[Click the cover below to check it out! If you don’t see a book cover below it’s probably ad-blocker settings]
[There’s so many different covers of this book, it’s crazy]
“By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.”
So first and foremost, apparently it’s shocking that I haven’t read this book? Many people would stop and be like YOU’VE NEVER READ IT BEFORE??? like I’m some kind of sci-fi aficionado and I just had to be like ‘uhhh, horror is my forte, actually.’
So I guess I’m behind on the times again. ANYWHO.
Secondmost, holy shitballs the book is so different than the Blade Runner movie. I pretty much grew up with Blade Runner being something my dad and I would watch together [he’s more of the sci fi aficionado that would watch a ton of movies with me] though reflecting on that, when I recently re-watched the original to refresh my brainmeats on the new sequel, wow is it rapey. [Harrison Ford in his youth apparently had a knack for playing rapey characters] Like the scene with DeckardxRachael is not really at all consensual.
ANYWAY again. [sidenote, this is going to be one of my more spoilery reviews, so if you wanna skip past that, scroll down to the ‘—‘ ]
Electric Sheep‘s feel is so different than the movie. It’s more bleak, depressing. Less bright and neon in everyone’s face. It sort of has the feel of ‘the future is shit’ vs how I felt that Blade Runner was ‘wow the future is messed up but coooool.’
Also the whole ‘electric sheep’ plot [which is about 50/50 with the android stuff] is just… completely ripped out of the movie except for the occasional scene of artificial animals. Which is total opposite being as in the book, Deckard is obsessed with animals, since real ones are incredibly rare, and for some reason having artificial [electric] animals is looked down upon. It makes for a completely different feeling character.
Otherwise, some other major differences are that there’s this main big religion ongoing the entire time throughout the book, where you can virtually sort of connect to/submerge yourself into a well-embedded box to ‘practice’ said religion, as well as code in certain emotions that you want the box to make you feel. There’s also the fact that many people left on Earth [instead of traveling to Mars] weren’t allowed to go, either because they were too old, too sick, or… too ‘stupid.’ If your IQ tested under a certain amount, you were called a ‘special’ or the slur version is a ‘chickenhead.’ A main character of the story besides Deckard is a ‘special’ named John Isadore, who to me, was replaced by the ‘dollmaker’ character in the movie [who isn’t stupid, but finds himself in similar interactions with the androids]. Also, the book is much more… direct. While it does have some philosophy and questioning of what is life and a soul, I feel like that’s where the movie does it a little better. It makes it more interesting, and asks deeper questions. Really, the focus even on the story that they share the most are on completely different centers.
The most interesting dynamic change [besides that the androids – or replicants in the movies – being pretty different] is the dynamic between Rachael and Deckard. It’s completely different. She doesn’t become the sort of demure, innocent character that she is in the movie, and in fact, there isn’t really any of the same rapey stuff going on between them of all. In fact, Rachael is the ‘aggressor’ in the book.
Also, Deckard has a wife? That’s found out, page number one. And that left me being like ‘wtf?’
Without trying to make this entire review about book vs movie, just the general feel and tone makes it so much different. In fact, it’s so different I almost wouldn’t consider them much of the same. I’d love for someone to make and actual Electric Sheep book that stays faithful to the book, because it could so easily be a different movie altogether and only some of the characters would match.
The tone of the book is pretty… bleak. It doesn’t have the neon-covered flashy stuff [of what most people imagine when they think of the cyberpunk genre] trying to cover the gross dystopia that the future has become for humankind; it’s much more in your face about how much Earth has become shit in the future. It also goes a little harder on the sort of detective/cop stuff than I expected it would.
I would most recommend this book to either people who are fans of the Blade Runner universe and want to know its origins [and haven’t read the book already], or general sci-fi and cyberpunk fans. PKD is one of the few godfathers of the cyberpunk genre, so it’s nice to see where some of its origins lie. It’s not a very flashy book, either. It feels pretty abrasive, adding to the ‘dystopian’ feel of its universe.
Another also; maybe I haven’t noticed this before, but PKD sure is obsessed with boobs. And can get pretty gross on his descriptions of women. [Just a warning]
I genuinely enjoyed it, and now whenever I watch the movie I’m going to be obnoxious and point out the book vs movie differences. [I’m sorry friends that actually read my book reviews that I also watch movies with]
I give Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 4/5 Voigt-Kampff tests
“The morning air, spilling over with radioactive motes, gray and sun-beclouding, belched about him, haunting his nose; he sniffed involuntarily the taint of death.”
“He passed by Bryant’s receptionist – attractive, with waist-length braided silver hair – and then the inspector’s secretary; an ancient monster from the Jurassic swamp, frozen and sly, like some archaic apparition fixated in the tomb world.”