Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Well, I was expecting the film Blade Runner in a longer form, but I was quite mistaken. Blade Runner took Deckard’s name and the essence of the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'s overall vibe, but that's where the similarities end. Dick's novel revolves around not only what it means to be human, but what role religion and government have in our lives, as well as how strong a hold material possessions have on humans.
All of the characters in this book (who are the only humans remaining on Earth, as everyone else has moved to other planets), including Deckard and his wife (yes, Deckard is married in the book), are obsessed with owning a real animal, as opposed to an electric one. This is the ultimate status symbol in the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? In fact, the whole reason Deckard takes up the mantle of bounty hunter is because he wants to buy a real animal for him and his wife. If you can’t afford a real animal, which are a rarity in this war-torn future America, an electric one serves to hide that fact from your neighbors.
Deckard deals with a lot more guilt in the book about his task, which I think would have been a great thing to leave in the film. It also turns out (minor spoiler alert here) that Pris is actually the same model android as Rachael, which is pretty heartbreaking for both Rachael and Deckard to come to terms with (even Pris, at that).
I won’t lie, some of the Mercerism stuff went over my head, but I plan on investigating what the interwebz has to say about it all. It definitely served to control those humans left on Earth, but these scenes confuse the possible and impossible, which is where I got slightly lost.
In short, I enjoyed the read, and I will always be a fan of Blade Runner, despite the differences between the two stories.
NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette by Nathan W. Pyle
This book is an absolute hoot if you’re a New Yorker (and should be required for anyone coming to visit the city). Pyle and I both moved to NYC five years ago, so I feel a strong understanding of the intention of this book: it’s not meant to poke fun at anyone, but to help teach people the Ways of New Yorkers. There are some things you do indeed learn over time here. NYC has its own customs and rituals (sometimes, reading this book feels like a foray into anthropology), and while this is funny, it’s also astute.
I read NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette while traveling home on the subway, and I had myself a pretty good laugh, especially because I saw a lot of behaviors Pyle cautions against happening on that one commute alone. I’ll be revisiting some of these pages whenever I have a New York moment that causes me some frustration, because I know Pyle has already commented on how one just shouldn’t do some things, and I’ll be able to laugh and let it go.
Check out more of Nathan W. Pyle’s tips here.
You Couldn’t Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation by Susannah Gora
I am a big John Hughes fan. The Breakfast Club is one of my all-time favorite movies. I watch Sixteen Candles every year near my birthday. I would watch Pretty in Pink multiple times during my junior year of high school, when my boyfriend and I broke up a few weeks before my junior prom. John Hughes GOT me. He “got” teenagers, and this book delves into just how deeply Hughes understood and empathized with his target demographic, and how his films revolutionized the film industry to make teenagers a marketable demographic at all.
This book isn’t for everyone, obviously. If you are a die-hard Hughes/Brat Pack fan (or fan of teen films in general, as Say Anything and Heathers get a bit of an examination) and want to learn more about the man and the way the eighties classics came to be, then this is a good resource. There were a lot of behind-the-scenes goings-on that I knew nothing about, so that was fun and illuminating to learn about. Gora did a lot of research, which shows, but at times it felt like I was reading a college research paper. But that was easy to overlook; I wasn’t reading this book so much for style or prose, but for content, and Gora delivers in that respect.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go revisit some classic films.
Delayed Replays by Liz Prince
Liz Prince is an author/artist/tomboy extraordinaire to watch. I found her through her (at one time) online comic, Alone Forever, which I greatly loved. This collection of everyday interactions is no less fun. I plan on reading all Prince has to offer, including her forthcoming Tomboy.