Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.



Published on

slides offering context on Philip K. Dick's novel, _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?_

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this


  1. 1. Theories: SF and OBJECTS / MATERIALS Damien Broderick (1995)  Claims SF became popular in 19th - 20th centuries BECAUSE:  Responds to massive changes: cultural, scientific, technological  Changing epistemologies (systems of knowledge, ways of understanding reality)  Proposes that science fiction departs from conventional literature in  Emphasis on technology, materials, and symbolic objects—meaningful on a cultural scale  working with a stock set of symbols/images associated with popular sci fi (i. e. Martians, nuclear holocaust, space travel, etc)  Less attention to individual character development. More interested in objects than subjects
  2. 2. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?  First published, 1968 (same year as Kubrick’s film of 2001: A Space Odyssey)  Similar interest in Artificial Intelligence (AI)  Hal / Sal (Will I dream?) … and Androids (empathy?)  Being and becoming…?  Contrast in vision of human evolution as ordered/organized by alien technology  Monoliths as “van Neumann machines” (2010, pp. 256- 257)  Machines that propagate like cells dividing or viruses replicating (bacteriophages)—exponentially Vs.  ENTROPY  disorder of Earth in Dick’s futuristic vision (kipple / dust)
  3. 3. Entropy: from Laws of Thermodynamics  1st law: All processes in the world involve transfers of energy. Total energy in a closed system remains constant (Speculation: Universe as whole could be seen as closed system. If so, total amount of energy in it is constant)  2nd law: Entropy= maximum of disorganized energy… energy given off as heat, dissipated during a process (Speculation : evolution as process tends toward entropy— maximum disorder) IDEA applied very broadly: physics, biology, psychology…  See John Isidore, p. 20
  4. 4. Dick’s Dark, Entropic Vision  Looking backward: Noir and Hardboiled detective fiction  Noir = dark… used broadly in film of 1930s and 40s: black and white film using heavy shadows…UNCERTAINTIES  “noir” in fiction: Crime fiction of 1930s – 1940s—often written from vantage point of criminals / gangsters… evading the law  Hardboiled: “gritty” realism, tough unsentimental (but sometimes bewildered/lost) detective  Hard to tell reality from illusion / artifice  Looking ahead:  Future noir—SF integrating noir elements  Postmodernism: Celebration of artificial…no originals left… SIMULACRA…
  5. 5. Simulacrum (plural: simulacra)  Material image made to represent a deity, person, or thing (electric sheep)  Religious context: an effigy, material representation of something divine/spiritual  An illusion or a fake: has the appearance of the original without the substance
  6. 6. Above: a radiated turtle native to Madagascar, like Tu’Imalila (see epigraph, p. 2)
  7. 7. Cook’s honored gift— illegal today!  Today international trade of many freshwater turtles is illegal.  Radiated turtle is listed as protected in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)  As of 2008, Bangkok, Thailand identified as a major hub for smuggling operations of these turtles
  8. 8.  “Fake Fish Tank Aquarium” ($59.99)  Facebook Apps: H2Opia, Garden patch  “Pucci Pups Shih-Tzu in Carrier” ($19.99) • A fashionably fetching pup just for young dog lovers, this special pooch will magically grab for her magnetic treat when placed near her mouth • Includes adorable doggie outfit, carrier bag, hat, dog booties and food bowl • Also includes hair accessories, magnetic bone and leash with collar • Carrying bag: 9Hx6Wx10D" • For ages 3 yrs. and up • 9" Tall
  9. 9. Rand Corporation (see p. 15)  Name: Research and Development  Founded in 1948, Santa Monica, CA  Private “think tank” of scientists whose research informs U.S. government and military policy  From Rand mission statement: “For 60 years, decision makers in the public and private sectors have turned to the RAND Corporation for objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the nation and the world. These challenges include such critical social and economic issues as education, poverty, crime, and the environment, as well as a range of national security issues.”  CORPORATION: role in book: Rand  Rosen Corp
  10. 10. Science Fiction and the Quasi- human  Alien  Archetype  Cyborg  Robot / Automaton / Android
  11. 11. Science Fiction and the Quasi- human Alien: a foreigner, someone from another place, or a being from another planet. Alienation from what we assume to be “human” :  The Deckards, husband and wife, at home (introduction of humanity on Earth after World War Terminus)  See passages on Wilbur Mercer, pp. 22, 24, 70
  12. 12. Science Fiction and the Quasi- humanArchetype: an original pattern or model, of which all things of the same type are representations or copies  like a cookie-cutter  Archetypes: perpetually self-repeating, regenerating in literature, art, dreams  Archetypal characters:  Child  Maiden / Damsel in Distress  Evil stepmother  Hero  Savior  Hunter  Trickster  Great Mother  Wise Old Man  Superman (Ubermensch), Cosmic Man Wilbur Mercer as an Archetype: Passage on pp. 69-70: “Mercer…isn’t a human being; he evidently is an archetypal entity from the stars, superimposed on our culture by a cosmic template”
  13. 13. Science Fiction and the Quasi-human Cyborg: integration of human and machine human being dependent for existence on machines - pace-maker - the Borg in Star Trek Next Gen) - life with the Penfield Mood Box Above: “Hugh” of Borg, Star Trek the Next Generation
  14. 14. Science Fiction and the Quasi- human Robot / Automaton / Android: all are artificially constructed animated beings Automaton: mechanical device that can move independently Robot: usually mechanical rather than organic humans, animals beings.  Term popularized by Karl Čapeks’ play, R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), 1921  here robots are organic, artificial humans, designed to take place of people forced labor, social critique (what industry can make of us)
  15. 15. Jaquet-Droz Automata (built between 1768 and 1774). The Sketcher (or Drawer), the Musician, and The Writer See them work on Youtube:
  16. 16. Science Fiction and the Quasi- human Android: automaton made from biological materials, or made to resemble and interact with humans as if it were human (humanoid)  mechanics, silicon chips, circuitry?  Or biological, genetic simulation? Examples:  Star Trek Next Gen: Data,  Spielberg’s A.I. “mechas”  Battlestar Galactica’s Cylons—biological, human reproduction, emotional, enhanced telepathy  Ridley Scott’s “replicants” vs. Dick’s “androids”
  17. 17. Philip K. Dick (1928-1982)  Sci fi stories and novels from 1950s – 1970s  Science fiction with existential uncertainty: What is real? How do we know?  Post WW II Sci Fi: Colonization of other planets, post-nuclear holocaust fears: what could happen to Earth  Dick: Pervading themes: Mystical experience—accessible through artificial means. Awareness of alternative realities  Hugo Award, 1963: Man in the High Castle (Germany and Japan win WWII and divide up US between them)  Madness? Or Genius? Dick’s own visionary/auditory experiences (mid 1970s)  Death 1982: strokes/heartfailure, age 53
  18. 18. Dick’s Perspective on Science Fiction: "I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards. Okay, so I should revise my standards; I'm out of step. I should yield to reality. I have never yielded to reality. That's what SF is all about. If you wish to yield to reality, go read Philip Roth; read the New York literary establishment mainstream bestselling writers….This is why I love SF. I love to read it; I love to write it. The SF writer sees not just possibilities but wild possibilities. It's not just 'What if' - it's 'My God; what if' - in frenzy and hysteria. The Martians are always coming."
  19. 19. Text  Film Eight feature films produced so far from Philip K. Dick’s fiction:  Blade Runner  Total Recall  The Minority Report  Screamers  Impostor  Confessions d’un Bario (novel: Confessions of a Crap Artist)  Paycheck  A Scanner Darkly