Book or movie? Do Androids Dream vs. Blade Runner

Published: Monday, October 8th, 2012

View edited article here

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Review

Philip K. Dick

Doubleday, 1968

A lot of us are familiar with Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, one of the most acclaimed yet polarized sci-fi movies ever to come out. Some praised it for its exploration of some interesting philosophical talking points…what truly defines human? Are we truly who we think we are? Others criticized the movie for its slow pace and heavy-handed romance. Nevertheless, the film has made an impact on popular culture, with its amazing set and prop design, continuing to give

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (later republished as Blade Runner)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (later republished as Blade Runner)

inspiration to designers.

Naturally, most are aware that the film is an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which, interestingly enough, had a movie tie-in edition sold as Blade Runner in some markets), and are quick to discount reading it in fear of it being too similar to the movie. After all, watching Blade Runner is around 2-3 hours (depending on which edition of the film you decide to watch) of your time, but the but book is much bigger investment.

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve seen Blade Runner, because DADoES is really its own thing. While the book and the film possess some fairly superficial similarities, character names, locations, the two couldn’t be any more different. Infact, the basic premise of Rick Deckard, a LAPD bounty hunter assigned to hunt down escaped androids (or ‘andies’) is really the only similarity that exists.

While Blade Runner’s characters are given more room for exploration than its universe, DADoES dedicates enough time for both, and as a result, explores some more of Philip K. Dick’s philosophical chestnuts besides the ones seen in Blade Runner; the true existence of self, the deceptions brought on by the hands of established authority, and, not to mention, a dissection of the reason for said deceptions being needed. To explain what content of the book discusses the above would be giving away too much, to say the least.

It honestly would be difficult to write this article without comparing the book to its movie cousin, but selling the differences between them is unfortunately what will get most to read this book. While the 1968 publication date might have some people finding some of events in the book quaint or dated, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is nevertheless a truly unique novel that cannot be properly experienced in any other adaptation. Any avid reader should have this book on their to-do list. I trust the avid sci-fi readers have already finished it.

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