Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
by Philip K. Dick
Discussed May 2012
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick synopsis and character list


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
by Philip K. Dick

Synopsis by Brenda Krekeler

The little surge of electricity awoke Rick Deckard from his mood organ. His wife, Iran, wanted to be deeply depressed and only accepted a mood for “ecstatic sexual bliss.”

World War Terminus left radio-active dust everywhere on the planet. People, and all types of life died by the millions. A giant emigration moved from Earth to the colonies. Deckard gets a monthly checkup and remains in good health. He is a bounty hunter and works for the San Francisco Police Department.

Rick can only afford an electric sheep. He replaced a real sheep given to him by his friend who emigrated. Rick says he can't emigrate, "Because of my job."

His neighbor, Bill Barbour, owns a Percheraon horse that is pregnant. They keep their animals on the roof to pasture them. If each family didn't have a live animal they were low-class citizens. Because the live animals are so expensive, many people buy electric-fake animals. This particular morning Rick showed Bill that his sheep was mechanical. Unfortunately, "Owning and maintaining a fraud had a way of gradually demoralizing one."

The Pentagon and the Rand Corporation had predicted a successful war but their predictions failed.  The animals died, humans emigrated and the sun stopped, ……”to shine on Earth.”

Upon colonization a weapon was used, “the Synthetic Freedom Fighter.”  The human robot was an organic android.  Each emigrant received one android to become their servant.

Most humans who remained on earth lived in the urban areas.  Humans who lived in the suburbs were not considered rational.

John R. Isidore remained in the peninsula south of San Francisco.  The TV at Isidore’s states that it was the 5th or 6th anniversary of New America (a U.S. settlement on Mars).  Maggie Klugman considered herself and her family higher class in Mars, New New York because of her android.  John Isidore was considered by the government as a “chickenhead.”  Now however he has a job and his boss, Hannibal Sloat, recognizes him as human.  “Mor certa, vita incerta.” (Latin for "Death is certain, life is not.")

People who couldn’t hold jobs were institutionalized at the “Institute of Special Trade Skills of America.”

People, on earth who were not “rational,” were considered “special.”

Isidore couldn’t bare to leave the vacant building to go to work so he turned on the “empathy box.”

Isidore loved being a child.  He was happy.  Then he was arrested because he could bring animals back from the dead.  They had destroyed the part of his brain that allowed him to bring animals back to life.  He suffered afterwards.

He was in fusion with Mercer on the empathy machine and was cut by a rock.  He heard a TV somewhere in the empty building.

Rick’s boss, Inspector Harry Bryant, wanted Rick to meet him in Dave Holden’s office.  Holden was in Mount Zion Hospital awaiting a new “organic plastic spinal section.”  Holden had been shot by Polokov, one of the androids.

Rick’s secretary, Ann Marsten, told him Holden had been shot.  She also offered up the Rosen Association was creating the new “andys,” the Nexus-6 brain unit.  The Voight Empathy Test could determine if one was a T-14 android.

Rick learned the Nexus-6 had two trillion constituents plus ten million combinations of cerebral activity.  This new andy had .45 reaction-postures.  The new andys were more adroit than their masters.  The only way to test them was the Voight-Kampff Empathy Test.

Only empathy was a human characteristic not an android's.  Mercerism told everyone that you kill only the killers.  A Mercerite sensed evil.  For Deckard, he defined the killers as the androids who hand killed their masters, extraordinary intelligence, “no regard” for animals and who didn’t have empathic joy.

Rick wanted the $30,000 ostrich.  He checked the cost for an electric one, $800.

Dave had retired two of the eight andys.

Bryant wants to send Rick to the Rosen Co. in Seattle to test three humans and three androids using the Voight-Kampff Altered Scale to see if it works against the Nexus-6 androids.

The android that shot Dave is named “Max Polokov.”

Bryant is concerned that the latest test might not work for the humans and the androids.  That would make Rick’s attempt to find the six escaped androids extremely difficult.

Rick met Rachael Rosen on the roof of the Rosen Association Building in Seattle.  Rick saw the animals on the roof and saw his first real raccoon.  He checked his Sidney’s for the price.

Uncle Eldon, Rachel’s uncle, should have the test subjects available now.

Rachel told Rick their entire output is the Nexus-6.

Rick used the Voight-Kampff apparatus.  The adhesive disk “measures capillary dilation in the facial area…”  A pencil-beam light measures eye muscles.

Rachael said, “I want to be tested.”  She was the first subject.

