Thursday, March 17, 2011

Updates and Reading Lists.

Books on a bookshelf.Image via WikipediaAs you can gather from my last post and some of my tweets, I will be leaving my post (haha, pun intended) at the small college library that gave me my start in the world of librarianship, to take a tenure-track job at the university where I earned my library degree. With no doubt I am excited about the new position and a little nervous, wanting to do well and prove that I belong and all that stuff.

I am also very appreciative to the college library that gave me that start and was so very helpful and nurturing in giving me the opportunity to develop my skills and allowing me the freedom to experiment and try new and exciting things. So off I go but not for another month or so, and going from one place to another will not mean that the blog will end (in case anyone was wondering).

I've also been keeping busy with the reading but I am behind on the reviews. I have started reviews on the second Sandman Slim book and the fourth Felix Castor book. In the hopper for me to finish reading:

Nightlife by Rob Thurman
Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey
The Information by James Gleick
The King of Plagues by Jonathan Maberry
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Ed's Mini Book Review - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by P.K. Dick

Character Rick Deckard has a hard time resisti...Image via WikipediaI remember seeing Blade Runner as a kid and being totally blown away by the visuals. The draw was quite simple, and I think it was the draw the studio was going after as well, Harrison Ford in a sci-fi movie, obviously shades of Star Wars. As a kid, I don't think I 'got' the movie. I liked the way it looked but felt it was a little dull. I wanted to see Han Solo kicking some tail and shooting up replicants but I didn't get the subtlety and subtext of the film though it did resonate with me on a level I wasn't sure what that level was. Deckerd was cool and little did I know that this was my first real look into that noirish hero archetype that I really dig now that I am all grown up (on some level).

After seeing it again years later, I started to get some of the things that were going on and missed as a kid and I started getting into the writings of P.K. Dick, first with the short stories and eventually making my way to Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep as the novel is called.

A funny thing happened when I started reading the novel, I didn't like it. I stopped a few chapters in and there it sat in the back of my bookshelf for almost ten years. I guess I was looking for it to be more like the film and as I should have guessed seeing some of the adaptations of his short stories turned to movies, Hollywood changes a lot around (I am looking at you Minority Report). In this case though I thought the changes were for the better in the film. It was tight, had focus and Deckerd had that noir vibe that he didn't have in the book.

So, spent on zombie books, I looked around there was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep staring back at me so I gave it another shot. Deckerd still had that everyman thing going on and not the cool cat thing Harrison Ford had but there was something in that everyman-ish quality that I was finding intriguing that I hadn't felt with him before. He wasn't the seasoned, polished Blade Runner that Ford had going in the movie, he was just a guy finding his way, waiting for the big break in his career that this situation, hunting down the replicants in place of the injured senior Blade Runner, could provide him. This Deckerd is concerned with mundane things like getting a new pet, hopefully a real one and not a android pet, that makes him relateable on that on that everyman-ish level.

Now, as I said before, the book is different from the film though the main premise is the same, Deckerd the bounty hunter, tracking down escaped replicants. How it goes down is very different but many of the themes stay intact though I will admit that I was a little bit disappointed that the famous Roy Baty speech that Rutger Hauer gives in the film wasn't in the book. To me, that speech made the film because it showed the human-ness of the replicants that is missing from the book.

Conflicted as I am and not doing a very good job of separating the film from the book, I do recommend the book but if you've seen the film, I am not sure there is anything you'd get from the book that you wouldn't get from the film.

My Grade: B+

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