My mini rant aside, this was an incredible read that explores a futuristic world, that has been damaged beyond human permanent habitation and most other animal lifeforms. Remaining on earth are humans deemed not suitable enough to immigrate to space and those who are working, but still have a bill of health that would allow them to leave. The concept of empathy is front and center as the emotion is used as the load stone from which to distinguish between androids and humans. In this dreary world for humans, true animals are so rare that even spiders contain value. By no means would I consider Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a feel good read, however this novel provokes strong emotions and inspires thought provoking contemplation as to the role AI will play in the future. I can’t wait to watch both the old and new movies bring this story to life, especially with a young Harrison Ford as Rick. One key scene in particular really left me in a haze of confusion as the rug was pulled out on everything the reader and Rick thought we knew, leaving us questioning the validity of every subsequent interaction. Overall, Do Android Dreams of Electric Sheep? is read that will leave any science fiction fan reeling from a wide spectrum of emotions as readers explore the definition of life with Rick as he gets the assignment of his career.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- I couldn’t help but wonder if Rick was an android by the end?
- Why was the pseudo cop joint not investigated more? Were the androids running the place for three whole years if Resch had actually been employed that long?
- What happened to Resch? Did Rachel really sleep with him?
- The mood organs were an interesting concept that I was surprised didn’t factor more into the larger story. It seems like this tool would work to cause humans to lose their humanity.
- Empathy in general was a major theme throughout this read. What other emotions make us humans? Experiencing shame? Guilt? Ambition?
- What is actually happening on the Mars colonies?
- Another intriguing addition by Dick was the status symbol associated with live animals vs electronic ones. I have a hard time wrapping my head around valuing a spider or even thinking of them as rare. Sure when applied to the story I can empathize, however when putting the principle in the context of present day life it is a bit cringy.
- How will life continue with the two leading figures in the Earth humans lives are android in nature? Mercer and Buster Friendly. Why are they fighting and exposing each other?
- How did Rick know where all the androids were?
- Was Mercer helping Rick since the androids and Buster Friendly had revealed he was also an android?
- Who threw the rocks at Rick as he was climbing the hill similar to Mercer?
- Who left the toad there?