Dicks' Androids and Scotts' Replicants

Michael Tschappat
Patricia Stull
English 102

Philip K. Dick has written over fifty novels, and is considered among some
of the greatest experimental writers of the 1950s and '60s, such as; William
Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Thomas Pynchon.(Star 34) He has written science-
fiction and regular fiction. His fiction usually spoke of people trying to
figure out who they are, or what they are supposed to be. He is best known,
however, for his work in science-fiction, and this represents the majority of
his work. He has, also, won awards for two of his science-fiction novels. He
won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the
John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My
Tears, The Policeman Said (Brians 1). An opera has been based on one of P.K.D.
later novels, Valis (Brians 1). One of his short stories, We Can Build It For
You, was made into a movie recently. The movie was Screamers, starring Peter
Weller. He has also had two of his novels, We Can Remember It for You
Wholesale (Total Recall), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner),
made into movies. Of the two, Blade Runner (B.R.) has had the greatest impact.
B.R., however, differs greatly from Dicks' original novel, Do Androids Dream of
Electric Sheep? (D.A.D.O.E.S.)
Blade Runner was released in 1982 under the direction of Ridley Scott,
who also made another sci-fi classic, Alien.
The film begins in the city of Los Angeles. The year is 2019. The city of
Los Angeles is overpopulated, teeming with all sorts of humans. Japanese ADs
are all over the place. The Japanese input was strictly the director, Ridley
Scot's. Scott saw the future world being controlled by the Japanese. Philip K.
Dick did not mention this. The planet is recovering from World War III,
although I'm not sure they actually say this. In the book, the war is clearly
stated and was called World War Terminus. The effects of the radiation has
mutated some people. Only the ones who had not been disfigured or altered
genetically by radiation from the nuclear bombs could emigrate, (leave the
planet earth). Some, who were perfectly healthy chose to stay, however. They
stayed because they were stubborn and wanted to die on the planet they were born
on. The chickenheads had to stay, it was law. Chickenheads is Dicks term for
the disfigured or the genetically altered. They are also referred to as
specials. There are no chickenheads in the movie. None of this is made clear
in the movie, but this is what is explained in the novel.
The ones who do emigrate to other planets receive one free worker to help
them with their settling of a new home. The worker is not human. It is an
android. In the movie they are called replicants or skin-jobs. These are the
newest versions of androids, which were created by the Rosen Association. They
are Nexus-6. Nexus-6 mimic humans in every way, except in one thing, they have
no empathy.
Empathy is the ability to feel for another. For example, if you cared for
a puppy that was beaten, skinned, and then left to die, that care would be
empathy. Androids don't have this trait. They would watch the puppies' skin be
removed without a blink in their eyes. They can pretend to feel, but they'd
have to know first there was something disturbing about the skinning of a puppy.
The nonexistent empathy of replicants is never discussed in the movie, but it
is pretty obvious in the way they kill or try to kill. This lack of empathy
scared many humans on earth, so a law was passed that didn't allow androids on
the planet.
In the novel, this is where the bounty hunters come in. Their job is to
retire (kill) the androids, who have somehow escaped to earth or just were never
weeded out from the other humans.
You might be wondering why I said bounty hunter instead of blade runner?
Well, the term blade runner is never used in the novel. Apparently, Ridley
Scott wanted a specific name for the people who hunted down the androids. He
didn't want to just call them bounty hunters. Scott was told of a William
Burroughs book named Blade Runner: The Movie. The book was never a movie.
Burroughs just had that in the title. Scott liked the way blade runner sounded,
so he bought the rights of the Burroughs novel