I was so excited to finally take my time and read the original book behind the cult movie Blade Runner - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.
It's not a large book, just 183 pages long in paperback, but it holds quite a big story. Though I've seen it at least once or twice, I was never a big fan of the film which I just vaguely remembered as being about a police man chasing down robots (i.e. androids) so human-like that only a test on empathy could reveal them. This is essentially what the book is about too, but there's another level of human emotions in play too (and I honestly don't know if that was there in the film). In the book here, earth is scorched and broken and the only people left on it are those deemed unfit to move to Mars or wherever the rest of mankind has gone. Mostly people with some disease that doesn't allow them to procreate. These humans left behind still try to keep up appearances and keep society going, but they know it's a sham and they aren't doing too well mentally, relying on machines to fix their mood and buying robot animals to fool the neighbours and themselves. Having a pet is both status and gives your life more value.
Meanwhile you've got these androids running around, so excellent built and designed that they are virtually impossible to tell from actual human beings - except they don't quite react right when asked certain questions. It's an incredibly interesting thought concerning artificial intelligence and what happens when AI becomes sentient. Even more so it is incredible because this book was written in 1968, back when even the simplest computer was the size of a house.
It is of course very much a philosophical book, and while the overall story and plot was very intriguing, I found the ending a bit too heavy with existentialism and despair. Obviously for this story that works very well, but I just found it a bit heavy handed.
However this is definitely a science fiction classic and any geek or fan worth their salt should read it.