Study Guide

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Writing Style

By Philip K. Dick

Writing Style

Casual Cerebral

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is relaxed in its writing style, but that doesn't mean you won't have to use that gray matter floating about in your skull. You just get to fire up those neurons in a laidback kind of way.

The sentence structure and word choice on display gives a somewhat stream-of-consciousness feel. It's not full-on stream of consciousness, but more like stream-of-consciousness lite. Consider:

Conscious of his defeat and failure, Rick settled back. And, helplessly, waited for what came next. Whatever the androids had planned, now that they had physical possession of him. (9.130)

That first sentence is a sentence: subject, verb, the whole kit-and-kaboodle. The second sentence, though, is not technically a sentence. Since it lacks a subject, it is what's called an incomplete sentence, or, if you know it by its street name, a fragment. (And we don't even know what happened to that last sentence there.)

Sure, maybe the editor of this novel should be fired—to be fair, there's other evidence in the book to back up that recommendation—but let's consider for a moment that this was done on purpose. What kind of vibe do fragments and irregular sentences give the story being told?

A casual, stream-of-consciousness vibe, that's what. The above example reads like broken and unregulated thoughts, as though we're stepping into the head of a guy going about his day, uncensored and uncut.

Want more? We go into this in more depth in our "Narrative Technique" section.