The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
There is so much packed into this short novel it is hard know where to begin a review. To keep it concise, here’s what I liked: This novel does what only scifi novels are able to do: ask the Big Questions. No, I don’t mean questions like “what is the meaning of love?” (although it asks that question, too) but even more profound questions like “what does it mean to be human?” and “why are we afraid of anything that is different?” Anyone who has seen and loved some of the best Star Trek episodes (Measure of a Man, Let That Be Your Last Battlefield) has seen later flowerings of the seeds planted by this 1968 novel. Which brings me to the things I didn’t like. A major element of the novel was a quasi-religion called “Mercerism” that involved people hooking themselves into machines to dial up whatever emotions they wanted to experience. Sounded a lot like a 1960’s fantasy of a culture with government-sanctioned drug trips. That part of the book’s plot felt dated and extraneous, and not because I know this thread is missing from the movie based on the book. If I have ever seen Blade Runner, I do not remember it at all. So for me, this book stands on its own. I salute it for being a visionary piece of science fiction and for its place as a touchstone for so much of modern scifi. And I really loved that the eponymous question is never outright asked in the book. What do I think is the answer? A definite “yes.”
Scott Brick is one of my favorite narrators. I think his reading style goes well with science fiction. He can make things sound just – a – little – bit – off, which is just what was called for in this case.
It was a good story and very thought provoking with some interesting characters and a good plot. Suspenseful and exciting story telling and the narration fits the novel's flow. But it was hard to follow how Rick was arriving at his conclusions and feelings and the entire last part of the book is very confusing and hard to tell what is real and not real which I guess is the point but there is no obvious resolution at all and just dropping things at the end left me a bit unsatisfied with what was a pretty good story.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
DIAL A MOOD
PKD has a huge following. If you have already read a couple of Dick's books then you already know if you are a fan or not. This book has the cerebral feel of his work. Dick was a very troubled individual, who was married five times and was clinically mentally disturbed. I only mention this, as his personality comes out strongly in most of his writings. You will never come out of a Dick book feeling uplifted. He was highly intelligent and that also comes out in his work.
This takes place after World War Terminus. Most of the world has migrated to other planets. The radiation of Earth shortens the life and affects the mentality of the people who have stayed on the mostly abandoned Earth. Everyone on Earth owns a pet to show his empathy. The problem is that most animals are extinct and the ones left are very expensive. Some people have robot animals, as they are much less expensive, but you hide the fact that your animal is not real.
I prefer PKD's shorter works. The shorter works give you a chance to experience his brilliant mind and innovated ideas on how the future will be, without the hours long depression his books give you.
I ask the PKD followers to not unhelp me simply cause we disagree. The type of people who like the books I like and dislike the books I dislike, should not waste there money on these books. The PKD followers should get the book. Reviews of differing opinions should be allowed.
Scott Brick's narration fits the mood of the book.
avid reader, on my way to avid listener. also an employee at Audible.
I wish the publishers had just stuck with the original title of this book (Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?). Although, I understand that sales are most likely increased because of its increased association with the popular movie, Blade Runner. Still, the original title is so much better! It literally poses a question, and it is so satisfyingly frustrating because by the end of the novel, you have no answers; only more questions.
The questions that this book tackles are difficult, and the way Dick attempts (and just manages to attempt) these questions is well-rounded; topics such as atheism versus theism and reality versus unreality (or perhaps surreality). They're handled with elegance and the beauty of imperfection and incompletion. The attempt to answer only leads to more questions. And such fantastic questions.
For a science fiction novel, it's also pretty accessible. Dick takes a lot of pointers from the noir and detective fiction genres; there's a lot of satisfying action alongside the difficult, intellectual subject matter.
As for the audiobook, the narrator is much too slow. Listening to him on 3x speed sounded like the normal speed of most narrators. But he was good, otherwise. Don't let it deter you from listening.
If you were born before 1960, the hopelessness and futility makes perfect sense. Given the tools he had, what a wonderful statement. I loved it.
