Blade Runner (Unabridged) by Philip K. Dick on #Audible for #Android.
Despite the confusing title, this is an unabridged reading of the Philip K. Dick novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
, on which the famous Ridley Scott film Blade Runner
is loosely based. I last read the novel over 40 years ago so I really wasn't prepared for writing of a quality to rival Orwell and Huxley. There are similarities with the film, but the setting is post-apocalyptic, in a San Francisco depopulated by radioactive fallout and by the flight of most of humanity from Earth to the new colonies on Mars. Few remain by choice. Those who are too old, or whose genes or brains have been compromised by the radioactive dust, must remain, along with a few, like police department bounty hunter Rick Deckard, whose jobs still tie them to Earth.
But this Deckard isn't the hard boiled Dashiel Hammett character of Harrison Ford's portrayal. Dick's character is married and has an uneasy home life plagued by familiar themes of social pretence. Caught in the obsessions of the day, particularly a belated reverence for the planet's near-extinct wildlife and domestic animals, Deckard's flimsy social mask highlights his deep loneliness and inadequacy in a society held together by a religion that is ostensibly highly communitarian and universal. But in this novel, nothing is what it seems.
Dick is a clear philosophical thinker, and uses the literary form to dramatise questions of identity, intellect and empathy, and the nature of humanity in a world of intelligent machines.
Over the past few years I've taken to audio books in preference to reading, because I've always loved the experience of being read to. Typically I'll listen to a novel repeatedly over a period of weeks, drifting in and out of sleep so I'm never completely exposed to an uninterrupted reading. By far my favourite reader is Peter Kenny, a superlative voice actor and book reader whose readings of Iain Banks novels (both with and without the M.) I cannot recommend highly enough.