Summary and Analysis: Chapter 1

New Characters
Rick Deckard: A bounty hunter of androids for the San Francisco Police Department.

Iran: Rick Deckard’s wife; she rarely leaves their apartment.

Buster Friendly: A popular TV personality whose show runs continuously in the homes of most humans residing on Earth.

Bill Barbour: Rick Deckard’s neighbor; he owns a coveted Percheron mare and keeps it in a stall next to the pen where Rick keeps his mechanized sheep.

Summary
Rick Deckard wakes to the automatic alarm provided by his Penfield mood organ. His wife, Iran, lies in her bed, refusing to get up. Rick attempts to persuade Iran that she should set her mood organ high enough so that she’ll want to be awake. In response, Iran orders Rick to keep his "crude cop’s hand" away. They argue about the nature of Deckard’s job as a bounty hunter and about the ease with which Iran spends Deckard’s bounty money despite her complaints.

The argument then turns to the subject of the mood setting which Iran has chosen on her mood organ. Iran explains that she has purposely set her mood organ for depression and explains that she recently became concerned one afternoon when she became aware of the disturbing silence of their building, but she wasn’t emotionally affected by it. This silence was due to a significant decline in the human population of Earth, and Iran realized that she wasn’t able to respond emotionally due to the setting on her mood organ. Iran says that this inability to feel and react to the absence of life is unhealthy and was once considered an "absence of appropriate affect," so she decided to experiment the settings. Deckard and Iran continue to discuss Iran’s choice of moods when she finally argues that she doesn’t feel like dialing anything into her mood organ. Deckard responds that she should set the dial for a mood that will make her want to dial a different mood. Iran refuses, claiming that setting the dial to a mood that will make her want to re-set the dial will only perpetuate her feeling of false emotion. Deckard then sets his own dial for "a creative and fresh attitude towards his job."

After quickly eating breakfast and dressing in his requisite radiation-proof lead codpiece, Deckard ventures up to the rooftop of his apartment building, where he and all other tenants house their animals, both real and mechanized. Deckard doesn’t divulge to his neighbors that his sheep is electric; to do so would be admitting to his own inferiority. Deckard reaches the rooftop and regards the smell and color of the radioactive air around him. The potency of the radioactive dust that now covers the surface of the earth has subsided considerably since the end of World War Terminus. However, Deckard is still concerned about the negative impact of his exposure to the dust, although he consistently tests as a "regular," and as such he is still allowed to reproduce and emigrate to Mars if he chooses. Deckard knows that there still exists the possibility of being damaged, even with his lead codpiece, and recalls the popular slogan, “Emigrate or degenerate!”

When Deckard makes his way to his small patch of sod, his neighbor, Bill Barbour, is in the adjacent stall tending to his Percheron mare. Bill informs Deckard that his mare is pregnant after successful fertilization by the highest quality plasma available in California. Deckard silently reflects on the demoralizing aspect of owning an ersatz pet. Deckard inquires whether or not Bill has...

(The entire section is 1448 words.)