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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm going to chalk this one up to loving it more as a full-grown man versus enjoying it as a kid fresh out of college, but this book became a BETTER book for me on the second read.

It happens. Sometimes it happens all the time. And perhaps I just upgraded my memory from the Nexus 6 to the new and improved Nexus 7 of this particular text. And maybe I just fell in love with some of the underappreciated aspects buried deep inside the novel.

*A slight spoiler alert*

I mean, it's super old and most of us have poured over all the details already, so how MUCH of a spoiler this could be is beyond me, but let's just move on. :)

From before, I was more interested in the empathy box and the hidden gems of worldbuilding such as the purpose of the androids and the mystery of JUST WHO IS LEFT ON EARTH? I'm sure most of you have seen Blade Runner and a lot of you have wondered if Deckard was an android and perhaps wondered if the war, far more than killing off most animal life, also killed off most of humanity. All that's left might have been Androids. It's really hard to tell, after all. Flesh and blood. Empathy differences. The inability to renew themselves. Mostly, it's a paranoid fantasy, but not quite as paranoid as some of PKD's works.

But now? What interested me the most? Mercer. The religion of respecting life and the hypocrisy of all the remaining people. Keeping fake pets and revering the few real ones as being the highest form of holiness on this benighted planet. Or when Deckard met Mercer on the stairs and fused with him, going a bit crazy in the process. Was this an expression of his own total disillusionment with his job and the insanity of killing andy when they are almost EXACTLY like us? Or that, as many people have wondered since Blade Runner came out, Deckard was actually a Nexus 6? That his lack of empathy or the growing empathy in the line intersected so much that there was literally no difference anymore?

Ah, well. My interest is a little deeper.

Mercer itself seems suspiciously like VALIS. There's a LOT of carryover between all of PKD's books, easily shown through his Exegesis, and this particular novel actually does an awesome job giving us the Empire that Never Ended, the Black Iron Prison, and the sense of the ineffable and the hope for so much more.

I kinda missed that the first time. I guess everything truly does get a bit better as you read more and more of the author. :) This novel is a counterpoint or a repeated theme, yes, but it's a darkly vibrant one with a very different flavor from the rest. :)

A hearty five stars.

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