Do Androids Dreams Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
I had to read this twice because there’s a lot to take in: the last days of Earth, a new human religion, are androids alive? The curse of life is that we move towards death, but our empathy makes the journey tolerable. Without empathy for humans, for animals, for their own kind, the life of an android is nasty, brutish and short.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep …
They even built humans.
Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.