This last year, I finally convinced The Chancellor to watch Blade Runner with me. He absolutely hated the whole experience. He’s definitely more into Modernism than I am. I am entertained and fascinated by postmodernism, so I found lots of food for contemplation in the movie. This led to a discussion about the source material. I’d never read anything by Philip K. Dick, and I finally decided this summer was the time to start catching up.
The novel (as with the film) focuses on Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter of andys, or androids. A world war has devastated the Earth and rendered most animal species extinct. There’s a special kind of android, called the Nexus-6, which is highly specialized and much more human-looking and sounding than its less pricey predecessors. Deckard has developed a test to identify this kind of android, but his path becomes increasingly dangerous when he understands to what lengths androids will go to blend in with other people.
This is an intriguing novel, to say the least. While the most famous parts of the movie (the “Tears in the rain” monologue) aren’t drawn from the novel, there is an interesting interplay between a source text and its more popular adaptation that’s worth exploring. I would definitely consider adding this to a course rotation and then invoking a discussion about what the film does and doesn’t do. I think the character of Rachael in the book is a bit more finely-drawn than the film, which makes an interesting contrast.