Rick begins with a number of social situations.  Rick found Rachael to be an android.  Uncle Eldon told Rick that Rachael is human.  She lived in space with adults for fourteen years of her eighteen-year-old life. 

Rachael is considered an under-developed empathic human.  Mr. Rosen told Deckard that if his test was correct, he would have killed Rachael.

Deckard noticed an androidian characteristic from Rachael.  He gave her another question and knew definitively that she was indeed a Nexus-6.  She however did not know until just then that she was an android.

Isidore found a girl in the apartment with the TV.  She didn’t want his help to find dependable furniture.  He tells her, “The First Law of Kipple.  Kipple drives out nonkipple.  The entire universe is functioning into “absolute kippleization.” “

The girl finally asked Isidore to help her find furniture.  She told Isidore here name was Rachael Rosen.  Then she changed her name to Pris Stratton.

Isidore wanted to help the girl but as a chickenhead he didn’t know how.  He thought she was odd because she had two different names and that she didn’t know Mercer or Buster Friendly (the only TV actor).

Isidore picks up malfunctioning electric animals.  He worked for the Van Ness Pet Hospital.  Milt Borogrove was the Hospital’s repairman.

Isidore did not like Buster Friendly insulting the empathy boxes.

Amanda Werner talked every other day to Buster and they joked at Mercerism (the empathy box.)

The American and Soviet governments support Mercerism and believes that humans need more empathy.

Isidore had a pickup for a sick cat.  The dead cat owner’s husband loved his cat “so much” that he never touched it or took care of it.  It was a real cat and he was afraid it would die which it did.  His wife wants an electric duplicate cat.

Milt told Isidore to contact Wheelright & Carpenter to come over and get the correct specifications from the cat, Horace.  This new aspect of his job description delighted Isidore.

Polokov is the first andy Rick was told to find.  Polokov is “a trash collector and a scavenger.”  Apparently Polokov is imitating a chickenhead or an anthead.

Sandor Kadalyi is a Soviet cop from W.P.O.  Sandor wants to tag along with Rick and learn about the Nexus-6 models.

Rick had information about Polokov.  He worked at the Bay Area Scavengers Company and had offices on Geary.  After Rick retires Polokov, Sandor can work with Rick to get the next android, Miss Luba Luft.  Rick found Polokov absent from his job and his apartment.

Bryant told Rick to stay at Polokov’s apartment and wait for Sandor Kadalyi.   Rick spent his time waiting for Kadalyi to arrive while he learned about Miss Luft.  She was designed to be a German opera singer at the San Francisco Opera Company. 

Rachael Rosen called Rick and told him she could help him find the other Nexus-6s.  He declined.

Kadalyi arrived and Rick identified him as Polokov.  Rick used his .38 and blasted the android’s head.

After retiring Polokov, Rick wanted to share his excitement with his wife Iran.  She was set up into a deep depression.  Rick believes that the androids have more vitality and more desire to live than his wife did.

Rick decided that if Miss Luft appeared to be difficult, he would call Rachael Rose for her help.

Rick found Luba Luft at the Opera and he followed her into her stage room.  After a few questions Luba Luft became frustrated and after Rick picked up the dish on the floor she held him up with a laser.  She called the police.  Rick realized that she didn’t know she wasn’t human.

The policeman, Officer Crams, said he knew all the San Francisco bounty hunters and he had never heard of Rick Deckard.

Rick called Bryant but there was no response when Crams talked to Bryant.  Crams called the Department and they told him there was no Inspector Bryant nor a bounty hunter named Rick Deckard.  Officer Crams took Rick out of Luft’s room to take him to the police station.  Rick had told him he had a dead andy in his hovercraft.

Officer Crams viewed Polokov’s body and called other officers to pick it up.  Officer Crams and Rich headed for the Hall of Justice but Rick saw he was driving in the wrong direction.

Crams told Rick that his old headquarters had been closed years ago and was now sadly deteriorated.  The new headquarters was housed in the Mission Building.  Officer Crams thought Rick was an android, not him.  Rick now was in the android’s possession.  Crams lowered his police hoovercar onto the Mission’s roof.

Mission Street Hall was an architectural wonder but Rick had never seen it before.  Rick was then given “his cephalic pattern.”

Inspector Garland took charge of Rick.  Garland thinks that Rick is an android who is posing as a bounty hunter.  Garland saw Rick’s briefcase and found that Rick’s next android assignment was Garland.  Garland had Phil Resch, their bounty hunter come in.