Expect a broken heart. That's what we all waited for.
It seemed as if every character was waking up from a nap; all lazily speaking/yawning to each other. It didn't help that the narration was also so unnecessarily grandiose. It was simply better when the reader spoke like a normal human.
Lastly, the story was stressful and uninteresting. After a while you come to expect shit to go wrong with every little situation. So much so that you stop caring and just want the book to end.
... Just my opinion
One of the most prominent thoughts that I had after finishing this book was: "How the heck did Ridley Scott get Blade Runner out of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Where Blade Runner is a powerful story about what it means to be alive, Philip K. Dick's book is a disorganized mess that has no idea what it is trying to say. Running the gamut between emotional humanity and the shallowness of religion, I am at a loss as to what the book's point is.
The story is roughly about the same thing as the movie: eight androids have infiltrated Earth and a bounty hunter named Deckard has to hunt them down. Also the names of two of them are Priss and Roy. There the similarities to the movie end. Every time you think you have a handle on what Dick is trying to do, he switches gears. At first you think it might be a mystery novel. That is blown away by the fact that Deckard is given detailed dossiers on all of the androids, including identity and place of work. Then maybe it could be a social commentary, but the story jumps from discussing the centrality of Mercerism, the social necessities of owning an animal, animal preservation, post-apocalyptic recovery, the stigma of special needs, the humanity of androids, the inhumanity of androids, the tenuous thread of reality, and so forth. It jumps to so many different topics, it is impossible to determine what the author thinks about a given subject.
The characters are completely flat and forgettable. Deckard seems to be struggling with the morality of his job, but it never actually compels him to take a different action than he would if he was utterly ruthless. Rachel is simply manipulative and has no other note or motivation that drives her. She just does what is superficially best for the Rosen Corporation's next five minutes as opposed to its survival. The only character that really stands out as a consistent and interesting character is J.R. Isador. He definitely comes off as someone who lives on the fringe of a society which looks on him with contempt. It's just kind of a shame that the character turns out to be totally irrelevant in the story.
Scott Brick gets the job done for the performance, but I get the idea that he's trying a little too hard to get Deckard to sound like Bogart or a similar film noir star. He also makes the women sound pretty shallow and vapid, but that might just be Dick's writing. He really shines with Isador and the narration, giving a good sense of when a character is thinking, speaking and when the narrative itself is speaking.
This was a slog to get through. I would have a hard time recommending this to anyone except perhaps a science fiction historian as a proto-cyberpunk story. Even then the book only really has relevance as the origin of an excellent movie. Further, Issac Asimov's Caves of Steel establishes similar groundwork for cyberpunk, is also about robots and detectives, and is actually a very good story. Unless you have a very compelling reason to give this book a try, I'd recommend you let it pass you by.
Forced my way through it because it's supposed to be a "classic". Actually had to turn up the reading speed to keep from going mad at the pedantic, pause-filled pace. Pretty sure the narrator was told, "this is a five-hour book, but we can charge more if you go slow and stretch it out to 20 hours".
Do not read! But feel free to assign it to a bad student as punishment!
. . . I didn't.
1. Poor character development. You never really know or learn enough about Deckard to understand his actions.
2. Uneven writing. Dick spends paragraphs and pages describing Deckard's dreams of purchasing an animal, but not much more than a few sentences describing how or why he fell for Rachel. Mercerism is never really laid out enough give the viewer any idea of what is going on with those scenes.
Scott Brick is solid as usual, though he hams up the noir tone a bit too heavily here.
In looking at other reviews I find I am not alone in not caring for the reading of this classic. One reviewer stated that Scott Brick is one of his favorites so I'll give him another chance. It seems to me the sentences were divided into phrases for drama but the effect was lost when every sentence seemed to have this effect.
The conversational flow was lost and it was choppy.
I only wish Harrison Ford read this one. The version of the movie where he narrated was the best one (to me anyway)
Dispite my dislike of the read I enjoyed the book very much. I read the hard cover version years ago and it was a nice refresher.