Written by Philip K. Dick
I still remember the first time I watched “Blade Runner” when I was around nine years old. I didn’t much understand it, the story or the subtext, but I felt like I could almost smell the dirt on the streets and feel the condensation from the fog. Watching the film fifteen years later, I still experience these sensations. And being fifteen years older, I’m able to actually grasp the complexities of the plot and the concepts both political and metaphysical that fester right below the surface. “Blade Runner” still stands up as one of the best Sci-fi films ever produced, and it all started with this book.
I’ve been meaning to read “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” for quite some time now. But like most of my intentions when it comes to novels, the start date kept getting pushed further and further back while I engorged myself on every movie that caught my fancy. Finally, last week, I got around to reading it. The first thing that struck me was how vastly different it was from “Blade Runner”. Sure, most of the characters and settings were still there, but everything that happened was completely different. As dense of a movie that Ridley was able to fashion, the book, written by Philip K. Dick, is deeper still. Unlike the film, which spent most of its running time above the surface, focusing on the actions of its characters, the novel almost solely focuses on their inner desires and beliefs. Of course, this is largely due to the limitations and strengths of the differing art forms, but it still lends itself towards creating an interesting dichotomy. By watching the film and reading the novel, a more complete experience of the two is achieved. Though their individual stories are quite different, each one still manages to inform upon the other. If “Blade Runner” is a feast for the senses, than “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is a feast for the mind. And more than anything, this separates the two from each other. I found myself emotionally moved by the novel, but I was wowed by the film. If you’ve only seen the film, read the novel. And if you’ve only read the novel, see the film. If you have still yet to do either, what the hell are you sitting here reading this for? Go out and find them!