Authority and Anarchy

Although we classify Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Speech and Sounds as dystopias, at the very least, Do Androids Dream still has a semblance of control and authority. While the police and bounty hunters have a strong presence in Do Android Dream, and even more so in Blade Runner, police are nearly imaginary in Speech and Sounds. As a policeman or bounty hunter in Do Androids Dream, you have respect and authority. People easily clear a path for you (533), you can live in a high-end apartment as a successful bounty hunter (453), Luba Luft follows Deckard’s instructions (506), people won’t question you if you’ve killed someone because they trust/are intimidated by you, and take custody of someone and have the ability to make sure they are jailed if they catch a murderer (513). The police in Speech and Sounds on the other hand don’t demand this kind of respect and intimidation. Rye points out that Obsidian “decided on his own to keep the LAPD alive” even though “he was sane enough otherwise”. Obsidian is one of the only policemen left and doesn’t have the power to judge and jail someone or even get paid. He doesn’t have the power to go against large groups and his only advantage is a car and a gun. His badge is a pretty decoration and Rye wonders why he doesn’t do something useful like “raising corn, rabbits, and children”. The only reason she obeyed his commands is “mainly out of curiosity” since a policeman is such an anomaly. To her, being a policeman in this dystopian setting is insane, useless, and asking for trouble.

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