Classic sci-fi novel originally published as ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’ Set in 2021, after World War Terminus has killed millions, living creatures are coveted by everyone. While most individuals can only afford fake animals, the few remaining real ones go for very high prices. As well as animals, a range of android humans have been developed, but these are now banned on earth and the ones who escape their homes on Mars are hunted down and ‘retired’ by bounty hunters like Rick Deckard.
Though based on the original novel, the movie Blade Runner has little to do with the book, where the writers took some of the characters and gave them a lot more to do than in Philip K Dick’s version. The author seems to have been more interested in character development than action, and while there are some scenes where Deckard is forced to use his laser, the focus is very much on mankind’s obsession with what is fake and what is real.
If I’d read the book before watching the movie, I’m sure I’d have enjoyed it a lot more, but of course there’s an expectation that filmmakers will do justice to the original. In this case, the book is great, but it’s a completely different kettle of androids to Ridley Scott’s big-screen vision. Considering when it was written, this is a clever and thoughtful piece of work and richly deserves its place in the annals of sci-fi classics.