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Publisher's Summary

Here is the classic sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, set nearly thirty years before the events of the new Warner Bros. film Blade Runner 2049, starring Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, and Robin Wright.

By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies build incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.

Praise for Philip K. Dick

“[Dick] sees all the sparkling—and terrifying—possibilities . . . that other authors shy away from.” - Rolling Stone

“A kind of pulp-fiction Kafka, a prophet.”- The New York Times

©1968 Philip K. Dick; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Asking the important questions 50 years on

Philip K Dick is one of the most overlooked writers of the mid 20th Century in my view. He has continually asked the interesting and disturbing questions about what is reality. In this, his best known book (albeit known to most under this title and not its more accurate and provacative release title, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?") he asks it with a callous disregard for the answer, so long as it is the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts and bad things need to be done; Dick doesn't shy away from either.
I enjoyed listening to this for the bit parts, too. A by-product of familiarity perhaps, sometimes text can become banal. Not this text. The entrophy of the society it depicts, and which Scott Brick captures well in his performance, is never lost because the "bits" sustain the whole. JR Esidore (Brick sounding like William Sanderson as F B Farnum in "Deadwood") is a treat. His faltering "chicken head" wisdom is as ironic as it is insightful. Buster Friendly (perhaps a foerunner to the caller in Hunger Games) is annoying but unforgettable. Rachael is beautiful and (as herself and as Pris) callous as can be imagined. And for all of that, Deckard is as complex, and flawed and believable as he was 50 years ago, (30 years ago, when I first read this, at least).
I think this is an important book. It is a signpost for The Terminator which was to come and a reminder of the ease with which we can slip into genocide, the worship of false idols and belief in our own superiority which has gone, but is never really lost. This is serious and entertaining science fiction for a person who likes to think about why we do the things we do.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • D. ABIGT
  • Leander, TX United States
  • 08-29-10

This is the original Do Androids Dream of Electric

It has almost no relation to the movie but makes some very interesting points in its own right. In some ways I like it even better than the movie. There is a whole subplot in the book about people needing to care for the remaining animals on the planet only alluded to in the movie with the one line asking if the owl is real. In the book people that cannot afford real animals to take of get electric ones to keep face with the neighbors. The commentary on this and how culty people can be might turn some off but I thought it made the story more relevant to the real world.

50 of 52 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • LOUISVILLE, KY, United States
  • 04-24-12

Quirky, Ominous, Immersive

First, rest assured this is a recording of Phillip K. Dick's book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and not a novelization of the film. However, this is one instance in which the book compliments the film. Phillip K. Dick, who didn't live to see the film completed but did see production stills and read the script, also felt the film complimented his work: one can add to the appreciation of the other. Having seen the film before reading (or listening) to the book, I feel like I have a better understanding of both and can appreciate each on its own merits.

On a near-future earth ravaged by the radioactive fallout of the last World War, the remnants of humanity who have stubbornly decided to stay (instead of emigrating to the off-world colonies) occasionally have to contend with androids--escapees from their lives as servants on the off-world colonies. Much of humanity has reached a state of relative peace thanks to a religion based on empathy (sympathizing and then identifying with another), but the androids lack empathy and are thus dangerous to other humans, so its up to bounty hunters like Rick Deckard to find out who is human and who is machine and "retire" the androids.

Phillip K. Dick's books often have wacky premises, but the reason readers and film producers keep coming back to his work is that he creates a compelling internal logic and structure of feeling for his characters to act within. Deckard comes to question how he defines his humanity and the perils/limits of empathy, for example. This book isn't action-based (although there is some of that), but really based around tense moments (and to Dick's credit, they are tense moments) where Deckard is having crisis of conscience or is questioning who is a real person, who is artificial, and what that distinction means. This led to several moments that put me on the edge of my seat. The ominous atmosphere of post-nuclear earth, the inhuman threat of the androids, and the other strange elements of the story come together to form a quirky but immersive atmosphere for Deckard's inner struggles with himself and outer struggle with the androids.

I would summarize Scott Bricks typical narrative style in two words: broody and languid. He draws out words and creates an almost hypnotic rolling effect with his voice that is enjoyable if you are in the mood for that. Brick doesn't read, he performs, but that performance may not be to everyone's taste (so do listen to the sample clip). Still, it fits well with this book: his almost melancholy narration highlights the gloom of post-nuclear Earth and the broodiness of the characters themselves.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Muddy
  • DeWitt, MI, USA
  • 02-20-09

Pleasantly Surprised

Great Book. Please understand that you are not getting Blade Runner at all. This book was actually titled Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and the movie Blade Runner was VERY loosely based on the novel.

After seeing negative reviews for this book I was a bit dubious, but being a huge fan of Blade Runner I gave it a shot anyway. I was very happy to find that the novel, while being pretty much an entirely different story, was very entertaining and thought provoking. I had never read Dick before and I will most certainly explore more of his work in the near future. The reading by Scott Brick was great as well... as usual.