Garland introduced Phil Resch and Rick Deckard.  “You’re both bounty hunters and it’s probably time you met.”

Resch said he knew Polokov but he never heard of the Voight-Kampff scale.  Resch said he had wanted to test Polokov but the chance never happened.

The bone marrow test concluded that Polokov was a “humanoid robot.”

Resch has always wanted to test their “Boneli-Reflex-Arc” on all police personnel.

Rick now insists that Garland be tested based on Polokov’s bone morrow results.  As Resch went to get his equipment, Garland told Rick he and Resch are androids.  Resch doesn’t know and he will likely kill me and you when he learns his identity.  Also Garland told Rick that his Precinct knows of Rick’s Precinct but that Rick’s Precinct does not know of theirs.  Garland explained that they had rerouted Rick’s phone call to his wife to the Mission Station.

When Resch came in the door he killed Inspector Garland with his laser tube.  He repositioned the chair for Garland.  Resch hand cuffed Rick and they left out of the police station on Mission.

As they flew over to the Opera House, Resch told Rick to give him the test.  Then he realized that Rick already knew Garland had told him that he was an android.  Resch said he loves his squirrel Buffy.

They found Luba Luft at the museum where Munch’s work was presented.  Deckard and Resch walked Luft out and down the elevator.  Luft insulted Resch as an android and he shot her in her stomach with his laser.  Rick finished the job so she didn’t suffer long.

Rick told Resch he was quitting, going to Mars.

Rick told Resch that he hated him because Resch enjoyed killing.  That was why he told Garland that he was an android.  You just want to kill.

Rick gave Resch the test and as it turns out Resch is human.

Rick had Resch test him and Rick discovered that he had empathy toward some androids.

Rick felt that as he rode down the elevator with Luft and Resch he didn’t want to kill Luft but would have wanted to kill Resch.

As Rick contemplated his new feelings he started to think differently about humanity and androids.

Isidore brought home some fresh food and wine for dinner with his new neighbor Pris Stratton.

Pris told Isidore that she was being hunted by the bounty hunters.

She told him she hated Mars because it was so lonely.  She was hoping to see her friends Roy and Irmgard.  They arrived shortly.

Roy told Pris that Polokov, Garland, Anders, Gitchel and finally Luba had been killed.  Roy and Irmgard decided to stay in Pris’s apartment.  Pris was to stay in Isidore’s apartment.  Isidore said he would protect all of them.

Baty set an alarm in the carpet for bounty hunter intruders that makes them panic.

Roy Baty slipped and Isidore now knew they were androids.  Isidore didn’t care, he just wanted to help them.  Humans didn’t treat him well, he was just a chickenhead.

Isidore thought he could protect them all based on his new responsibility he had received at work today.

Rick received his three thousand dollars and immediately rushed to the animal buyers.  He learned that goats will eat anything and survive.

Iran loved the goat and immediately made Rick go down to the empathy box to share their pleasure with all of the Mercerites.

Rick told Iran that he bought the goat because he had tested himself empathetic for androids.  He thought he would loose his job if he didn’t make himself more human.

Harry Bryant called on the vidscreen.  He told Rick there are two of the androids at Conapt Buildings 3967-C.

Bryant told Rick to go there now.  Rick told him he bought a goat and how he is going to buy a sheep.  Bryant said, “You have a sheep.” 

Rick told him “It is electric.” And hung up the phone.

Rick took Iran’s hands off the empathy box and put his hands on the box.  Mercer told Rick that Rick had to do what was wrong.  Mercer hit his ear with a rock.

Rick called Rachael Rosen to help him with the remaining androids.  He got her to come down to San Francisco and meet her at the St. Francis Hotel.

Androids do dream, Rick decided.  That is why they tried to run to a better world.

Rick waited at the hotel and Rachael arrived.  After she read the information on the androids she realized that Pris Stratton was her double.  Pris was the same Nexus-6.  Rachael was the prototype. 

Rachael explained that the Rosen Association only had her to go with Rick to watch what happened so they can make the Nexus-7 more human.  She said that Pris Stratton would kill and replace her.  Androids have no empathy for other androids.

Rachael gave Rick a laser that suspends the androids for five or six seconds as well as a human’s respiration.

Rick decided he couldn’t have sex with Rachael because later he was going to kill the identical android.  Rachael told him she would kill Pris Stratton and he went into bed with her.  He was gratified that he only had to kill two androids and not three.

