“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Reading, Teaching
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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

This afternoon, I met with several of my Focused Inquiry colleagues to discuss Phillip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the holiday reading that will bridge UNIV 111 and 112.  Though students won’t read the novel until December or early January, I will address it–at least briefly–when they study Art Spiegelman‘s In the Shadow of No Towers on September 13 and 15, following the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

I have taught In the Shadow of No Towers in the spring semester for the past two years but  thought it would be worthwhile to consider Spiegelman‘s graphic memoir of the days that followed 9/11 on the days that follow the tenth anniversary.

On page 7, Spiegelman writes: “My ‘leaders’ are reading the book of Revelations.  . . .  I’m reading the paranoid science fiction of Phillip K. Dick.” Why does Spiegelman want us to know what he was reading–and what our leaders were reading–in the days following 9/11? What does he want to tell us? Those are a couple of the questions I may pose in class on September 13 or 15–and perhaps again in January when we study “the paranoid science fiction of Phillip K. Dick.”

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is new to me–I have just begun reading it–so I don’t know yet how I will approach it in class. My tentative plans include  incorporating a study of excerpts from the graphic novel adaptation from Boom Studios and concluding the semester with a study of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott‘s film adaptation–or perhaps, more accurately, his re-imagining–of the novel.

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