So after watching the Blade Runner movie many times, I’ve finally taken the time to read Phillip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”
It’s still a classic that holds up well. We can believe that the earth gets contaminated to the point that people can barely live there, extinguishing species along the way.
The reason I actually read the book was that in anime’s “Psycho Pass”, the antagonist talks about how he preferred the book over the movie and that the topics differed significantly.
I noticed that the movie barely touches on the idea of animal ownership being an aspirational luxury good. In the book, this conspicuous consumption is clung to in the belief that showing the few people remaining that you’re ‘somebody’ enough to own such a product.
I’d say that the book is a drearier commentary on the nature of humanity. It’s not so much that the androids have consciousness and ‘life’ but that humanity doesn’t even really know who it is or why it should continue to try to propagate across Earth and Mars.
No one lives here, apartment buildings are empty. The landscape is barren. With war, we’ve destroyed the planet, but not quite so much that it’s completely unlivable. There’s a bit of a feeling that although we’ve realized our godhood by replicating ourselves, we’ve lost connection to our god in the process.
When we get to know the androids our relationship is confusing. At least within their nest, there’s a simple, serene quality to their narcissism. Roy’s attitude toward “the chicken-head” and M’s desire to amputate half of the spider’s limbs “because he doesn’t need them to walk.” Obviously.