While they dressed and went up to the roof Rachael told Rick she only had two more years before her cell would die.  Rick told her he would marry her if he could.  He believed she was an organic entity.  Rich said tonight is the end.  The Baty’s will be his last.  He will never kill another android.

Rachel told Rick that all bounty hunters that had sex with her had stopped being a bounty hunter except for Phil Resch.

Rachael told Rick she had stopped bounty hunters nine times.  She did it all for the Association.

Rick decided and told Rachael he was going to kill her then Roy, Irmgard and Pris.

Rick felt that if he could kill Rachael then he will be able to kill the other three.  He tried to kill her but he couldn’t.  She had won yet another bounty hunter.  Rick took her into San Francisco to her hoovercar.

Al Jarry was Mercer based on numerous fifteen-minute clips from years ago.  The rocks were plastic and the blood was catsup.  Buster Friendly and his staff declared.  Roy Baty said Mercerism is a swindle.

The three androids mutilated a spider cutting off four legs and then burning it to make it walk.  (“That’s disturbing.”)

Isidore is upset due to the Mercer story told by Buster Friendly.  Then his friends told him that Buster Friendly was an android.  Pris cut another leg of the spider and Isidore took it to the sink and drowned it.

Isidore had an emotional collapse.  His apartment crumbled and he asked for Mercer.  Mercer appeared to him and told him Mercerism is a swindle.  “The androids are sincere.”  I am an old man named Al Jarry.  Mercer gave Isidore a spider.  Isidore was very happy.

Isidore removed his hands from the empathy box.  The bounty hunter alarm went off.  Isidore took his spider outside and released it.  There he met Rick.  Isidore said he would not show him where the androids were.

When Rick entered the apartment he met Mercer who told him the Androids were above and below him.  Rick used his laser and killed Pris.  Rick believes Mercer warned him about Pris and now he was able to kill the next two androids.

Once in the apartment, Roy fired at Rick.  As Roy ran Rick shot Irmgard.  Before Rick shot Roy he told Roy that he knew he loved Irmgard and he (Rick) loved Rachael.

Isidore came in the apartment.  He was extremely sad.  Rick called Harry Bryant’s office. 

When Rick got home, Iran told him Rachael had taken their goat and shoved it off the roof.  Rick left.

Rick Flew north, stopped and called Dave Holden.  The Dr. said he could not take any phone calls.  Rick decided to walk up the dead, noxious hill.  He walked a long time and was hungry.

He knew his despair was from killing the androids and that Rachael had killed his goat.  A stone hit him in the groin.  The pain woke him up and he ran down the hill back into the hoovercar.

Ann Marsten, his secretary, told him Inspector Bryant put Rick’s name in to Chief Cutter for a citation.  Rick told Ann he thought he was fused with Mercer.

Rick found a toad.  He was so excited and flew back to San Francisco from Oregon to Iran.

Rick was so thrilled to show Iran the toad.  When she saw it she showed him it was electric.  He was so tired he went to sleep immediately.  Iran called the Electric Pet store and had electric flies delivered for their new electric toad.

Rick Deckard - Bounty hunter for androids and works for the San Francisco Police Department
Iran Deckard - Rick's wife
Bill Barbour - Rick's neighbor who is an owner of a Percheraon horse
John R. Isidore - chickenhead, anthead, special. He brought animals back to life before the government damaged his brain.
Hannibal Sloat - Isidore's boss at the electric animal hospital
Inspector Harry Bryant - Rick's boss at the Justice Center
Dave Holden - bounty hunter, killed two androids and attempted to kill Polokov
Ann Marsten - Rick's secretary
Voight-Kampff Empathy Test - test to determine androids
Max Polokov - an adroid who had shot Dave Holden
Rachael Rosen - works for the Rosen Association an android proto-type of the Nexus-6 model
Eldon Rosen - Rachel's boss and owner of the Rosen Association
Pris Stratton - Isidore's friend and android, dulicate of Rachael
Milt Borogrove - electric-animal repairman
Buster Friendly - a character on TV and radio. Talks constantly.
Amanda Werner - talks to Buster every other day. They bash the empathy boxes and Mercerism
Sandor Kadalyi - Soviet Cop who turns out to be Polokov
Miss Luba Luft - German opera singer at the San Francisco Opera Company
Inspector Garland - at Missions Building Police Station
Phil Resch - bounty hunter for Mission Building Police Station
Roy Baty & Irmagard Baty - married, androids
Anders - android killed by Dave Holden
Gitchel - android killed by Dave Holden