First published in 1968, the novel was belatedly recognized as a masterpiece when it served as the (rather loose) basis for a more popular if not greater masterpiece: the dazzling 1982 film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Sean Young and (the unforgettable) Rutger Hauer. The film’s success, which was also belated, became such that some editions of Dick’s novel bear the title Blade Runner; in spite of the fact that the novel is, in many respects, very different from the film.
The story depicts a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world struggling for survival; its more privileged classes either having resettled or awaiting resettlement in one of Earth’s off-world colonies. “Replicants,” genetically engineered, human-like robots, are utilized for the arduous and dangerous work of developing and maintaining these colonies. However, after growing increasingly defiant and threatening, they’re banned from Earth; replicants defying the ban are hunted down and killed (or “retired”) by a squad of specialized police detectives: “blade runners.” After a serious revolt in an off-world colony, a gang of particularly cunning replicants flee to Los Angeles. A burnt-out blade runner named Rick Deckard is given a final assignment: retire this gang of renegade “skin jobs.”
This upcoming UTC #61 adaption of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? promises to be more faithful to the author’s underlying meaning: a “post-apocalyptic world seeking resurrection through the rediscovery of empathy.” The production will employ “innovative video techniques to blur the lines between humanity and technology, finding the soul within the machine.”
Indeed, if androids do dream of electric sheep, aren’t they rather human if they can dream at all?
- 7 Past and Future Philip K. Dick Adaptations (wired.com)
- Movie Review: Blade Runner: The Final Cut (2007) (teabreak.pk)
- BLADE RUNNER’s Ridley Scott To Tackle Another Phillip K. Dick Novel?? (aintitcool.com)
- Fan-made Blade Runner chess-set (boingboing.net)