This book, THIS BOOK! Its a great read so far, and it took me by the collar and forced me to read it, that’s how into the book I am, however, I felt, like many have said before me, this book was ahead of its time but also stayed in the past, almost like a “history repeats itself” scenario.
So the book takes place in a post apocalyptic, nuclear war torn future, in witch civilization is on the brink of collapse within the remnants of the populous on earth, and on the other end of this civilized society are the “smarter” half that migrated off world to live in colonies on other planets such as mars. Now when i mention that civilized society is on the brink of collapse i mean that on earth, everything’s messed up, there’s people divided based on basic human tendencies, for example intelligence, empathetic prowess and of course social stature, which brings me to my first point, my favorite messed up character, John Isidore. The introduction to this character perfectly blends imagery, setting and character, in that Philip K. Dick, (the author, but you knew that already :)) makes this character, like his surroundings, a dark, depressed shell of a person, who is, and here is where the “history repeats itself” comes into play, viewed as a lesser human being in the eyes of those around him. meaning that due to the radioactive fallout from what was called the Terminus World War, the “dust” as they so call it, is deteriorating the land, slowly and surely killing all of human life on Earth, but those who are greater affected are now called “special” which really is a derogatory term aimed at those who are dying faster than everyone else, or another commonly use term “chickenhead”, or the calling out of ones diminished intellectual ability due to the rapid decay of their cells via “dust”. The point that I’m trying to get across to you is that while I read John Isidores exploits, a sense of racism loomed in the air, or in my head, and as I stated “history repeats itself” the feeling of superiority over a specific people regardless of the circumstances, is always and always has been a constant factor in human physiology, the concept that being better than someone or being different than someone, whether it be through physical health, or the color of ones skin. A feeling of entitlement oozes from those that talk down to poor old John Isidore, which I thought was messed up, because in a society in which all life on earth is inevitably OVER, you would think that an advanced society in the year 2020 would look past such superficial aspects of another and instead learn to help and love one another, but that’s just my opinion.
Now to get into the part about the society in it of itself, its all messed up. due to the impact of the war, and the advancement of technology in this story, the government ordered the migration of all those who; were up to physical standards, could afford it, was deemed intellectually fit, and were willing, to other colonies off world on other planets. Now when I say “willing” I mean Bribed. Due to the advanced tech they had been developing, the government was able to offer all of those who left Earth to live in the colonies a personalized android FOR FREE, and no one says no to free stuff, no matter what. The android was customized and tailored to those it would belong to, it would obey and perform any and all acts that its master wished, and who wouldn’t want that? right? Well everyone wanted that, and everyone got what they wanted. Which brings me to my initial title sentence. Okay so because the advancement in tech, obviously there’s gonna be advanced versions,newer versions, of the androids that were given out for FREE to all the colonists. these androids became so advanced that they sort of have achieved sentience, by which i mean they can think, act and (sorta) feel, for themselves, so much so that a hand full of them actually kill their masters in the colonies and try there very hardest to get to earth, where they are illegal and prohibited from entering because of reasons. now to my title sentence, I’m not gonna lie to you there’s a lot that happens with these androids, like a lot, but what if that’s not the point? What if these androids mean something else? They have the advancements that allow them to think freely and do as they please, for example kill someone, but what if that means something more than what were labeling as machine rising up against us? What if the machine itself, strives to be human? What if it wants to learn empathy (a huge element in the story that serves allegorically and physically in the plot) and all the stuff that makes us human? In chapter 5 this thought came to me, “Does she know? Sometimes they didn’t; false memories had been tried various times, generally in the mistaken idea that through them, reactions to testing would be altered. No. We programmed her completely. But i think toward the end she suspected.” (p. 59) I don’t know about you, but when I read on after that I was like (bloosh) mind blown, because when you think about it, these androids aren’t killing willy nilly, there doing so to get away from something, or to experience something new. They have a synthesized version of the human mind, and the human mind craves new experiences, maybe that’s what these androids are in fact trying to achieve, but since society deems them as property, or machine they cant, and just as i stated before, the scent of racism and segregation lingered. Since man created machine, man owns it, and if man creates machine with the mind of man, it makes no difference. that’s just wrong. its just a great big tease, why give them such advanced neural circuitry in the first place? But that’s just my opinion.
Anyway, cant wait to talk about in class 😀