A 1968 novel by Creator/PhilipKDick about escaped androids trying to pass for humans in a dystopian future, and the people whose job it is to hunt them down. The book is notable for film fans as being the source material for ''Film/BladeRunner''.

In the [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture distant future of the 1990s]], nuclear war has destroyed nearly all life on Earth. Almost all animals are extinct, and only a fraction of the human race remains on Earth. Those left behind are either unwilling to leave, or are "specials" (called "chickenheads" or, in severe cases of mental damage, "antheads"), who are ineligible to leave due to overexposure to fallout. The people on Earth give their lives meaning by taking care of the last animals that are left on planet. As a proof of their empathy and humanity, those who can't afford a real animal inevitably end up buying an electric model instead; it's considered antisocial, if not downright sinful, to not have an animal to show the neighbours.

Most of humanity has emigrated throughout the solar system, rebuilding civilisation along with their organic android slaves ("andys") to do the hard labour. Androids have advanced to the point where they look completely human inside and out, but exhibit certain psychological differences and are not officially recognised as alive. Naturally, there are some androids who try to flee from a life of slavery and pass as human on Earth.

But being non-human, the androids are excluded from the experience of "Mercerism", a religion based around respect for all life, and the shared empathy of all the human race. People can connect together using "empathy boxes", bonding over the shared visions of The Messiah figure Wilbur Mercer. Most of humanity on Earth follows Mercerism, but the religion is ridiculed by famed comedian Buster Friendly, whose shows on TV and radio "Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends" broadcast 23 hours a day each and who seems determined to bring Mercerism down for good.

Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter working for the San Francisco police department. He's assigned to hunt down and "retire" six Nexus-6 androids who have escaped from Mars, after the previous man on the case was left critically injured. His task is complicated when Deckard meets Rachael Rosen, a beautiful young woman associated with the leading android manufacturing company, and he begins to question the morality of his job. Deckard's life isn't going quite the way he wanted: he's stuck on earth, his wife has discarded artificial moods in favor of actual depression, and his sheep is electric.

Meanwhile, John R. Isidore -- a chickenhead who lives alone in a decaying apartment building -- finds that somebody else is now living in another apartment. It's a beautiful young woman named Pris Stratton, who calls herself "Rachael Rosen", then abruptly changes her story. She is cold and dismissive towards him at first, but later appeals to him for help: she has friends who have to come and hide out with her, because there's a bounty hunter trying to kill them. J.R. Isidore, who has never had a friend, is eager to help...

As in most Creator/PhilipKDick novels, the characters are all extremely confused about their identity and their surroundings. Some plot twists are overly obvious from the start, and although the novel never explicitly states why the characters don't notice them easily, it can be assumed that every person in the novel suffers from some level of fallout-related brain damage and detachment from reality. The result is a very dreamy, expressionistic story that has become one of Dick's most popular works.

