Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Read: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Stars: Four

Drinking: Raspberry Green Tea, Stash

This intriguing dystopian post-apocalyptic story explores the idea of what it means to be human. Is it empathy? Is it the way our neurons work?  Dick leans towards the empathy theory and wonders if it is possible to replicate empathy artificially.  Ultimately, what separates humans from artificial intelligence is much more than that.

Rick Deckard, the main character, is a bounty hunter in charge of “retiring” (killing) androids that have escaped their human owners in the planetary colonies of post-nuclear Earth and come down to blend in with the Earth humans. He has no problem with his job, since “andys” are clearly NOT human to him – until he meets a new type of android that more closely resembles humans – enough that the usual empathy test nearly cannot detect them.  As he questions the morality of his job, he is exposed to the truth about androids – even those that are nearly impossible to detect.

It’s a short book – only 250 pages – but Dick packs in a lot of ideas about religion, respect for life, and even love on top of the main theme of humanity.  I will definitely have to read the book again.  I’m not sure I’m even done absorbing everything he has to say about the nature of humanity.  Are we human because we care?  What about psychopaths?  It’s a great book that leaves one with more questions than answers.

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Author: Lisa Fry

Freelance Writer & Editor. Book lover. Feminist. International development professional

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