Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Meh. Still not sure about this one. I’m going to talk about the movie, because I can’t review a book that’s been made into a movie without comparing the two versions, but in this case it’s pretty hard. (by the way, when I say the movie, I mean the final director’s cut – I’ve never seen the original) The book, obviously, has a lot more detail about the world that Deckard lives in, including a lot more information concerning everyone’s desire to own an animal – Deckard and his wife (oh, and he’s married in the book. And yes, he still sleeps with Rachael) own a fake sheep, but he wants a real one so badly he carries a catalogue around with him that lists the market prices for animals. Also the book describes the religion of the time, Mercerism, which I don’t have enough space to explain and didn’t really understand anyway. Those details, although confusing, made the book worth reading. The last few chapters made very little sense, and if anyone were to ask me to summarize them I would be at a complete loss. The movie ending is a little less confusing, but not much.

I’m still not sure how I felt about the way androids are portrayed in the two versions. In the book, they’re unfeeling, cruel, and self-centered, and even though the characters spend a lot of time talking about how hard it is to kill an android, Deckard is able to retire six of them with almost ridiculous ease. In the movie, androids are much more sympathetic characters who just want to exist on Earth and blend in. (to be fair, Dick’s original android characters want this too, but they’re much bigger jerks about it)

I couldn’t stand Rachael in either version – she’s the same level of irritating in both the book and the movie and I wanted to slap both versions at some point in the story.

Okay, now that I’ve waffled pointlessly enough, I’m going to call it: I prefer the movie version. Two reasons for this: first, although Harrison Ford doesn’t really fit the character described in Dick’s book, I could never truly hate Han Solo. If that admiration can survive The Indiana Jones Movie That We Do Not Speak Of, it can certainly survive Blade Runner. The second reason is the ending line, “It’s too bad she won’t live. But then again, who does?”

Verdict: three out of five stars

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