Sunday, January 25, 2009

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?--Phillip K. Dick

Genre: Science Fiction
Year Published: 1968
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5

"A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard."

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book is the technology of the future--especially the "mood organ", with which you can program your own mood--anything from complete despondency to absolute joy, and even such things as subservience to your mate. There are also tests to determine one's capacity for empathy, which are used to discern humans from androids. Empathy is essentially what this book is about. As humans, how far does our empathy extend?

Deckard is a bounty-hunter who's job is to track and "retire" androids who have infiltrated a post-apocalyptic Earth from Mars, where they are slaves to humans. His dream is to own a real animal rather than his electric sheep--animals are rare, and humans are not only expected to own and care for one, but it is a symbol of status when they do. But during this assignment, he a series of events cause him to re-examine his morals and his own ideas about empathy.

I guess this book inspired the movie Blade Runner, but I've never seen the movie so I can't comment on that. But it was an interesting book, both from a technological as well as a philosophical standpoint.

Book a Week # 8
Challenge/s: 1% Well Read, A-Z

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