Yesterday while walking in the city gardens, the final chapter of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? finished playing. I’d taken the easy way out, listening to a recorded reading of it on my iPod. It was very well produced — as far as audiobooks are concerned — with music and everything and read by Matthew Modine featuring Calista Flockhart for the female parts.
What intrigued me most in the story was the emphasis put on the importance of owning an animal, an element not quite as pronounced in Bladerunner. It’s an integral part of the social structure, like you’re not part of the human race unless you own and are able to take care of some kind of animal, preferably not an artificial one.
All my life — as far back as I can remember at least — there has been very little, if any, time spent when I have not been the owner of a pet of some kind or another, from my earliest little mouse, through cats, dogs and various insects, to the aquariums I keep today. Over the years, electric pets have also managed to find short-lived places amongst the organic, though the ability of an artificial animal to provoke any true feelings of empathy is nothing to that of real pets, who have been evolving and refining a wide range of techniques for many, many thousands of years.