Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Etc.

I'm a sucker for a great book title, and there are some readers I'm always prepared to trust (even when I disagree with them), so I'm not at all surprised to have really enjoyed Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Through a complicated series of deficiencies and poor life choices, I've read too few of the core SF classics, so it's nice to get this one off my list.

Maybe I'll even watch Blade Runner now. Who knows.

(I've been saying it to students for a long time, so let me say it publicly as well: academics generally make poor SF readers, because we just don't have the mental space both for the literary canon we're supposed to carry around in our brains, and for the special SF canons required to make full sense of a particular SF writer or text. There's some very weak academic literary criticism of SF, speculative fiction, and fantasy. Usually it's very well meant, of course, but "well meant"  "well done." Caveat lector, is what I'm saying.)

There's precious little point to my saying much about this novel, I think: caveat lector certainly applies to my readers on this blog, especially when I'm swallowing a novel as rapidly as I did Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Regardless, because I'm an academic and therefore congenitally unable to stop opining.....

It's a fascinating small triumph, this novel. People love it, I get that, and I can totally understand it, but for me, maybe because I'm reading it so out of sequence historically and personally, it's one gem among many, rather than the touchstone that some of its fans consider it. I've appreciated so many of the insights and confessions I've read over the years when reading about Androids that the novel was really never going to meet those expectations. I didn't expect that it would, so maybe that helped, but hard to say.

When I posted recently on Ender's Game, similarly a genre classic that I'd failed to get around to reading, a frequent commenter on this blog remarked that I now "qualify to be a 15-year-old SF nerd/geek." I'm a startlingly long way past that age now, and teenagers weren't the target market for SF in the 60s, but maybe he's saying that I'm incapable of having my mind blown by SF novels. Sad if true.

Comments

David Leach said…
What? You've never watched BLADE RUNNER? It's the CITIZEN KANE of eco-apocalyptic cyborg morality fables!
Fraze said…
He went to "Silent Spring" four times instead
David Leach said…
Sounds like someone needs an intervention for a BLADE RUNNER double feature: Original followed by Director's Cut.

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..."
richard said…
I spent a lot of time sitting under trees reading slim volumes of poetry.

Just never been a movie guy: it's a significant failing, I acknowledge that.

Loved Ishtar, though.
doug brown said…
i agree. let's devote one of our book nights to a blade runner & beer (& potluck?) evening. who's up for it?
David Leach said…
Always up to watch BLLADE RUNNER again, esp. with beer and grub. I once watched it 3 times over a weekend on laser disc! And happy to fill such a woeful gap in Richard's cultural education. Who's got the best TV viewing set-up? (Not me...)

Even the Captcha for this comment asked me to spell: endbtai -- or "End Batty".

It's a sign....
richard said…
My TV setup is seriously poor: probably Rob J would have the best, or at least I don't know that there's a pressing reason to aim higher than his.

Let's talk at the next meeting!

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