Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? · Philip K. Dick · 1968
Del Rey, 2017 · 224 pages, paperback
Most of mankind has emigrated for the colonies (i.e. Mars and other off-planet bodies). Those remaining on Earth are charged with maintaining it. Rick Deckard works as a bounty hunter for San Francisco and “retires” rogue androids with the hope that the reward money could buy him a real live animal to replace that electric sheep. He’s afraid the neighbors are getting suspicious of it.
Other men, like J.R. Isidore, are “specials, “chickenheads,” “antheads,” whose exposure to the radiation left by World War Terminus has made them ineligible for emigration to Mars. They’re tasked with more menial jobs – repairing artificial pets, say, or collecting trash, a lucrative business as everyone is fighting against a relentless deluge of virtually self-reproducing detritus and trash aka “kipple.” Continue reading
In all the world, I know only one woman. No woman but my wife moves me as a woman. And my wife regards me as the only man for her. From this point of view, we should be the happiest of couples.
Kokoro · Natsume Soseki · 1914
Edwin McClellan translation · Gateway Editions, 2000 · 248 pages, paperback
It was Tolstoy who told us that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, but it’s an axiom that also runs through Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro.
Kokoro is nuanced in its treatment of relationships and the changing values of the older and younger generations as the Meiji period, on its leave, ushered in the new Japan. In light prose, Soseki gives an account of what enduring friendship requires and what fulfillment in marriage looks like under the worst of circumstances. Continue reading