Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Written in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has a clever plot and intense imagery that takes the reader on a journey through the future. Philip K. Dick writes in the futuristic tense, which in his case, is only 1992, however the story can still be applied to the future of the human race. This science fictional novel was written with great care, and although it is hard to understand what is going on during some points of the book, there is always a suspenseful plot twist and rich storyline to fill in the gaps.

Philip K. Dick is arguably the most influential writer of science fiction. He was born in Chicago in 1928. His interest in metaphysics and theology fueled his lifelong interest for writing, mainly science fiction. Philip K. Dick has published forty-four novels, and over a hundred short stories. His work is so influential, interesting, and popular, that some of his work has been made into films such as the famous, dystopian Blade Runner. Philip’s questioning ability of the world around him sparked his creativity and he was able to produce intuitive and analytical novels that seemed to capture the environment that surrounded him with a fictional twist. Although he was a drug user for a large portion of his life, his thinking capability is showed in his work, and his famous Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? makes the reader think philosophically.

This post-apocalyptic story is set in the year 1992 after World War Terminus, a nuclear war that nearly destroyed the Earth. Humans were ushered by the United Nations to flee the planet and travel to Mars with the promise of an android. Human genetics of the humans that did remain on the planet had been altered by the radioactivity. Those humans that decided to stay lived in broken-down or destroyed buildings and survived however they could manage.

The overall story follows the life of bounty hunter Rick Deckard, who is sent out to retire six escaped Nexus-6 android models. He is sent out to administer the Voigt-Kampff test to the android suspects, which tests the android’s empathy. Once the empathy test confirms the lack of empathy, Rick Deckard destroys the android.

The other half of the story also follows the life of John Isidore, who houses and helps the fugitive androids survive in the comfort of his own home in the ruins of his building. John Isidore genes have been affected by the radioactivity, so he is not the most intelligent person. He can not sense the danger of an android when it comes close to him, and instead befriends the very androids that Deckard is spending so much of his time searching for.

In this book, animals of all types have gone extinct and the ones that remain are instantly valuable. Because of these rare animals, so many people result to having an android animal to be higher on the social hierarchy. When a real animal is purchased, it is an extraordinary event, and the family that purchased it is congratulated. The benefit of a having an android is that it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between a faux and genuine animal. When surrounding units see that someone has acquired an animal, a greater level of respect is given to that person. This is a very important part of the book, although when the topic is initially introduced, it is both a bit confusing and a bit strange to the reader. It is a refreshing idea, however, and adds a lot of originality to the novel.

This book is enjoyable because the story switches between the two main characters and gives the reader the perspective of both polar opposite sides of the story. The characters are convincing and stick to their personalities throughout the book. It is easy to follow the mindset of both characters, which creates a better understanding of the relationship between the war, animals, and the characters.

This book is a unique science fiction novel, and anyone who enjoys reading this genre would most likely enjoy reading this book. It definitely involves the science part with colonization of other planets, robots, and delves into the difference between androids and humans. It helps the reader grasp the concept of how the future might be dominated by robotics and androids. I would say that this book should probably be tackled by young adults, because the vocabulary is rich and the storyline jumps around.

Because of Philip K. Dick’s unique writing style, his captivating ideas are harnessed through the use of futuristic concepts. This book is a challenge, but once the beginning is tackled, the book is an effortless read.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick


210 pages

Science Fiction

The background of my creative piece is the title of the book written in binary code over and over. There is a sheep because the main character, Rick Deckard, owns a sheep, and because of the title of the book.

Comments (3)

Michaela Prell (Student 2016)
Michaela Prell

This is a well written review. I have never heard of this book, but thanks to you I would like to read it. I think it was really smart to put the title in binary code and the whole thing is very beautiful.

Kevin Courtney (Student 2016)
Kevin Courtney

I really like the set up of the book review. It was very detailed. Also thats a wonderful creative piece! The first thing I notice is the sheep because it is well drawn out. Awesome job on everything!