Androids’ dreams: Blade Runner and others


Phillip K. Dick is seen by many sci-fi fans as the most important person in the genre. The author penned many novels that created rich worlds that many of us have been sucked into while reading his worlds. One of his most famous novels was the basis for a Hollywood movie that was truly groundbreaking.  Blade Runner was actually based on the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by author Philip K. Dick, here are some things you might not know about the relationship between the book and the movie.

The story was already out there

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was not Philip K. Dick’s first foray into the cyberpunk world he created. In fact, he had already fleshed out the futuristic world in another book, titled; The Little Black Box. The book explores some religious avenues that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep also does, although the fictional religion of Mercerism doesn’t make its way into the Blade Runner movie.

Animal behavior

The replicants in the movie all portray certain animalistic traits, for instance, Roy howls like a wolf and Rachel has the implanted memories about spiders. These animal behaviors are a nod to something that is explained in greater detail in Philip K. Dick’s novel, where it has become socially expected for people to look after animals. The Earth was left broken following a nuclear war, humanity looked toward animals as sacred beings, and many people chose to look after them. Those who couldn’t afford to look after a real animal would purchase a replicant alternative.

“Blade Runner” has nothing to do with the novel

The path from sci-fi novel to one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all-time was a rocky one. Initially, director Ridley Scott didn’t want to take the project on for fear of being typecast into only being a sci-fi director, and then there were issues with budgeting and the star, Harrison Ford, was entirely miserable on the set. Scott felt that Ford’s character, Deckard, needed a better job role than simply “detective” so he created the phrase Blade Runner. The phrase was actually taken from a story called The Bladerunner by Alan E. Nourse, which Scott acquired the rights to and made the phrase a key part of the movie.

Philip K. Dick became an android

A man that spent much of his life writing about a fictional world where androids were commonplace was honored by a research team who managed to create their very own android. In 2005 a robotics team at the University of Memphis began working on making an android, that they named “Phil.” The android was built in the likeness of the sci-fi author and was even said to be able to mimic the same speech patterns of Philip K. Dick.

The story spawned sequels

Although Philip K. Dick never wrote a sequel to his novel, there have been several books written that have followed the events of the movie. During the production of Blade Runner, Philip K. Dick was offered a large sum of money to write several more stories but he refused, instead instructing his publishers to reprint the original novel. Despite the creator not willing to write more about the world he created, another author was keen to continue the story following Blade Runner’s release. K.W. Jeter has written three sequels to the movie thus far, although they openly contradict the events of the original novel and the events of the movie.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and Blade Runner are closely linked stories that are beloved by many sci-fi fans across the world. The original novel is set in a broader world, with more fleshed out characters but the film is visually stunning, making us all think that the future wouldn’t be so bleak of it looked that cool.