67 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Shawn
  • Fairfax, VA, United States
  • 07-25-10

Odd that there are so many negative reviews

I found it very strange that there were so many negative reviews on this book and the reader. If you are a Philip K. Dick fan, I don't see how you can react negatively to this reading. The book explores many rich themes that the movie does not have time to develop. I offer the opinion that you could enjoy the movie and the book as two complementary works exploring the same basic question, "what does it mean to be human?". However the book asks other questions dealing with religion and empathy and what they mean in the context of being human. Deckard's epiphany in the desert gets to the heart of the answer. It is this self-exploration of what matters (and what should matter) that differentiates the humans from the androids. This is not Hollywood science fiction, this reading is science fiction from an author unafraid to look into the future and tell us about ourselves as we will be.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Ryan
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 12-05-15

Where does man end and machinery take over?

Audible has misleadingly titled this book "Blade Runner", but it's not a novelization of Ridley Scott's 1982 movie. It's actually the original 1968 Philip K. Dick novel on which the film was based, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" I'm calling attention to this because there are huge differences between the film and PKD's book.

Though it's been a long time since I've seen Blade Runner, I think the two works complement each other and both deserve to be checked out. The movie has a prescient cyberpunk flavor and a gorgeous soundtrack, while the novel feels more rooted in the upheaval of the late 1960s, with its consciousness-altering "mood organs", empathic religious cult of Mercerism, and themes of post-WWIII environmental devastation. Dick’s undramatic, conversational writing style gives it all a creepy hyperrealism.

As in the movie, the protagonist, Richard Deckard, is a bounty hunter whose job is to "retire" androids, who have escaped forced servitude on space colonies and returned to an Earth that's gradually sinking into ruin. The androids have been designed with actual flesh exteriors, so they pass for human on cursory inspection. In some cases, they have implanted memories and actually think they're human. The only reliable way to recognize them, short of a bone marrow scan, is to subject them to a test that measures natural empathy, which androids lack. Of course, this is also an issue with some humans, as we come to find out.

In typical PKD fashion, the story muses about what's "real" and what isn't. A significant theme has to do with the owning of live animals as status symbols, since radioactive "dust" has pushed most species to the edge of extinction. Many people can't afford real animals, though, so manufacturers of fake replicas do a brisk business. There's also an "empathy" device that puts users in psychic contact with a being called Mercer, who might or might not be a hoax. And, at one point, a plot twist calls into question Deckard's own humanity.

The creators of Blade Runner were probably wise to push the weirder, Dickian stuff out of the story and just focus on the human vs android angle, but I enjoyed Dick's more philosophical vision and the questions he asks about the artificiality of modern human existence. While his ideas of the future are showing their age (we have androids, but still need human operators to connect a phone call?), some of them are prescient. Is sitting at home using an empathy box all that different from sitting at home aimlessly reading facebook? What happens when the fake world overruns the real one?

This probably isn't my favorite PKD novel (so far, that would be The Man in the High Castle), given that its ideas are no longer as mind-blowing or future-proof as they might have been back in 1968. Still, Blade Runner (the film) remains an important cultural touchstone among sci-fi geeks and the source material is interesting to compare and contrast. Audiobook narrator Scott Brick does a decent job, but he has a tendency to Spit. Out. His. Syllables. Which is a little distracting.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jes
  • Hobart, IN, United States
  • 07-01-12

Greatly Surprised

Please understand that you are not getting 'Blade Runner' at all. This book should be titled 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep', and the movie 'Blade Runner' was VERY loosely based on the novel.

People tell me that it sucks because their expecting 'Blade Runner' and I think Audible should change the name and stop putting 'Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep' in small writing and make it the main title with 'Blade Runner' below it. Its deceptive if you ask me and my explain the low ratings.

I got this book because someone told me that like 'Dune' the real story was so much better. I listened to this book while a family member read it and we both agree this is much better.

I almost didn't read this book because someone told it was 'Blade Runner' and I wanted the original book. Glad I didn't listen. Because here we have the details of the story that 'Blade Runner' doesn't give us. Here we get a real feel for what was really happening in the future. We see how unintended consequences of our actions can come back to bite us in the rear. 'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.' - Salvor Hardin in "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov. If we had learned this then we would not have the basis of this story.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 12-10-13

Top shelf Philip K Dick

Top shelf Philip K Dick exploring a tangled web of heavy themes like: what it means to be human, the nature and limits of empathy, love, religion, God, entropy, animals, decay.

