Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick


“Everything is true. Everything anybody has ever thought.”

— Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    What is life? Such a mundane question, right? Philip K. Dick doesn’t think so. He sure as hell didn’t think so when he wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Although Blade Runner (1982) draws inspiration on this classic masterpiece, it definitely doesn’t tell the same story. This novel’s essence emanates from a desire to dive deep into the concept of life. To do so, there’s nothing more perfect than androids and electric animals to serve as a means to establish how simple existence is. In this novel, set in 2021, World War Terminus has sent mankind off-planet and introduced everyone to extinction. The remaining people now lay great importance to any remaining living creature, but each now go for great value. Those who can’t afford them are looked down upon, and to avoid such scrutiny, invest in electric simulacrum. The story however doesn’t solely focus on these creatures, but also on androids. These machines were so similar to humans, it is near impossible to tell the difference, hence forcing the government to ban them. Bounty hunter Rick Deckard however has the mission to find rogue androids and to “retire” them. In this journey, he’ll be enlightened in unimaginable ways that his life isn’t as easy as just buying himself his next big horse.


    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a phenomenal novel that does much more than tell a straight-forward story. Throughout the book you’ll zigzag between two different narratives, one focused around our favourite bounty hunter, Rick Deckard, and another one around J.R. Isidore, an empathy-filled human with low mental faculties, also called a chickenhead. While they’re both completely different characters who live completely different things throughout this story, it’s their view of life that makes them such fascinating characters. While one learns the meaning of empathy for certain things, the other is filled with it, no matter the recipient. What this adds to the story is our understanding and perception of androids and electric creatures as it forces us to wonder what exactly makes us any different from androids, or the other way around. The novel also attracts our attention to our ability to even distinguish the differences between something real and something fake. The use of a special test that uses a range of empathetic identification, notably our feelings towards animals, also known as the Voigt-Kampff profile test, among other tests, is specifically dissected to the point of forcing the  reader to even give it any credibility.

    What was fascinating about this very test is how it can even be transposed to our own very understanding of mental illness in society. Using the infamous Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders, or even any other tests we have, like the ones we use for psychopathy (see the Hare Psychopathy Checklist), can be quite controversial when you look at them as a list of questions that will result in a diagnosis. What happens if a person is able to fake his way to being a false-positive? Someone who doesn’t have said illness but pretends to have it? Would we ever be able to even distinguish the real from the fakes, or the fakes from the real? Philip K. Dick however focuses his attention much more on our understanding of androids and artificial intelligence. When the day comes that we invent our first robot with real human skin, watch as the various questions that this author thought of will be tackled upon and remain irresolute for countless years.


    Amidst all the exploration of reality, Philip K. Dick also incorporates a religious segment through Mercerism. Without diving too deep into the subject—got to leave some stuff for everyone to discover for themselves, right?—the novel also puts forth a whole concept of collective consciousness and the idea of empathy-towards-all. With the help of an empathy box, the story transports you to interesting landscapes and explores its themes even further than you’d ever imagine. Thing’s are even more messed up in this decrepit future when you realize that they have these special mood organs. Upon its very introduction at the beginning of the book, you’ll be stunned by what life has come down to. From the creation of social statuses based on the value of the animal you possess (if you don’t have one, expect to experience disgust from others in all its forms) to the idea of loneliness, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? has a lot to tell you. The novel even tackles the concept of progress and its inconspicuous cycle. Oh, did I forget to talk about Rick Deckard and his hunt for illegal androids? Well, that’s because this novel isn’t just some sort of action flick centered around a bounty hunter and his duty to retire illegal androids. It’s way more.

This classic novel is the source of inspiration for the classic movie Blade Runner (1982). Have you seen the movie? Are you excited for its sequel Blade Runner 2049?

Are you interested in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
How about you read this book for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo now!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? came out in 1968!

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40 thoughts on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

  1. WHY is it so difficult to put in the thought, time, and effort of adding a question-mark (?) to the title of Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The photo of the front cover you show has it. The novel thereby becomes one potential answer to do androids need to sleep? IF they do, do they dream? IF they dream, is it of “electric” sheep?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read this, but it was pre-2000, so I have no record of it. Which means I have very little memory of it either 🙂
    Watched the movie twice, just to make sure and disliked it both times. After Trang’s review of the new movie though, I might try it out again.

    But I could never separate Dick the Author from Dick the super screwed up drug addled addict. So I’ve never been drawn to most of his back catalogue.

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    1. Forget about Ridley Scott’s adaptation. It’s not loyal to the book. Honestly, I’d only give the movie credit for the atmosphere it succeeds in putting forth. It’s unique to the Blade Runner world. However, the sequel is another story. Directed by one of my favourite directors of all time, I think you can trust in him that it won’t be anything like the first movie, while still keeping the “Blade Runner atmosphere” set by Ridley Scott. This director has yet to make a movie that has disappointed me too.

