"Out of 50 shortlisted titles that members of the Cornell community suggested, Philip K. Dick’s science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep emerged as the selection for the New Student Reading Project of 2010.
The novel is set in a post-apocalyptic future in 2021, after a nuclear war has driven millions of species into extinction and survivors to Mars. The plot centers on the protagonist’s struggle to identify androids in a crowd. By blurring the distinctions between humans and androids, the author explores the qualities, if there are any, which are unique to humans and separates them from automatons.
While the choice departs from the tradition of literary classics, the selection committee, which consists of students, faculty and staff members across colleges, evaluated this year’s selection along similar paradigms as the ones they used to single out The Grapes of Wrath last year.
“We chose a book that will cover a broad range of topics, like The Grapes of Wrath,” Laura Brown, vice provost of undergraduate education, said. “[The Grapes of Wrath] talks about the dustbowl, which sparks discussion about the environment and natural disasters. It also talks about economics, the Great Depression, family and the labor market. We want to generate as many topics as we can for exploration through the book we pick.”
I sure hope some students don't buy this edition of the book by mistake...