Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Do androids dream of electric sheep?

This was on the list Martin gave us at the start of the year of Fifty Books You Must Read or You Will Die. Well, I thought the title sounded rather fun, and Rachael as reading it too--she found a copy in the college library, and there were two of them so I took the other. Anyway, I can see why it was on the list.

It really was rather good fun, and also posed some serious questions about what it means to be human. The androids are created for those who flee the damaged earth to reside upon another planet, but some of them decide they don't want to remain as servants to their human owners, and so return to earth. The main character is a bounty hunter, tasked with 'retiring' the androids. He's desperate to earn enough to buy the ultimate status symbol, a real live animal, to replace the electric one he has. He did use to have a genuine sheep, until it died. So when he learns that there's a whole bunch of androids come to earth and he's the one tasked with 'retiring' them, he's pretty chuffed. It's his chance to earn enough to buy a new goat.

But things don't turn out as easily as they might have done, and he finds himself questioning what it really means to be human, and whether androids perhaps have just as much a right to 'life' as he does...

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