“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick

Short book, more of a short story than a novel really.  But it quickly paints a picture of a bizarre but believable (mostly….not sure about “Mercer”), and very interesting future.  This is the story the movie “Blade Runner” was based on (I can see why they changed the title…); I’ve never seen it so don’t know how close the story is to the book’s.

Anyhow, I liked the future setting.  Post-holocaust; animals are scarce and owning one is a sign of prestige.  There are androids, but they are only meant for the colonies, not for Earth (I don’t think there is ever a reason given for why, come to think of it.)  Deckard is a bounty hunter who goes after androids who kill or otherwise escape their masters and find their was to Earth.  The androids are very life-like; just a subtle psychological test is the only way to tell an android from a human.  And the android manufacturers keep getting better and better, so the line between artificial and real grows thinner and thinner.

There is definitely a psychological bent to this book that I don’t really claim to understand fully.  Maybe something on our perception of reality – are androids just as good as humans because they look and think the same?  How about “chickenheads” (people with radiation induced mental disabilities)?  What about artificial animals?  What about Mercer, a prophet of sorts who turns out to be a sham (but people don’t care much and still follow him with their empathy boxes)?

Kind of bizarre, really….

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