Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Study Guide

Philip K. Dick

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? | Chapter 10 | Summary



At the new Hall of Justice, the police book Rick Deckard for suspected homicide and representing himself as a police officer. A senior officer named Garland allows Deckard to call his wife. When he does, an unfamiliar woman answers. Deckard and Garland talk about the material Deckard has with him, and about androids and how to detect them. Garland notes that the next one on the list is him. He calls a bounty hunter in to help them sort through the situation. Phil Resch enters and they talk about the situation. Resch says he had always wondered about the Soviet cop Deckard killed/deactivated, as he always seemed suspiciously cold. Neither Garland nor Resch are familiar with the Voigt-Kampff test Deckard uses. While they are talking about the possibility and implications of Deckard testing them, the secretary calls with the results of the bone marrow test: the Soviet cop was an android. Deckard was right. They conclude that they will have to run their respective tests on one another to see who is human.


This chapter begins to move the novel into the surreal. However, each twist in reality is always plausible, and could always signal to readers that Rick Deckard is the one who is out of touch with reality, or even crazy. He might have dialed the wrong number (and accidentally gotten someone who wasn't his wife). Deckard and his boss have already talked about the limitations of the Voigt-Kampff test, so it is possible a new police station uses a newer test (though it seems unlikely they wouldn't have even heard of the older test). The situation gets more complicated when Phil Resch enters and confirms he had always wondered about whether the Soviet cop was human or not.

The suggestion that the different elements of the police force test one another creates a new and intriguing possibility. The traditional Turing test assumed a known human would be doing the testing: it assumed a known baseline of humanity and reality. This situation is much more complicated. Here, two groups of people are using two different tests to determine if the other group is real or not. This opens up a philosophical quandary. What if both tests show both sets of people are androids? What if the tests disagree, with one showing human and one android? At this point in the novel, reality loses its moorings. Things will get stranger and more fluid from this point on. There may not be a final conclusion on what is real and what isn't.

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