K. W. Jeter - Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

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Blade Runner 2: Yes, Virginia, There Is A Sequel!

Oct 16, 2006 (Updated Oct 17, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Deckard character; kept me guessing until the end

Cons:implausible storylines and resurrected characters

The Bottom Line: Maybe I thought too much about this book and it should be more mindless entertainment. :-) Check it out at the library.


This 1995 novel, Blade Runner 2, is novel indeed, heh. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was in a category all by itself. I don’t think it will exactly please fans of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, nor fans of Ridley Scott’s 1982 movie, Blade Runner, but that is what Dick and K.W. Jeter, its author, anticipate. I can see you frowning already. It’s true. Dick sanctioned Jeter’s enterprise and is even pictured smiling with him on the back flap of the book. The jacket blurb explains that Dick is a great fan of Jeter’s work, which includes the book Dr. Adder, and believes that Blade Runner 2 will resolve many of the discrepancies between the movie and his novel, which the movie was “based on.” Having read Dick’s wonderful novel, watched the movie recently and read this novel sequel, I wish Dick would’ve elaborated.

The basic dystopian story of all three products takes place in 2019, which seemed far in the future back in 1968, but not so far by 1995. Rick Deckard makes his living on Earth in Los Angeles as a blade runner, a cop who hunts down replicants (androids) who have escaped from the off world colonies and then “retires” them. These replicants only have a lifespan of four years and in Dick’s novel they were very sympathetic characters who wanted a normal life on Earth. Deckard started questioning his job as he got to know the very human replicants and struggled with killing the last of them.

In the movie Deckard falls in love with one of the replicants, Rachel, who works for the Tyrell Corporation where the replicants are made and is never on his hit list. We were introduced to her in Dick’s novel, although he didn’t seem to be in love with her then and was married to a frustrating woman he cared for. The movie doesn’t mention a wife, but in Jeter’s sequel he is divorced and living in the woods of Oregon with her dying slowly in a life-sustaining casket. Deckard is brought back to L.A without her to find a sixth replicant for the Tyrell Corporation where the replicants are made. The head of the corporation has become Rachel’s templant, the niece of its founder who had been killed in the movie by a replicant, and she can’t understand why Deckard prefers her replicant who will die soon. Gee, it made me wonder as well if a replicant of me would be more lovable!

A lot of characters from Dick’s novel and/or the movie return in Blade Runner 2 who were convincingly dead, but now they’ve been fixed up artificially and unbelievably and in another case one claims to be a templant who also is hunting this sixth replicant. Why? If he agreed to be a templant, then he must not have a problem with replicants, and yet Jeter wants us to believe he does. And is there really a sixth replicant or is there a conspiracy to get rid of blade runners by making them accuse each other of being replicants? The problem with that is that Deckard had left L.A. and the other blade runner could’ve been taken off life support in the year he was in the hospital, but instead was given new life by the templant guy.

I enjoyed the idea that robots could someday be made so well that they’re not distinguishable from humans except by a bone marrow test. I understood why Deckard started sympathizing with them and there were replicant sympathizers (rep symphs) on the fringe of society. What doesn’t work is that we must believe that he is wanted for murdering someone he thought was a replicant and she was really a human who wanted to be a replicant. Why would she want this at the risk of her life? She loved life. And she had extraordinary strength to the end, able to resurrect yet again. Creepy!

Jeter has an aggressive style of writing with lots of fragmented sentences that took some getting used to. He wrote two more sequels and I’m curious to discover where he goes from here. Maybe I’ll appreciate this first stylish sequel more when I read them, but for now it seems a little too unbelievable and dramatic. I greatly preferred Dick's novel.

My review of Dick's novel: http://www.epinions.com/content_256425496196


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