Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? One Book, One Chicago 2018-2019

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick was the 29th selection for One Book, One Chicago. The season’s program explored the theme "Imagine the Future."

From October 2018 through April 2019, we explored the theme from multiple perspectives, as recounted through personal experience, imagined in literature, presented in politics, or synthesized in music and art.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was first published in 1968, introduces readers to protagonist Rick Deckard in 2021 as he maneuvers his way through the new world order. This iconic book was the inspiration for the blockbuster film Blade Runner. By 2021, the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remain covet any living creature, and for people who can't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacra: horses, birds, cats, sheep. They've even built humans. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so sophisticated they are indistinguishable from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans can wreak, the government bans them from Earth. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and "retire" them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.

Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.


The 2018-2019 One Book, One Chicago season featured a variety of events at Harold Washington Library Center, neighborhood library branches, and partner locations, as well as online digital programming.

Mainstage programs at Harold Washington Library Center included:

  • Scientist and Author Martin Rees discusses "On the Future: Prospects for Humanity"
  • Author David Golemon on The Future of Science Fiction
  • The War of the Worlds - Live Radio Drama
  • Authors N.K. Jemisin and Mikki Kendall
  • Author Ryan North: How To Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler
  • More Than Machines: Women in Science Fiction Shorts presented by Chicago Feminist Film Festival
  • The Science of Star Wars with Dirk K. Morr
  • Season Finale: Blade Runner film screening

Additional small group programs at Harold Washington Library Center included:

  • Learning Circles: CPL Maker Lab hosted three learning circles related to issues surrounding science and technology – Python Tutorial for Beginners, Learn Autodesk Fusion 360 for Complete Beginners and Programming Android Basics
  • Maker Lab classes included: Radical Eyewear, Dial a Mood, Stranger Sounds, Drawing Space Noir, Fusion: Life on Mars 
  • Video Theatre screenings of films including: Young Frankenstein (1974), Twilight Zone: Strange Worlds, Alien, Prometheus, and more

CPL neighborhood branch programs included:

  • Neighborhood walking tours including: Urban Futures for Higher Education, Plans for a Better Tomorrow, Hyde Park: Plans from the Past, Present and Future, Transit Time in the Loop, Radical Reinvention, Michigan Avenue Repurposed, The Mag Mile Grows Up, Uptown’s Past and Future Selves
  • Interactive workshops including: Science Fiction Board Game Night, Shadowrun 101 Sci-Fi Roleplaying Game, Science Fiction Fun Drop In Day, Games Day Goes Into Space, Ikebana Futuristic, Create a Futuristic Collage
  • Film screenings including: Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, The War of the Worlds, Her, The Matrix, Black Panther, Ready Player One, A Wrinkle In Time, I Robot, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Minority Report, Alien, Stargate, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Frankenstein, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Terminator and Edge of Tomorrow
  • Lectures including: The Golden Age of Science Fiction with Alec Nevala-Lee and Gary K. Wolfe, Zombie Hunters: Emergency Preparedness, Speculative Urban Futures, Chicago Style with Max Grinnell, Chicago’s Unbuilt Projects with Max Grinnell, Author Nisi Shawl Discusses the legacy of Octavia E. Butler, Ytasha L. Womack on Afrofuturism

Community partner programming included:

  • DePaul University Chicago’s Department of English studied the One Book, One Chicago selection and theme through their One Book, One Chicago course, as well as through several on campus programs including Mary Shelley’s Monsters with author Rachel Feder, From Dreaming to Running: Putting the Android on Screen, Ethical Dilemmas in Our Own Time and Beyond, More Human Than Human: Writing the Android Tale, Different Futures: Exercises in Worldbuilding
  • Harold Washington College, a community college of Chicago, presented a class where they studied the One Book, One Chicago selection and theme and presented several on campus programs
  • Loyola University Chicago presented an on campus book discussion of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Northeastern Illinois University studied the book and also attended neighborhood branch programming as a class
  • Chicago Trivia Night at GMan Tavern explored science fiction and futurism questions related to Chicago
  • The Art Institute of Chicago presented Into the Void, an interactive workshop exploring the work of artist Lee Bontecou

Teen programming in partnership with CPL’s Teen Services:

  • In The Universe
  • Science for Good and Evil
  • AI: A Sci-fi Survey
  • Sci-Fi Campfire
  • Sci-FI VR Experience
  • Make a Sci Fi Music Track in YouMedia
  • Teen Book Discussion
  • Sci Fi Board Games Drop In

Art Exhibit

Rediscover Frankenstein – this one-day solo audio experience takes you on a journey through the life and memories of Victor Frankenstein and allows you to explore this world through a series of extraordinary objects. Presented by London’s Pure Expression, an immersive theater company that reimagines classic stories in unique environments. 

Digital Programming

In addition to events, the season featured several innovative digital programs including:

Further Reading

Check out some of our further reading recommendations:


The 2018-2019 One Book, One Chicago was presented by the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

Content last updated: August 21, 2020

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