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Book Clubbing


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick




Philip K. Dick

Author Interview

About the Book

First published in 1968, the novel is set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, where Earth's life has been greatly damaged by nuclear global war. Most animal species are endangered or extinct from extreme radiation poisoning, so that owning an animal is now a sign of status and empathy, an attitude encouraged towards animals. The book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner.


About the Author

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer, who published works mainly belonging to the genre of science fiction. Dick explored philosophical, sociological and political themes in novels with plots dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, alternate universes, and altered states of consciousness. His work reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.

Discussion Questions

  1. ​The Big One: Do you think the androids evolved beyond their artificial beginnings to become alive or, at least, equivalent to genuine life? Why or why not? Definitely support your answer with evidence from the text.
  2. By the novel's end, do you think Rick has become permanently empathetic to the androids or will he return to being able to think of them as objects and not people? Also, do you believe he will return to this bounty hunting job after some R&R? Why or why not?
  3. Although the space colonies are mentioned many times by several characters, the story never goes intergalactic tourism and take us to those colonies like other Philip K. Dick novels do (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch for example). Why do you suppose the story is contained to Earth? How does this affect our view of both Earth and the unseen colonies?
  4. Wilbur Mercer and Buster Friendly both have a lot in common (check out our "Characters" if you wish to gaze into spoiler territory). What do the religious icon and the TV icon have in common? How are they different? What do you think this says about their respective media and purposes?
  5. Would you say the women of tomorrow fit within traditional gender roles or do they buck the social trend? A little of column A; a little of column B? Explain your answer. For this question, we'll make no distinction between human ladies and those constructed on the factory floor.
  6. Blade Runner, the novel's cinematic counterpart, has a huge cult following, and fans have been frothing for a sequel since its release. Imagine you've just been hired to prepare an outline for the new film. What aspects of the original novel would you use that were not found in the original movie? Examples include kipple, the Penfield mood organ, the character of Isidore, and so on. Why would choose these? What importance do they serve in your new film? (If you haven't seen Blade Runner, you might need to watch it before answering this question, which is not horrible homework by any stretch.)

Awards, Nominations, etc.

  • 1968 – Nebula Award nominee
  • 1998 – Locus Poll Award, #51 All-Time Best SciFi Novel before 1990