Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

After putting off reading much of Philip K. Dick’s works due to their price on Amazon, I discovered that my local library has much of them in print. So this past weekend I read the story that Blade Runner was based on. There was a fascinating use of machinery to alter human mood and to stimulate religious-esque experiences. I was caught off guard by these fictional devices and haven’t encountered a similar mechanic in sci-fi writings before, and the closest analogue I can think of is “soma” from Brave New World, or other substances which are abused.

That said, I found myself constantly comparing the text to both Hollywood productions. I believe that each film stands as fine art in their own right, equal to, or even exceeding the written source material. I have to give credit to Dick for creating such an interesting scenario and world to tell his story within. I also have to hand it to the Blade Runner crews for creating such compelling movies that realize his world so well.

To contrast them all, I feel like Do Androids Dream was a bit darker in it’s portrayal of the protagonist and his personal struggles in life and marriage. He felt really human and flawed. The story felt like Dick was trying to give a glimpse into a possible future, and attempting to predict what human engineered beings might be like and how we might interact with them. Both films seemed to take a different approach however.

I feel like the films tackled the philosophical question of “what does it mean to be human?” much more directly and explicitly. I have to say that I enjoyed the mental struggles of the films a bit more, perhaps because of the strong use of visual imagery which I found very compelling. Also, Harrison Ford plays such a strong role that he really carries the films to another level.

I’ll be reading more Philip K. Dick and will offer more thoughts as I complete them. So far I’ve enjoyed the short stories and this novel pretty well, but not as much as I thought I would. The ideas are compelling, just not favorites at this point.

The New Testament and Bird Box

One of my goals for 2018 had been to read through the entire Bible, a goal I did not complete. However, this morning I finished my NT read through with the book of Revelation.

It was interesting timing because yesterday I watched Bird Box, a recent Netflix movie set in an apocalypse. The main idea is that there is some sort of evil demon monster that causes people to commit suicide if they see it. Quite graphic, disturbing, and the characters spend much of the movie blindfolded.

So as I was reading about the end of time in the Bible I was making these connections between plagues, Satan run amok, angelic hosts and the woe to those humans unfortunate enough to live through the terrible end of Earth as we know it. Mildly amusing and entirely unexpected.

This reminds me that our current experiences in life, with art, and other factors can influence the lens with which we approach other arts, in this case my Bible reading. I’ll revisit this goal again in 2019 and should meet it this time.