Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human

Posted by : atcampbell | On : November 19, 1996

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

This month’s report has a multimedia flavor. Our late November book was Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (henceforth abbreviated BR2) by K. W. Jeter, which is a sequel both to Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (DADOES) and the movie it inspired, Blade Runner. In preparation several of us read (or reread) the Dick novel, and Lori and I hosted a viewing of the Director’s Cut of Blade Runner at our house. We had a lot of fun rewatching the film, and those of us who’d only seen the original version of the film were surprised by how much the few additional scenes (and the lack of voice-over narration) changed the content of the film. Additionally, I studied all the detailed information and analysis of the movie on the Blade Runner web site (

When we gathered on November 19 to discuss BR2, all of our preparation turned out to be helpful. Seven people showed up in person at Adventures in Crime and Space, and one person who couldn’t attend the meeting e-mailed in her comments. We determined that previous viewing of the Blade Runner, preferably the Director’s Cut, was essential to comprehending Jeter’s novel. Reading Dick’s novel added some enjoyment, but the story made sense to those who’d only seen the film.

Most of us found BR2 to be a valid follow-up to the movie. It continued the film’s dark tone and paranoia and wove an engaging and satisfying story. The book explored many of the conspiracy theories devised by the serious Blade Runner fans, such as “Is Deckard a replicant?”. While indulging these theories pleased big fans of the movie and of conspiracy theories in general, some of us found it made the plot too contrived. One of the film’s major attractions, its visual style, obviously could not be reproduced in print. Since we weren’t being dazzled by cool special effects all the time, we had the opportunity to find flaws like “If LA is so crowded, how come all the buildings are empty?”.

Those who’d read Dick’s novel were less satisfied with BR2. Since Jeter’s primary aim was to follow the movie, references to DADOES tended to be obscure and unsatisfying. We were more pleased by BR2‘s writing style and several plot elements that seemed to be homages to Dick’s body of work. Dick’s paranoia was mimicked effectively, and explicit comparisons of Blade Runners and Nazis seemed like something Dick would have done.

Overall we found BR2 to be a fun novel that provoked enjoyable discussion. Now if we could only get Ridley Scott, Harrison Ford, Sean Young, and the rest of the gang together to film it …

–A. T. Campbell, III