Off-world: The Blade Runner Wiki
This article is part of a series of essays originally published on the now-defunct Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Wiki. It has been imported here primarily for archival purposes, although it is still open for editing.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick was published in 1968. After the World War Terminus, millions of humans have emigrated to Mars leaving a depleted human population scattered on Earth. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter who is ordered to retire six Nexus-6 androids who have escaped from Mars and come to Earth. The Nexus-6 model is the most human-like model so far, making it difficult to identify and kill them. As Rick continues on his mission, he begins to struggle with the empathy he feels towards these advanced androids. Rick must decide whether he will compromise his humanity in order to complete his mission.

The futuristic world described by Dick is heavily integrated with technology. The technologies employed by humans throughout the novel replace normal personal interactions and distort clear distinctions between the real and the artificial. By portraying humans as completely reliant on technology for emotional fulfillment, Dick exposes the negative consequences of extensive technology use.

The influences of technological advancements in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? will be examined throughout this Wiki. Finally, this theme will be analyzed in the novel's cinematic adaptation, Blade Runner.

Table of Contents
  1. Technology and Companionship
  2. Space
  3. Binary Opposites
  4. Struggle between Buster Friendly and Wilbur Mercer
  5. Remediation into Blade Runner

Plot Summary[]

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter for the San Francisco Police Department who is ordered to retire six Nexus-6 androids who have escaped from Mars, killing humans in the process. Before Rick can proceed with his mission, he must test the accuracy of the Voigt-Kampff test, a test that identifies androids by measuring their empathic response. He travels to the Rosen Association, the company that manufactures the androids, to determine the effectiveness of his test. There, he meets Rachael Rosen, whom he soon identifies as an android after the company tries to trick him into believing she is a human who was raised on a spaceship. After Rick determines the test provides an accurate distinction between humans and androids, Rick retires Polokov, one of the escaped Nexus-6 androids who was posing as a Soviet police officer. Next, Rick is assigned to retire Luba Luft, an android posing as an opera singer. When Rick first hears Luba, he is astonished by her beautiful voice, and feels saddened that he must destroy this talented singer. When Rick delivers the test to Luba, she calls the police and Rick is arrested by a police officer. Rick is taken to a police station and he meets Inspector Garland, one of the escaped Nexus-6 androids. Rick soon learns that the police station infested with androids and runs separately from Rick's own police department. Rick meets Phil Resch, a bounty hunter for this parallel police department, who kills Garland and helps Rick escape. Rick and Phil then find Luba Luft, and Phil shoots her with his laser tube without any remorse. Rick, troubled by Phil's relentless actions, believes Phil is an android, but after delivering the Voigt-Kampff test, realizes Phil is in fact a human who simply possesses no empathy towards androids.

Troubled and emotionally drained from the occurrences of his day, Rick calls Rachael and asks her to meet him in a hotel because he needs her help. They sleep together, and despite Rick's struggle with his empathy towards androids, he continues on his mission to find the three remaining Nexus-6 androids.

In parallel to Rick's story is the life of John Isidore, a special who lives alone in an empty apartment building and who works for an electric animal repair shop. John meets Pris Stratton, one of the escaped Nexus-6 androids who moves into his building. Pris is the same model as Rachael, and looks exactly like her. John, excited to have company, wants to protect her after she tells him a bounty hunter is after her and her friends. She is soon joined by Irmgard and Roy Baty, the final two Nexus-6 androids. During Buster Friendly's exposé, Pris callously tortures a spider by cutting off its legs, to the horror of John. John, upset by Buster's expose and Pris' tortuous act, merges with Mercer and is given a new spider. As John is releasing the spider on the roof, Rick sees him and asks him where the androids are. John refuses to tell him their location, but Rick soon finds and kills Pris, Irmgard, and Roy.

Rick becomes permanently merged with Wilbur Mercer, and travels to the desert where he climbs a descent while he is struck by rocks. He then finds a toad, the animal "most precious to Wilbur Mercer" (Dick, 236). However, when he returns home, his wife discovers the toad is actually electric. Rick, exhausted by the events of his day, immediately falls asleep.

Characters (alphabetically)[]

Roy Baty - escaped Nexus-6 who masterminded the escape from Mars

Irmgard Baty - escaped Nexus-6 and Roy's wife

Harry Bryant - Rick's Inspector at the San Francisco Police Department

Rick Deckard - bounty hunter with the San Francisco police

Iran Deckard - Rick's wife

Buster Friendly - radio and TV personality

Garland - escaped Nexus-6 posing as a police officer; he is killed by Phil Resch

Dave Holden - senior bounty hunter who is hurt by Polokov

John Isidore - special who works for an electric animal repair shop

Luba Luft - escaped Nexus-6 who performs as an opera singer; she is killed by Phil Resch

Wilbur Mercer - archetypal entity with whom humans merge using empathy boxes

Polokov - escaped Nexus-6 posing as a Soviet police officer; he is the first Nexus-6 Rick kills

Phil Resch - bounty hunter from Northern California who relentlessly kills androids; Rick first suspects he is android

Rachael Rosen - Nexus-6 who is not aware she is an android until Rick identifies her as one

Pris Stratton - escaped Nexus-6 who moves into John's building