Friday, December 10, 2010

Book vs Film

Ridley Scott’s 1982 Blade Runner is a stylish action movie about a handsome bounty hunter in pursuit of coolly attractive androids. Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the 1968 book it’s based on, is a very different story about an unhappily married man who’s afraid he’s growing fat and bald. It’s also a meditation on religion, consumerism, community, and what it means to be human. Set in the wake of an environmental disaster, Deckard, the bounty hunter, tests the androids’ humanity with an empathy test and, if they fail, destroys them. Since the newer models are so advanced, the fakes can seem more empathetic than Deckard himself. And the question of his own humanity is not certain either.

The humans who have not left Earth for colonies either worship Mercer, a Christlike leader on television or a cheerier alternative named Buster Friendly. "Buster Friendly, a 24-hour TV talk show host who is the messiah to androids, does not even appear in the film.

A more recent book about a not-too-distant future crazed consumerist, high-tech society that you should read before Hollywood gets a hold of it, is Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. In this over-the-top satire, the US is an incompetently run police state, and its citizens are illiterate and addicted to shopping and streaming images and audio- all on a device everyone is required to wear around their necks. Do Androids was set in 2019, and this story may be set a few years after that.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol 1

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Vol 2

Blade Runner
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Blade Runner
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Blade Runner (Do Androids dream of electric sheep?)

Future Imperfect; Philip K. Dick at the Movies

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