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Our Intrepid Heroine

I'm a multitasking, knitting, cooking, voraciously-reading library worker who wants to spread her bibliomania as far as possible.

Currently reading

Ash and Silver: A Sanctuary Novel
Carol Berg
The Sleeping Partner
Madeleine E. Robins
China Mieville

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick, Robert Zelazny I read this book because Blade Runner went completely over my head. I now have to watch it over again, because reading this book did absolutely nothing to enlighten me.

My friend insisted that I had to see the 1998 Harrison Ford/Ridley Scott hyperdepressing cult classic, and I didn't get it. Granted, this may be largely because I watched it with a bunch of friends at 11 PM while the guy next to me tried not to pass out from post-finals crazy, and we demolished at least one bottle of good red wine in the process. Also, Lore kept making text-referential jokes about the movie, which means I missed a lot of the dialog in addition to having no idea what she was talking about.

Basically, I was bored. I couldn't follow what was happening, didn't like the characters, and was disinterested to the point that I do not remember the plot. I remember Space. I remember Harrison Ford Angst. I remember something with friggin silver metal unicorns. I remember thinking just how much I disliked Philip K. Dick adaptations, having been subjected to two in four days by the same bloody woman.

You know what I don't remember from the movie? Sheep. I definitely would have remembered the sheep.

The electric animals are heart-wrenching. Surrogate animals, despised at first, used as a facsimile of life as the future's tech wars/space race. Instead of coveting the latest technology, the people of the post-apocalyptic world revere all living organisms and dub spiders sacrosanct. I can get behind that world, in all honesty. Not to the extent that I want to mortgage my property to put a goat on the roof, but okay.

With the introduction of electric sheep, this transformed from something I was reading because I was, for no apparent reason, in a mood to read Philip K. Dick, to a book I couldn't put down. I read this almost straight through. It's a book about civil rights, but more interestingly, about what it means to be alive. At one point, Rick Deckard -- an infinitely more interesting human being in the text contrasted with the movie, I might add, where he was Indiana Jones with some serious manic depressive issues -- starts thinking about his electric sheep and wonders why he is compelled to care for it. The tyranny of an object.

At the same time, you have parallel images of Deckard hunting down androids and a delivery boy who picks up the electric animals to take them to be repaired. Some people, it seems, become attached to their electric animals despite the stigma against owning a mechanical bird.

Then there's a lot of stuff about God and some clever roundabout references to a God Machine. Heh.

It's... I don't know. I was less interested in the androids than I was in the electric animals. Even though they were clearly supposed to be two sides of the same coin, I felt more empathy for the circuit board livestock than the non-empathic (but sentient) humanoid robots. Maybe it's just what the animals represented that got to me.

And that's why I didn't like Blade Runner. They didn't have electric sheep.