By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They’ve even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women.
Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.
Fear made her seem ill; it distorted her body lines, made her appear as if someone had broken her, and then, with malice, patched her together badly.
Seeing as this novel was published in 1968, the world described is a futuristic, yet realistic, world that thankfully has not happened yet. Richard Deckard is a bounty hunter whose mission is to kill the new Nexus-6 androids who had fled Mars and made their home back on Earth. Real animals are a rarity in this world – owning them represents your wealth and increases the social status. Those who cannot afford them have to settle for artificial ones. It is a theme heavily focused on in the book, a lot of pages were used for it.
My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.
Once read, it is clear why this book has become the ageless one, a timeless classic in its genre, still quoted years after its release. It touches on the ever-lasting topics of self-identity, religion and sociology and the changes that inevitably await humans. And most importantly – empathy, which seems to always arise when the theme of advanced robotics is included.
You have to be with other people, he thought. In order to live at all. I mean before they came here I could stand it… But now it has changed. You can’t go back, he thought. You can’t go from people to nonpeople.
I listened to this novel in the form of an audiobook and perhaps because of it, yet not necessarily, certain details of the plot escaped me. I have a vague idea of what the empathy box was supposed to be, but if you asked me to explain it, I would falter. My mind has also just decided to struggle with regards to Wilbur Mercer and the religious aspect he represents. I will come back to this novel in years’ time in the physical format. Thinking about it, this novel can be read and re-read some more and there will always be something new in it for me to find.