A few months back I was a panelist at a writing symposium. The topic: The works of Philip K. Dick. I had read a couple of his works, one of which was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I spotted Blade Runner at the local library so I dowloaded the audiobook, forgetting I had already read the book.
I'm glad I read it again.
Ever since I was on that panel, I have a new-found respect for an author I already thought was amazing. I hope to read many more of his stories in the future.
Blade Runner is a classic in every sense of the word. It's a study not only in human behavior, but in the philosophy of how a society will interact with artificial intelligent life forms of their own creation. The most fascinating part of the book for me was when the book's protagonist, Rick Deckard is taken to a faux police station for questioning. As a bounty hunter Rick's job is to eliminate an advanced android, the Nexus-6. The conversation between Rick, a human, and the police chief, an android is worth the price of admission. What if an android doesn't know it's an android and believes it's human? There are many philosophical questions found throughout the pages.
The world in which the book is set is dreary and grim where the existence of living animals is a rare exception and Rick's desire to obtain something that is alive causes him to make rash decisions. The animals fetch exorbitant prices and their robotic counterparts are expensive as well. I found it interesting that mankind's desire to have animals in the world continues, even if they're counterfeit. They continue to exist, as if technology can overcome the extinction of many species. It makes sense that androids, so life-like that it requires elaborate tests to identify them, interact and live among humans. At least, in the world Philip K. Dick created, it makes perfect sense.
Reading the novel made me want to watch the 1982 classic, but I did not. In a way I'm glad--I like the written story better, and that's saying a lot because the film is stunning. If you haven't read Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, you really should.