A novel set in a post-nuclear future where most animals and humans have succumbed to radiation poisoning. Earth’s remaining population continues to decline as the people with low enough radiation levels immigrate off-planet. Those left behind try to ease their loneliness with shared religious experiences, dialled up drugs and the acquisition of artificial animals. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter who destroys rogue androids from the off-world colonies who come to earth masquerading a humans. While his wife slips further into depression, Rick dreams of purchasing a real sheep to replace the electric one on this apartment roof. During the typical day portrayed in the book, Deckard works to “retire” a fresh crop of androids and finds the line between human and machine is blurring.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This book received mixed reviews from the Armchair Critics. Since the book was used at the basis for the movie “Bladerunner” starring Harrison Ford, much of the discussion was focussed on the contrast between book and film. Ridley Scott, the director of the film intimates that Deckard is an android (especially through the re-introduction of the deleted unicorn dream sequence in the recent director’s cut). P.K. Dick clearly portrays him as human -though the androids in the book are more sympathetically drawn. It was agreed that the film is better viewed after reading the book and that it would have been improved with the inclusion of several key scenes such as the false police station, the experience of Mercerism, and the electric sheep itself.