THE STORY COULD be utterly dreadful, and I’d still love Philip K. Dick, if only for the best book title I know of. Inspired.
To business: Clocking in at only 210 pages it didn’t take me long to read. I’d never read a book by the author before but this novel has been on my mental list of TBRs (To Be Read) for awhile. The blurb:
‘World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn’t ‘retiring’ them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal – the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.
Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard’s world things were never that simple, and his assignment quickly turned into a nightmare kaleidoscope of subterfuge and deceit – and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted..’
The premise is simple, man vs androids. And yet it isn’t: like so many great books before and after. Built upon that foundation what Philip K. Dick does masterfully is to use that very basic premise and turns it loose in the future, in a bleak setting, where technology is on the verge of matching human intelligence, where androids seem as real as humans, the only way to tell them apart is through psychological testing. But how accurate are the tests? What makes a human human?
Philip K. Dick will make you question morality, ethics, consciousness and reality, somehow managing to do so, solely (mainly) through the footsteps of the protagonist on his journey to hunting down the Nexus-6 targets. A few segments are a little offbeat, where the author drifts off, but not for long. Overall it’s an oustanding book and one of my favourites, one of those that sticks in the mind after reading it. I had existential questions tumbling through my mind the following day. Some of the sci-fi ideas are inspired showing a fantastic imagination and I’m awestruck at how Philip K. Dick managed to pack so much weight into such a short book yet it doesn’t read heavy.
Also, if you have seen Blade Runner, I recommend reading the book, as the film is only loosely based on the novel. And vice versa, watch the film if you have read the book. I found they compliment each other very well.
Excellent read – 5/5