Finally got around to finishing this one. I set it down for a while, which I know isn’t great conduct for a reader, but interest waned for a bit and life got busy. I crushed the last 80 pages and I really enjoyed it. I think I’ll be coming back to this story sooner rather than later, due to all the themes and symbols PKD chooses to mess with here.
The story itself is pretty straightforward and after reading the novel, I believe I can fully appreciate BLADERUNNER & BLADERUNNER 2049. I think the adaptations from the movies actually do a lot of justice to the novel and expand well on the world that PKD created, while not distorting his vision all that much. PKD didn’t honestly talk much on the world and narrowed his focus to this single conflict between Deckard and the andys.
We still follow Rick Deckard(what a name) as he pursues andys (androids) who escaped from Mars to Earth. As time goes on we witness his struggles with killing andys, who despite all the dehumanizing language continually become persons to Deckard. This is only made more impossible with the involvement of Rachel and the slight romantic tension if it could be called that. He is continually drawn back to animals and fascinated by living ones. In fact, I’d say this is one of the driving forces in the novel itself. Deckard agrees to go hunt the andys based on the money involved. Little does he realize what sort of psychological trauma awaits him.
The book itself is dated and PKD has his own issues that he makes clear in the book, such as the objectification of women. His uncomfortable comparisons of Rachel, a woman, to a girl(spoiler he still sleeps with her). This to me just shows more of the cultural context he is writing in, along with maybe his own perverse machismo.
Is the book still a classic? Yes. Is the book necessary to read for sci-fi writers? I’d say yes to that as well. I’d say that this is one PKD book that everyone needs to read.