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English Book Club: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

The novel: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

portadaFirst published in 1968, the novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth’s life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner, and many elements and themes from it were used in its 2017 sequel Blade Runner 2049.

The main plot follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter who is tasked with “retiring” six escaped Nexus-6 model androids, that violently went rogue after their creation by the Rosen Association, and fled Mars for Earth; while a secondary plot follows John Isidore, a man of sub-par IQ who aids the fugitive androids. In connection with Deckard’s mission, the novel explores the issue of what it is to be human. Unlike humans, the androids are said to possess no sense of empathy.

Bounty-hunter Rick Deckard signs on to a new police mission in order to earn enough money to buy a live animal to replace his electric sheep, seeking greater existential fulfillment for himself and his depressed wife, Iran. Deckard visits the Rosen headquarters in Seattle to confirm the validity of a question-and-answer empathy test. Deckard is greeted by Rachael Rosen, who quickly fails his test. Rachael attempts to bribe Deckard into silence, but he verifies that she is indeed a Nexus-6 model used by Rosen to attempt to discredit the test.

Deckard soon meets a Soviet police contact who turns out to be one of the disguised Nexus-6 renegades. Deckard retires the android, then flies off to retire his next target. This android, however, has him arrested and detained at a police department he has never heard of by a police officer whom he is surprised never to have met. At this strange station, Deckard’s worldview is shaken when an official named Garland accuses Deckard himself of being an android. After a series of mysterious revelations at the station, Deckard ponders the ethical and philosophical questions his line of work raises regarding android intelligence, empathy, and what it means to be human.

The author: Philip K. Dick

Philip Kindred Dick.- (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American science fiction writer.

The 50’s and the early 60’s were very creative periods for Dick. He won the highest award in the science fiction world in 1962 for The Man In The High Castle. The 1970’s produced some of Dick’s best work and he continued to become well known in the science fiction community.

Philip K. Dick has been given many labels over the years and as his work has become more known since his death. The genre of science fiction was used as an outlet to break unfamiliar ground. His work is very experimental and questions the basis of our own existence. His own emotional and psychological states play a major role in the tone of his work throughout the years. Noticing the change in Dick’s writing style from the 50’s to the 80’s is a look at the struggles of a creative genius. His attempts to demonstrate the ever-expanding potential of the universe are personal journeys into his own realities.Philip K Dick writerHarperCollins Publishers

On February 20, 1974, while recovering from the effects of sodium pentothal administered for the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth, Dick received a home delivery. When he opened the door, he was struck by the beauty of a dark-haired girl and was especially drawn to her golden necklace. After the woman’s departure, Dick began experiencing strange hallucinations. Although initially attributing them to side effects from medication, he considered this explanation implausible after weeks of continued hallucinations. Throughout February and March 1974, Dick experienced a series of hallucinations, which he referred to as “2-3-74”
On February 17, 1982, after completing an interview, Dick contacted his therapist, complaining of failing eyesight, and was advised to go to a hospital immediately, but did not. The next day, he was found unconscious on the floor. Five days later, on March 2, 1982, he was disconnected from life support and died.

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