The novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep burnt itself into the heart of millions of science fiction fans. It’s one of the key cyberpunk novels and is often cited as one of the top science fiction novels of all time.
The work is filled with some of the greatest lines in science fiction, words and phrases that helped build a world that cast a long science fiction. Here are some of our favourite quotes.
“A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard.”
A great opening line. It immediately lets the reader know that nothing in this novel will be normal. From the ‘merry surge of electricity’ to the ‘mood organ’ it’s clear Dick wants the reader to be both off balance and intrigued.
“There’s the First Law of Kipple…’Kipple drives out nonkipple’.”
The law of Kipple: Dick’s dark but funny take on the futility of fighting entropy.
“The painting showed a hairless, oppressed creature with a head like an inverted pear, its hands clapped in horror to its ears, its mouth open in a vast, soundless scream. Twisted ripples of the creature’s torment, echoes of its cry, flooded out into the air surrounding it; the man or woman, whichever it was, had become contained by its own howl. It had covered its ears against its own sound. The creature stood on a bridge and no one else was present; the creature screamed in isolation. Cut off by – or despite – its outcry.”
This description of by Munch gives such an insight into Deckard’s mindset. He’s describing the primal terror he recognises both in the picture and in himself.
“But when you get that depressed you don’t care. Apathy, because you’ve lost a sense of worth. It doesn’t matter whether you feel better because you have no worth.”
Perhaps part of this despair is rooted in the fact that the humans left on earth feel marooned on a dying earth?
“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.”
This image of a broken and reformed body mirrors the emotionally deformed version of humanity that populates Dick’s dystopian future.
“The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are.”
A key theme of the novel, the life of ‘fake’ being is still life.
“Mankind needs more empathy.”
Perhaps the saddest aspect of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is that it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that human empathy is a joke.
“Empathy, he once had decided, must be limited to herbivores or anyhow omnivores who could depart from a meat diet. Because, ultimately, the empathic gift blurred the boundaries between hunter and victim, between the successful and the defeated.”
The idea in this quote
“It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity.”
A stark philosophy, but one that pervades the novel.We are all capable of violating that which is sacred to us