A Great Read
It took me a while to warm to this book. At first I found is quite distant and Deckard was difficult to relate to. However, as the chapters went on, I became completely enthralled in it. The world which Phillip K. Dick (P.K.D) has greated is so bizarre and so twisted that you begin to develop a rather peculiar fascination for it.
The characters can seem quite harsh and difficult to empathise with, but I was gradually sucked into the world of radiation and illegal androids and electric animals.
The earth has become barren, with radioactive fallout always hanging in the air. Many animals have died and those who are alive are valuable commodities. Humans must protect and care for an animal of their own..thus displaying empathy. Animals have become status symbols.
Most people have re settled on Mars, where there are androids to help the people with menial tasks. On Earth, there are only the chickenheads - people who have been damaged by the radiation and are not allowed to leave; and those who are too stubborn to leave. Deckard is stubborn. He is a bounty hunter who captures and "retires" androids on earth, as they are not allowed to live and work masquerading as human.
The main difference between android and Human is empathy. Deckard issues a VoigtKampf test to those who he suspects to be androids. This measures emotional responses to moral and ethical questions.
Because of their lack of empathy, Deckard detests androids... however, he is also the owner of an electric sheep. This moral dilemma is behind many of Deckards actions and problems in the novel. He knows that he is a fraud, and he covets a real animal above all else.
I don't want to go into further detail for fear of giving too much away. The book is a fantastic read and draws you into a terrifying carriacature of life on earth. It has much more happening in it than the film and will certainly give you something to think about.