I had mistakenly put off this novel because HELL I already saw the movie. How can you improve upon THAT movie? Well, the book is better. A cliché, certainly I know, but it is spot on with this book. The movie captures a piece of the PKD mad genius, but it is a 2D representation of a 3D Dick. IT is an android, an artificial sheep of a movie that moves, bellows and behaves perfectly but doesn't have the spark the sizzle or the depth of the novel and IT was a HELLUVA good movie.

Anyway, I'm caught up in a PHDickathon and just ordered a bunch more of his novels off EBay, so I should at least have room to softly land my tattered soul after this amazing novel. Next up? 'Ubik' or 'a Scanner Darkly'.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful

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A scifi touchstone

What did you like best about this story?

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.”

Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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BUSTER FRIENDLY

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.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. G. J. Walker
  • 11-10-09

Why the title?

Surely, as this is a telling of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' should it not be called the same? Having been a fan of the film for many years I had never got around to reading the book. It is so completely different it was almost a different story. So why call it 'Blade Runner'?

Well read; excellent story; so random and confusing in places it made my head sore. A must for any sci fi fans who likes off-the-world worlds.

19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Hunter
  • 10-05-13

More than just a story about killing androids

Really enjoyed the book. It is vastly different from the film and I think calling the audiobook "Blade Runner" is a bit disingenuous. The hunt for the androids is almost a sub plot and the book concentrates more on creating a very terrifying and believable futuristic world and the desperate people still stick on earth after a devastating war. In the book, Deckard muses on his desire to own a real animal instead of a robotic imitation and how publicity admitting you have a robot is a social faux pas. A haunting book that is well read and, in my opinion, better than the film.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 08-22-09

Great book, slow Reader

Big fan of Philip K Dick & this is a classic.

The only criticism for me is the readers slow rather soporific delivery that rather downplays the faster moving pace & excitement of the story.
Doesn't really help when you speed up on your listening device either, then it sounds unnatural.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 01-21-17

Completely Different From The Film

What made the experience of listening to Blade Runner the most enjoyable?

The story. I was very surprised at how different the book is to the film.

What other book might you compare Blade Runner to, and why?

It stands alone.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Scott Brick offers excellent characterisation of the protagonists and helped build tension and suspense.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Viv
  • 01-17-15

Back to Basics

As a lover of the film I was intrigued to get closer to the source of the story. I found this recording very well presented and added considerably to my understanding of the context of the film. As with the film it is a sombre, somewhat depressing and often difficult to understand. If you are into this genre - well worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • kerrymay
  • 02-04-12

Droning voice matched droning narrative

I felt that the reading matched the style of the voice perfectly i.e. world-weary narrator, inescapable doom.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Brian Jenkinson
  • 09-18-16

life and death

great book showing just how films embellish a book. far deeper look into the thinking of the life and death scenario, and whether there is a God.

listen to it and decided for yourself

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous Coward
  • 07-17-14

Now I'm REALLY depressed - still rated 5 stars

If you could sum up Blade Runner in three words, what would they be?

Deep, Depressing, Hopeless

What was one of the most memorable moments of Blade Runner?

The realisation that the film is almost nothing like the book at all - the names of the characters are the same but that's about it.

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

The story is told very laconically, like an old black and white noir detective film (Hey Doll), absolutely perfect - but it does make it quite slow paced at times.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Prepare yourself

Any additional comments?

I have never quite managed to get round to reading this book, but have read a lot of Philip K. Dick in my time - I think, mainly because I liked the film so much and didn't want that destroyed. I will now have to re-watch the film to check, but I think this is one of those rare cases where the film might be better than the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul Laight
  • 11-18-17

More human than human...

A work of genius brilliantly narrated. A haunting sci-fi novel even more evocative than the incredible film adaptations.

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  • Alice Turner
  • 10-23-17

really really good

I came here looking to finally listen to the book after many years of watching the film. I must say this is 100% better than the film, the questions brought up here feel real n lasting

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  • Aaron
  • 12-03-17

Dialed Noir on the Mood Organ

There's too many good words to say about Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, and Blade Runner. If you listen carefully, you will discover enlightenment that will take a lifetime to unravel.

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  • Maracai
  • 11-10-17

World building

What makes this story fantastic is it's brilliantly alien and yet scarily probable setting. The writing doesn't so much capture a scene as it does a brooding and oppressive atmosphere of corporate domination and philosophical insecurity. Scott Brick brings it all to life with a compelling and gritty performance.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-24-16

Excellent performance and interpretation

Listening to this narration deeply changed my understanding of this book. The reading is slow and deliberate, bringing to the front the strange coldness of the androids, the decayed world, and the anxieties of the characters.

It is difficult not to read the book in light of the movie, but this reading makes a very strong case for what it is in its own right. Still, I also enjoyed finding each element brought out in the movie also resting here.

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  • Paul Rhoden
  • 10-08-16

Better Than The Film

I liked the book it was better than the film i think. Especially the way in which the andies are portrayed

1 of 2 people found this review helpful