Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel is better known as Blade Runner, the Ridley Scott film that is widely regarded as a SF masterpiece. I saw the film in the late 80s and loved it, and I watched it a few times once it came out on TV and I was able to video it. That’s right, video, no DVDs in those days!
The film plays like a Raymond Chandler detective story, with Harrison Ford’s voice-over adding to the Noir atmosphere. It’s a great film. The portrayal of a post nuclear dystopian future has been extremely influential.
I’m glad there was some distance between watching the film and reading the book a few years later. They are very different even though the basics of the story are the same, i.e. jaded cop hunts down a band of renegade androids. The book presents a question: What is it to be human?, and those familiar with the author’s work will rcognise this as a recurrent theme. It makes for a more interesting and thoughtful read and there is a much greater sense of completeness than in the film. In fact there are many bits of the film that only really make sense when you’ve read the book. Remember the owl?