!!Provides Examples Of:
* AdaptationExpansion: From his novella, "The Little Black Box," which introduced Mercerism and empathy boxes.
* ArtificialHuman: The androids.
* BlackMarketProduce: It's not elaborated upon as some examples, but Isidore mentions getting pre-war luxury food such as bean curd, peaches, and wine off the black market for a hefty price for himself and Pris.
* {{Bookends}}: [[spoiler:Begins and ends in Deckard's apartment, with his wife.]]
* BrokenAesop: ''Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'' is somewhat divisive, with two very different interpretations and resulting reactions.
** On the one hand, Creator/RogerEbert compared Deckard to [[GodwinsLaw "A Nazi measuring noses"]], and AI advocates compare the story to ''Film/{{The Birth of a Nation|1915}}'' for AI: Should "friendly" AI ever come to be, the story's premise could be seen as insulting or paranoia-inducing to said synthetic beings- thus potentially triggering a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LessWrong#Roko.27s_basilisk Roko's Basilisk]] scenario.
** On the other hand, many take away from the story the moral that the difference between appearance of a thing and the actuality of its identity (emotion/compassion apparently being the deontological decider for humanity) are moot: "If it talks, speaks, and thinks like a person, it is a person." It also questions if there is a difference between sentience and programmed routine, and what constitutes self-awareness. What, after all, is the difference between an AI given the ability to simulate emotion via TransferableMemory, and Deckard's wife experiencing artifical emotion from her empathy box?
* DeliberateValuesDissonance: Like many of Dick's books, it's an exploration of the Nazi mindset and the warped value system of people living inside a fascist society. But because of ''Film/BladeRunner'''s success, it's often the first Dick book people pick up, and without a firm basis in Dick-ism, a reader might think Deckard's opinions are supposed to be taken at face value.
* {{Deuteragonist}}: J.R. Isidore, who effectively serves as a foil to Deckard and whose story runs parallel to his.
* DoAndroidsDream: The TropeNamer. [[spoiler:Androids ultimately ''do'' feel emotions, and despite what human society says, at least one of them demonstrates empathy]].
* {{Doppelganger}}: Rachael Rosen and Pris Stratton are physically identical, being the same model of android. Pris even attempts to use the name "Rachael Rosen" with Isidore as well, but she changes her story when he recognises the surname Rosen as belonging to the robotics manufacturer.
* {{Dystopia}}: The Earth is ruined and mostly abandoned.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Roy Baty cares about no one save Irmgard. Even Pris, Polokov, and the other andies are expendable to him.
* ExtremelyShortTimespan: The novel takes place in a single day, but due to the extreme volume and gravity of events that happen throughout, even the main character finds this hard to comprehend.
%%* HeelFaithTurn: [[spoiler:Deckard.]] More of an anti-hero faith turn.
* KickTheDog: Rachael killing Deckard's goat. Pris cutting the legs off the spider Isidore found, just to see if it could still walk. Roy also seems to take an inordinate amount of delight in relating bad news to the group, including the deaths of their friends.
* KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: Double subverted. Lasers are stated to be more effective against androids, but when Deckard is divested of his ray tube, his backup slug thrower is able to do the job.
* LackOfEmpathy:
** Human society believes that androids have no empathy, and that empathy tests are the only way to tell them apart from (''most'') real humans.
** Deckard notes that bounty hunters have to switch off their human empathy while on the job so that they can kill androids that are physically indistinguishable from humans except through precise, clinical tests. It's one of the many ways in which the line between humans and robots is blurred.
* ManipulativeBastard: Pris Stratton, Rachael Rosen. Pris manipulates John Isidore into sheltering her and the other andies in his deserted apartment building, while Rachel [[spoiler: seduces Deckard]] so that he wouldn't be able to bring himself to kill her.
* MindScrew: It's not really clear what's happening at the end when Deckard is in the desert, though it's implied to be at least partially a hallucination.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: Buster Friendly explicitly compares the empathy box to the tools [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Hitler]] used to come to power, i.e. the Aryan racial soul.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: It's implied that this is how Luba Luft beats the Voigt-Kampff test; every time Deckard asks a question, she either [[ComicallyMissingThePoint misses the point]], argues with the premise, or claims not to know a key English word. This probably wouldn't have given her a false negative on the test, since if she really did understand the questions, then her unconscious physical responses would still reveal her to be an android. However, she uses her behavior to get the drop on Deckard and hold him at laser-point.
* OnlyElectricSheepAreCheap: Animals are a luxury, as many died out or became extinct due to fallout from World War Terminus. This results in owning an animal being a sign of wealth or status, which in turn means people buy fake, robotic animals to make themselves look more important. In the beginning of the book, Deckard owns an [[TitleDrop electric sheep]].
* ProtagonistAndFriends: An in-universe example in ''Buster Friendly and His Friendly Friends''
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots
** Too ridiculous, as in these robots can actually pass for human. The people of Earth are aware of this trope, much to their annoyance, since they're the ones who have to track down renegades who have escaped from Mars. Multiple times they've requested the Andies' manufacturer to make the Andies less human-like. The book also insinuates that the Andies are made so realistically because the Mars colonists are using them as a replacement for human intimacy (including sex).
** There are also Ridiculously Animal Robots, robotic animals that have been programmed to act like animals even when malfunctioning (so other people don't realize they are robots). In one scene, a character who works for a robot animal repair shop has someone call him to help their cat... and he doesn't realize that the cat is ''real'' until it dies and he can't find any wires.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:Buster Friendly claims towards the end on his show to have evidence of Mercer being a harmless old fake. This is when Pris reveals to Isidore that Buster and his co-stars are all androids, explaining why Buster was so desperate to prove Mercer a fraud.]] Averted when [[spoiler:Isidore rushes to his Empathy Box to confirm the truth, where Mercer reveals that it doesn't matter if he's real or not, only that Isidore and millions of others just rushed to their Empathy Boxes to maintain their faith in him.]]
* SleepingSingle: Rick and his wife Iran.
* TheSociopath: All androids are meant to be this, as its the primary thing that separates them from humans.
* StandardFemaleGrabArea: Deckard uses this on Luba Luft. When previously cornered by the bounty hunter, she outsmarted him and managed to hold him at laser point. However, once he puts his hand "laxly onto her upper arm" she ceases all struggle.
** "''I can't stand the way you androids give up''".
* TheVamp: Rachael and Pris.
* TitleDrop: A partial one comes when Rick ponders about the thought, philosophy and emotional capacity of the escaped androids, and what it would take for them to want to come to earth. The full title, however, postdates the manuscript; Dick wanted to call it either ''Do Androids Dream?'' or ''The Electric Sheep''. It was his publisher who decided to mash them together.
* TomatoInTheMirror: Subverted. Phil Resch almost becomes convinced he's a robot, and has to take an empathy test to find out.
** Almost, almost done with Deckard when he's captured by Garland's department.
* TwoLinesNoWaiting: The book has two protagonists -- Rick Deckard and JR Isidore.
* UnbuiltTrope: Deconstructed the WhatMeasureIsANonHuman trope before ''Film/BladeRunner'' widely popularized it.
* UnholyMatrimony: Roy and Irmgard Baty, though they're more of an AntiVillain example.
* UnreliableNarrator: Despite Deckard's lengthy ranting about androids being incapable of empathy, Irmgard Batty clearly shows an emotional response to Isidore freaking out over the dead spider.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman: The book answers -- it's Weltanschauung, the cultural framework each side exists in. Humans believe androids don't feel empathy, while androids believe empathy is the opiate of the masses. Dick stated he was inspired by reading the journals of Gestapo officers while researching ''Literature/TheManInTheHighCastle'' and couldn't believe they were human because of the dehumanizing atrocities they carried out. Many of Deckard's rants deliberately echo Nazi paranoia about the supposed Jewish-Bolshevik menace, such as their callous atheism and lack of empathy, their desire to supplant the "authentic" human, and their inability to be part of the Aryan racial soul (Mercerism). But despite that, the book itself shows he's clearly full of it, as evidenced by Irmgard Batty empathizing with Isidore at the conclusion.
* WorldWarWhatever: World War Terminus, which destroyed most of the earth.
* YouAreWhatYouHate: Collective guilt over the nuclear war is implied to be why humanity loves and cherishes animals, even artificial ones, yet consigns artificial humans to slave labor and kills them without a shred of empathy.