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Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep?

I just finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I had thought about it a while ago but Sam demanded that I watch the movie Blade Runner with him first just in case reading the book made me think the movie wasn't as good. I'm glad I did now because the movie is very different from the book and in some ways I actually prefer it. Don't get me wrong: Philip K. Dick could make a good story and did so on many occasions but in essence I think he was always a short story writer. By making a novella he was in essence beating the reader's faces in with a brick and then trying to define a brick as if you hadn't just seen it coming for your face a few dozen times. Yes, 'androids cannot feel empathy' and 'we are different' I knew that from the very first chapter when empathy first became the all time raining champion of my internal Word-a-Day calendar.

And then the book touches on other subjects but nowhere near as much as empathy and nowhere near enough that you can fully comprehend just what the hell is going on. It is a bit embarrassing really. The book is obviously made for school kids. It even has a glossary at the back just in case you didn't know what a 'brain' was or what 'fake' meant. So rereading a page and trying to work out why all the characters are suddenly going mental and thinking that they are merging with some god-type being and if it is all just a bunch of extremely unnecessary symbolism thrown at you by good ol' Phil to remind you of how deep he is seems just a tad degrading.

All in all the book does raise some good topics though even if they are stretched out to unnecessary proportions. The one thing that I couldn't get out of my head was the similarity between Mercer's past and Isidore's. Now, if you are thick headed you will tell me that it is impossible because Mercer is a fake and I will start to wonder if you actually read the book. This is because it was mentioned that the person who 'proved' Mercer's fraudulence was said by one of the androids to be a android in disguise himself. It is also said that the android's thought that humans used Mercer to prove that they were better than androids and therefore this 'evidence' could be though of as a strategic political attack. The other evidence is Isidore's strong mental attachment to Mercer, like he is a lifeline connecting him, possibly, to his past. His past seems to be something he cannot remember very well since people infused his brain with radiation and he became a chicken-head and it is revealed that no one really remembers how Mercerim was started either. However, in a moment of clarity Isidore does reveal that when he was younger he had the ability to bring dead animal's back to life, we later learn that this was also one of Mercer's well-known abilities.

Even if I am wrong and Philip Dick wrote the story so that Mercer is Mercer and Isidore is just Isidore I would probably prefer not to know. In my mind things make a lot more sense when viewed from the perspective that Isidore is not just an ignorant goat, chewing up whatever religious fanaticisms are thrown at him, but is still (to some degree) wise and discerning on a subconscious level and is just trying his best in a world that mutilated and forgot him.



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