story that lasted just one day in this world. With one day in the life of a bounty hunter, the reader gets an in-depth view of the time and situation. Another solid aspect to the story is its use of what defines the story as a science fiction, the realistic material such as the, animals, television and the use of San Francisco, an actual city. The other fictional items used are extremely believable, such as hover cars, androids, lazer guns, the idea of the Voigt-Kampff test and more. One of the most interesting parts to the story was the Empathy Box. This was a great idea, as it associated with the needs and problems of a typical society. The empathy box was a source of escape for many people. This box allowed them to enter into any emotional state possible, and peoples’ addiction to it was evident. People give there true emotions to this box, in order to share it with others. The empathy box was a powerful part to the everyday life of these times, and it helped us to further connect with the character on a personal level.
Every part of this story was well integrated with the characters, which worked to create an interesting, well-developed story. I had a great time reading this book and look forward to reading more books written by Phillip Dick.