Must Reads: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Hey!  I exist again!  My buddy Josh was awesome and bought me a power cable for my birthday, so my laptop is up and running again.  This means that I can blog and write speculative fiction again.  I’m going to take a moment and be cheesy and try to get my name out there some more.  I also crochet.  I love to make hats and various other things, check it out at my deviantart or my etsy.  See?  I’m just a random person.  I write and crochet and love both of them.

Must Reads

There have been books I’ve read in the past that have kind of been like getting shot in the head.  These are books I consider must reads.  They aren’t all from the same genre, some are genre/speculative fiction, some are literary fiction, but they all left me stunned with the quality of the writing.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Is a novel by Philip K. Dick.  The novel was written/published in 1968.  I read it for my novel writing class this past semester, as it dealt with a dystopian future and was vaguely cyberpunk.  It would have been more fitting for me to read Neuromancer, but I felt drawn to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The story follows Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter, and his interactions with his wife and then androids.  There is a secondary plot around John Isidore, a man who has sub-normal intelligence and cannot leave the radiation filled earth.  They live in a version of Earth where status is everything; and status comes from having a real animal to care after, while many other people have electric animals.  This is so they have an empathic relation with the animals.  The main plot point of the story is that there are six escaped androids, Nexus-6 types, which are the newest and most difficult to distinguish from humans.  I don’t really want to give away much of the plot for people who haven’t read it.  No spoilers!

Why is this a must-read?

I would say that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a must-read because, for one, it is a classic.  Philip K. Dick was one of the people defining the science fiction genre as well as the cyberpunk variation of the genre.  While I really dislike the reasoning of “it’s a classic!”  (I’ve heard that way too often on books that aren’t really that great…).

I would mainly say it’s a must read because of how hard the book grabbed me.  I read it in one evening and while it isn’t a long book, it is rather weighty.  Usually it’s a better idea to spread out the reading of “weighty” books.  Despite knowing this, I kept reading and reading until I had finished the book.  Then I essentially had to read it again because I had to outline it as well.  (Hooray homework!)

The book is very well written, albeit difficult to follow at times.  Dick changes characters during chapters, which is something that usually bugs me.  Because of the clear differences between the narrating characters and the differences in settings, it is easy to tell which character you are with.  Beyond that, the two different narrating characters bring a contrast to the table, they are foils of each other.  Even though it gets a little convoluted at times, the novel is incredibly well written.

Possibly the most important thing for me is an emotional tie with the characters.  Dick achieves this perfectly.  When the character has to make a difficult decision, you feel it with him.  When the character loses something, you feel it.

Who would I recommend this book for?

I would recommend this book for people who enjoy science fiction and cyberpunk.  If you’re looking for science fiction before the genre got a little stale, this is the place to look.  I have yet to read his other books, but I look forward to it 🙂

Let me know what you think of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? if you’ve read it, or what you think of the blog!

Thanks!
~Laura

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