      Hahahah that fun fact! That actually makes me more curious to what his catalogue is like than to steer me away from it! 😀


    1. Mission accomplished! 🙂 Philip K. Dick is definitely a sci-fi author worth checking out. I’ve seen Minority Report, with Tom Cruise, which is also a movie based on one of Dick’s work. Personally looking forward to picking up more of his books. 😀

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  3. Ahoy Lashaan, long time no speak my friend! As always your reviews are wonderfully constructed and thought-provoking. It’s strange, as a hardcore SF fan I’ve never actually read any of Dick’s works but stemming from my love of Blade Runner (my review for 2049 is now up) I’ve always intended to check out Do Androids… inexcusable really as I would only have to borrow my dad’s old paperback copy (a man of great taste, he owns an awful lot of good SF from Clarke, to Asimov and Dick).

    I really do need to get onto this and some of Dick’s other stories, especially since I’m a fan of the various screen adaptations – Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report and more recently Amazon’s brilliant Man in the High Castle series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chris!! My man!! Where on Earth have you been hahah I started to worry when I haven’t seen you around my comics/sci-fi novel reviews! 🙂 I’m surprised that you haven’t read any of Dick’s books though! I honestly thought you would’ve had already read this one at least since I had a feeling you would be a huge Blade Runner fan! I do think it’s time you pick up your dad’s copy and dive into the source material. You’ll see how DIFFERENT it is from the movie. Blade Runner definitely didn’t try and convey the ideas of the book at all! Barely even scratched the surface.

      It’s good to know however that you know who Dick is and all those movies/shows that are based on his books! I do plan on going through a lot more of his books though. His ideas and style is fascinating to me, and some of those movies are still on my watch list (waiting to read the book before watching them). I did however watch Minority Report (the movie, not the show) a couple times now since it was so relevant to my field of study hahah

      It’s good to hear from you again, my friend! Looking forward to visit your blog for your recent posts soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the concern mate, I’ve just been busy/a bit burnt out of late, I do have a few of your posts to catch up on good sir! I will definitely be checking out Do Androids, I know my dad rates it highly (and he introduced me to Blade Runner at a very young age) and your review only makes it sound more appealing!

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  4. Great review for this book Lashaan, I’ve never heard of this book but I have heard of the Blade Runner films and never knew Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was the inspiration for it. It sounds like a great book, and while I haven’t seen the Blade Runner films the trailer for the latest one looks incredible. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Beth! I’m glad to introduce you to the novel at the heart of everything then. 🙂 Yep, the sequel is absolutely stunning, while I fear too many people will end being to afraid to watch it because they haven’t seen the original movie or because it’s not “their type of movies”. Then again, those who do, I hope they enjoy it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. 🙂 Well hopefully there’ll be people out there who will give the sequel a shot. Honestly I’d be one of them, I’m not interested in the original but the sequel looks amazing and I’m definitely intrigued. 😀

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  5. This review just sorta blew my mind… I wonder would I be able to grasp the whole idea of it? I sure would like to hope so because what you say about it, I really like… I think I should justs et myself up for the challenge and have a go at it… I know you’re like full of smarties anyway, but if I failed to grasp the book, at least we can be 100% sure, you know 😀 hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaah you’re too kind Liz! I’d honestly recommend trying it out. You’d appreciate the ideas the author tries to convey for sure. I already know for a fact that you love books that challenges concepts that are set in stone too, books that make you think things over, again, and again, and again. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. I hear that Philip K. Dick’s books are actually all as fascinating as this one too. I think I have a lot of them on my TBR. Totally worth checking out their blurbs. Watch out for his titles though. They’re sometimes really odd. But those blurbs make them SO much more interesting. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ever since I find out that it was the inspiration for the classic Blade Runner movie (this was when I hadn’t seen the movie and only knew the movie by name because of how much of a cult classic it is), I’ve been meaning to read it. I then realized one by one all the movies/shows (Minority Report? The Man in the High Castle?) that are based on some of Dick’s books and began digging into his catalogue and was mesmerized by the number of books of his I wanted to read. I totally recommend checking this out (and others). Thank you so much! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I tried reading this after Ender’s Game and meh I lost interest… probably over my head?! Not sure now… but there sounds like there is A LOT more story than in Blade Runner! Many readers find Dick so inspiring! It sounds like he really could imagine an entire new society… very good review, Lashaan!

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    1. I have the Ender’s Game series on my TBR and am definitely looking forward to trying those out some day. I have the feeling they aren’t exactly in the same in the way they tell the story, but I can understand why this book didn’t hold on to your attention. I ended up however being so immersed by the writing and the ideas as I read it. Soooo looking forward to trying more of his books. Thank you so much, Dani! 😀

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      1. I am doing well thank you for asking, bouncing back from almost 3 week vacation took longer than I thought. Jet lag is more annoying than I remembered haha

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Zezee. It is an unusual read, but one that holds so many questions to ponder on. I greatly appreciated the way the author brought upon us all these questions through the existence of androids and this “post-war” world where animals (real or fake too) become some sort of currency. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re ready to enter a somewhat weird world! 😀



    Honestly. . .I hope this doesn’t sound off putting for whatever reason, but I have thought the same thing before. My second thought about thinking that if we can fathom it, that there must be some truth in the thought, is that it’s a dangerous one.

    Liked by 1 person

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