Blade Runner the film, the superb sci-fi Frankensteinian futurescape has given this book a new lease of life, as well as a new cover. The 1968 book inspired the film, however the book is far less competent. The plot revolves around a bounty hunter, who terminates androids. The healthy folks have fled planet Earth in the aftermath of a nuclear war, Mars being the romantic destination. The androids, virtual physical replicas of humans, are the new slave class. Perhaps the question behind it all is 'if God created man in His image, what happens when man creates in his image?'. The answer is not an encouraging one: it also has renewed pertinence at this time, in the light of the current Human Genome Project and our nascent cloning technology. Sadly the bitter tone of this book lacks depth, and is devoid of hope or feelgood factor. The plot also fails to integrate the many inventive themes such as the fake religion, and the false hope of the 'mood organ', an instant brain-fix machine. The men come over as convincing characters, but the females rather less so. To be fair, the book's great invention is the 'empathy test', which distinguishes between androids and humans. It is used well in the book, and they also honed it to a keen edge in the film.
This report prepared by Michael JR Jose