June 26, 2017

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick

do androids dream of electric sheepI picked up Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep in a great discount bookshop – picking it up because it rang some bells. Having started reading it I realised it’s the same author as THe Man in the High Castle that I read a few years ago.

It’s also the book that became Blade Runner (a film I’ve never seen, but will now be reading). The forward of the version I read said the first thing one needed to do was forget the film – so I’m glad I haven’t yet seen it!

It’s a lovely little book (under 200 pages). Although it is sci-fi it’s increadibly accessible. In it Dick explores what might happen if we developed androids that were almost impossible to tell from humans, and then had to track down and deal with the ones that went a bit crazy. That’s the obvious story, but there’s also a big exploration of empathy and is that the thing that makes us human?

It’s a great read, and subtly leaves you thinking too.

 

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K Dick

I bought this book because the hero of David Mitchell’s Number9Dream describes it in such an intriguing way!

Probably my most random reason for buying a book yet.The Man in the High Castle

The short synopsis is “a book about a man writing a book in a world where Germany and Japan won the war about what might have happened if Britain and America had won the war”.

But it’s much much more than that.

We explore the world as it is, and the impact of the book on it, together with the intrigues of Japan and Germany trying to work together. There are 3 different, yet interwtined story lines.

  • The market in American pre-war antiquities (quite a black market) that explores the cultural levels
  • The life of ordinary “americans” in the middle of the country – away from the hotspots on the coast
  • High level politics, and seriously high level intrigue

But for me almost the most interesting thing was what was going on in the background – the impact of the death of the nazi ruler, that the Germans had gone all out and destroyed Africa and collinated Mars. Whilst the Japanese had taken a totally different and spiritual tack with their post war success.

A truely truely fascinating book and one I’m sure I’ll be thinking about and processing for a few weeks yet!