Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

Author: Philip K. Dick | Page Count: 210

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity."

I like Dick. I can go to the library and ask the woman at the counter if she likes Dick, and if she'd like to come home with me and see my big Dick collection. Being a Dick-Head is a source of endless in-jokes with other Dick-Heads.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set on Earth, an Earth that is mostly abandoned and almost totally poisoned. The hardy stragglers that haven't left the planet are in danger of being unable to leave the planet. Rick Deckard is one such person. He's a bounty hunter, policing Androids (aka Andys) that have gone rogue. A group of Nexus 6 Andys have come to Earth and it's Rick's job to take them out, which means a nice big fat paycheque for his wallet. Along the way he's forced to make some tough decisions while dealing with his own neuroses.

As with most of Dick's books, there's a fundamental duality ticking away like clockwork under the surface. Even the title of the book has a double meaning; I won't say what it is, because it's up to the reader to discover it. His prose style can be off-putting to people not already familiar with the conventions of the genre; and it's certainly not something that I think a casual reader will be able to easily engage with. At times it's cold and sterile, but it's also thought-provoking, full of deep introspection and emotional reasoning, particularity in the latter half.

4 Dick-Heads aren't chickenheads out of 5

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