Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Philip K. Dick
Imagine a post-apocalyptic future where world war has killed millions of humans and government incentives have send even more of humankind to live off planet. All organic animals are nearly extinct but there are plenty of synthetic facsimiles available for sale. On this Earth, any fugitive robots passing for humans must be hunted and “retired”. Bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Rick Deckard is on the hunt for eight Nexus-6 androids passing for humans. The Nexus-6 are particularly difficult to find because their ability to think is almost on par with humans. While he goes on the hunt for these renegade robots, he has assistance from an unlikely source, an android named Rachael who has her own motives. But, does spending time with the female android confuse Deckard’s view on androids or only strengthen his resolve to hunt and eliminate?
Philip K. Dick is a master at posing questions about reality and then leaving them for the reader to figure out. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? leaves readers without a sense of what makes a human human. The inclusion of the empathy test that determines android or human is enough to make you wonder your own reaction. Would any readers out there be determined as a synthetic human? There are times that Rick Deckard is unsure if the person he is interacting with is human. There is no certainty and even after androids are retired they are checked again to see if they are organic or artificial.
Even after finishing Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, readers are left pondering at which point is the inhuman human and the inorganic organic?
Empathy, he once had decided, must be limited to herbivores or anyhow omnivores who could depart from a meat diet. Because, ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated