the Little Red Reviewer

Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, We Can Build You, and Futurama

Posted on: February 18, 2018

A few months ago, the ads started popping up on Amazon for their original series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.  The ads actually were not very compelling, so I didn’t even notice when the series loaded up.  Some friends mentioned their enjoyment of it on twitter, so a few weeks ago I gave it a try.


I’ve only seen three episodes so far, and they were excellent. They aren’t teleplays of PKD stories, but they play with many of the ideas he presented in his fiction.  The show is completely episodic, it is like an anthology, with each episode a self contained story. Maybe later in the series they connect?


So, I watch these 3 episodes over the course of a few days,  I pick up We Can Build You and The Game Players of Titan at the used bookstore, and then a couple of days after that I have my first ever ocular migraine.  The good thing about ocular migraines is that they are relatively painless and mine was harmless.  The bad thing is that you can have pixelated visual distortions, which are basically a blind spot in your peripheral vision. It was weird AF but harmless.


Yeah, so pixelated visual distortions after watching a few of episodes of Electric Dreams was seriously the most fucked up thing I have ever experienced.


To add to the weirdness, I started reading We Can Build You a few days ago. It is so readable and accessible, are we sure Philip K Dick wrote this? Like, I don’t have to work at all to figure out what is going on and what the characters relationships to each other are! Granted, I am only 5 or 6 chapters in, so who knows what will happen later.

If you don’t want to know anything about We Can Build You, stop reading now.  This might turn into a series of posts like the ones I wrote on  Book of the New Sun that had a lot of spoilers.

If you are not familiar with the plot of this book,  Louis and Maury run a manufacturing plant, and Maury wants them to get into the business of making automatons that can pass for human (woah, like a new-BSG cylons?). Maury and his daughter Pris design and build an automaton, and they do trick a few people into thinking their robot is a real person.  Now they’ve got to figure out how to make their automaton commercially viable, what can/should they do with this thing?  Maury and Louis disagree on to what use they should be putting their automaton. It could permanently tear their business apart.


I hope there is an episode of Electric Dreams that is about this story!


Louis feels threatened by Pris, and as a trick, he tells someone that he is in fact an automaton designed and programmed to look and act just like Louis. I just got to the point in the book where Louis can’t get this idea out of his mind, that it could be fun, or at least interesting, to be a robot. He feels threatened by Pris, and maybe his idea of pretending to be a robot will help him screw her over.


You remember that episode of Futurama where Fry pretends he is a robot, and then after a few weeks he starts believing it?  At the end of the episode he starts living as a human again, but he struggles with coming back to himself.  I gotta find that episode.

Now my brain is processing robot ideas.  For an android to really pass as human,  would it get hyped up after having strong coffee? Would it complain that humid summer air makes its hair frizzy?  Would it wake up with bedhead? Would its weight yo-yo? Would it get pimples?   Because these are normal human things.


2 Responses to "Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, We Can Build You, and Futurama"

Fellow human, I really enjoyed this post!

(I did though, really, and thanks for the head’s up on the show!)


Enjoyed the post a lot. My favorite is DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? but probably just because that was the first Dick I read, back in…college? Yes, I think so. But the short stories are well worth reading as well.


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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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