My name is Spencer (formerly known as Dr. Paleo Ph.D.).
I am many things. I'm a 22-year-old, Bible-believing Christian. I trust my savior Jesus Christ above all else, and strive to follow Him unceasingly. My soul is that of the warrior's, and I seek to fulfill my duties as such. I am science-minded, and am pursuing a career in dinosaur paleontology.
I am for my God, and His Word, the Holy Bible. I am for the literal six-day interpretation of the Creation account as found in the book of Genesis. I am for my country and its military, and I will give my support to those who defend this nation and its people, even if it means that we are forced to wage war. I am for homeschooling, the rights of parents and the unborn, the Biblical family, and courtship. I am for the rights of gun owners, and believe in carrying. I am for martial arts, and advocate the study of those means necessary to protect the family, the faithful, and the defenseless. I am for the dying ways of chivalry; "Women and Children First!" is a creed well worth dying for. I am for conservatism, and did I mention that I'm also a states' rights Confederate flag-waving Rebel?
This is me.
Welcome to my blog.
"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. Captain, that is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and all would be equally brave." --Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." --Robert E. Lee
"Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.” --Martin Luther
"Never give in—-never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." --Winston S. Churchill
"Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Let us determine to die here today and we will conquer! Rally behind the Virginians!" --Gen. Bernard E. Bee
Book Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Del Rey/Random House, Ballantine Books, New York, 1968 (copyright 1975), 244 pages.
Many of you may be confused by this quirky title, but perhaps mentioning that this book was turned into the cult classic film Blade Runner will help. Surprisingly, the film version of the famous sci-fi writer Dick's work is unusually good as movies-based-on-books go. It actually was better in one or two aspects, but was not as good in others.
So now, let's get down to the actual book itself, shall we?
Set in futuristic Los Angeles, bounty hunter Rick Deckard's job is to hunt and kill "andys"--androids, which are, in effect, a form of human clone. The backdrop is a somewhat dystopian world, set after World War Terminus, where earth is a serious health hazard to live on; instead of weather forecasts, fallout forecasts are given. Deckard himself must wear a lead "codpiece" to protect a certain part of his anatomy from radioactive sterilization. This means that most humans now live on off-world colonies, and the government expends energy in attempting to entice citizens to leave earth.
Some are not allowed to leave, however, like the "chickenheads" (i.e., those with even slight mental issues) such as J.R. Isidore. The government, which we could easily call big government run amok, screens people for "chickenheads" and "andys" to keep them in check, or, to "retire" (i.e., kill) them, respectively.
Deckard's daily routine is to find and kill the androids (who masquerade as normal humans) and thus collect the bounty. With normal detective work being the precursor, the final factor in deciding the identity of a subject (as they are physically identical to humans) is the Voigt-Kampff test. Other tests are used, such as the Boneli test, but Deckard and his department use the VK test, which measures empathetic response to emotionally-stimulating questions. If the Voigt-Kampff instruments read no response or even a limited or late response, then the subject is deemed an android and must be retired/killed. "Retired"--a white-washed word, rather realistic, isn't it? All fascinating concepts. Cloning such as this doesn't exactly convince me yet, but still....
Other fascinating concepts are the "electric sheep" (animals are so rare they are almost all mechanical stand-ins now, and everyone has some sort of pet, and they are only real if the owner has shelled out a massive sum to purchase them, then the animal is usually accompanied with emotional attachment of massive proportions.) and the "Penfield" (basically a machine where you dial a certain number and it gives you a neurological impulse that creates something like an emotion for you to feel). Rather interesting ideas, no? I don't think I buy the Penfield idea, but it works for science fiction of this sort at least.
The ongoing plot of this rather short novel (which, although with many good sci-fi concepts to chew on, felt a bit too quick for me in some parts) revolves around a party of murderous androids, their parent company the Rosen Association (the genetic design firm for the androids, if you will), Deckard who hunts them, and Isidore, who befriends them.
I loved the dystopian, almost apocalyptic feel to the book, and Dick must have quite the mind for science fiction (this is my first time trying him out). However, I think I had more issues with the book than I had likes. Why?
[WARNING: SEXUAL CONTENT AHEAD--ADULTS ONLY! SPOILERS AHEAD AS WELL.] Unlike the film, Deckard has no problem wasting androids, and later, apparently has no problem cheating on his wife in order to take a fellow bounty hunter's advice to take an android to bed with him before killing them. While he ends up not killing the one he has sex with, it still was a moral mess. One, the man was married. Two, he wasn't married to the andy (whom he said he'd leave his wife for if he could at one point). Three, almost disturbingly, the android model strikes Deckard as almost child-like in body (while not exactly literal, anything even reminiscent of pedophilia or child sex revolts me). The problem began when Deckard was physically/sexually attracted to one of the androids he had to retire. Big deal, welcome to the male race, pal. But to respond in such a way? And on top of it, to go back home to your wife a few hours later and act like nothing happened? Not a nice move, kemosabe.
Coupled with above material, Dick infused his novel with this strange religion called Mercerism (where the faithful attain oneness with Mercer via an almost virtually-hallucinogenic machine called a fusion box, something the androids cannot do). Dick never definitively states whether or not the religion is real; at one point it appears to be so. Rather confusing and muddled; perhaps that is Dick's way, as it seems to be.
So, my readers know this very well; two things that will always get bad marks from me are sex, and false spirituality. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? thus gets an official thumbs down. You had some strong ideas, Mr. Dick, very strong, but you spoiled them all by yourself.
Stay tuned for my review of the film Blade Runner. In the end, it missed some of the strongest aspects of the book, but also was better in the end, believe it or not. (Did you like Rachael and Deckard in the film? In the book, they both suck!)