DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP isn't a great novel, but it is layered and complex enough to be intriguing. The movie does what most movie adaptations tend to do; it takes the main plot engine and focuses on that as the story, wherein the novel uses the plot engine to explore a number of themes that Dick visits in his other works. It's not that he's “out of fresh ideas” or whatever, it's more like... he's trying to get at something, and with each of his works you can sense him getting closer to the thing but failing to uncover it entirely which seems to be a major driving force behind the next work, and so on. A very integral part of the book that is completely absent from the movie for example, is the presence of a kind of deity that people tap into through what they call an Empathy Box. Animals, rendered rare due to mass extinction, and their artificial counterparts are brought up time and time again and seems to be an obsession of the protagonist, Deckard. My favorite bit might've been when for a moment Deckard is almost tricked to believing his entire existence might be a sham. So many layers that are completely absent from the film, but then again are merely scratched by Dick without much substantial depth. In the end, not the best of novels but with enough thought to keep one contemplating some.
VALIS has sat idly on my shelf for something like seven years after a couple of failed attempts, something I may finally remedy in the new year.
There's a short story I'm supposed to write which I'm also hoping to get to in the new year (there's enough time). The story and plot are already pinned down, but I haven't been in the right “headspace” to do any actual writing yet. I know people who differentiate between different “creative muscles” very starkly. Various creative work to me can be narrowed down to the difference between tidying and cleaning. Tidying requires more thought behind it, more creative solutions, while cleaning is comprised primarily of action. Tidying still requires action; nothing will get tidied if you just sit there and think about it, but the action needs a relatively considerable amount of thinking behind it.
Writing to me is like tidying, while drawing is very much like cleaning. It demands a hell-ton of doing, and I've been on a rather tedious cleaning spree for a time now, that it isn't so easy to start tidying. Even if that is what is very much needed right now.
Live podcast sesh with Afikra in three days. Anyone can RSVP, attend, and potentially participate in the Q&A that follows.