Reading: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Picked this up at the bookstore yesterday.

It frightens me deeply, although why I could not say.

Heaps of films like to project compassion on robots, making you question what makes them so different from us. Humanity is the villian, androids the underdog, hunted by an irrational, narrow minded fear.

Then I read this book.

It terrified me. I have never experienced such a devastating scene such as when Dick highlights exactly why robots are different. It's done in such an underhanded, almost trivial way, you could almost think he was just describing the weather. And it's not that the actual scene in the book is all that horrible; I mean, there's no blood, no flaying, no gore.

It's just such an alien, inhuman, indescribable feeling.

And that's probably why I am so amazed by it. There are many books that describe a character's horror at a particular situation, and you sort of imagine yourself in that role, as that character; so you, the reader, become horrified on behalf of the character. The emotion is transmitted onto you by way of proxy.

Here, it was like raw emotion from me; not on behalf of any character. It was me that was genuinely disgusted and shocked and frightened.

For a novel that put so much weight on human empathy, I just can't help but think this is the pinnacle of the whole story.

Forget trying to explain to a reader why robots are different. Let them experience it. What you feel now, that fear, that sadness, that /sympathy/, that is what makes you human.