Over at Berfrois, the eds. have put together a sampling of international Philip K. Dick book covers. The cover for the Danish edition of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is so marvellously weird that I had to see what other covers Androids has sported. Here are some of the more interesting specimens. (NB—I used a simple Google search to find these images, but you can find an extensive cover gallery for many of Dick’s novels here.)
Denmark. One thing is certain: you can’t help but be curious about the contents of this book.
The first American edition. I like the conceit of the sheep assembly kit used as the image. The curlicue font is a bit psychedelic, but I think this is my favourite cover.
Japan. A curious reversal here, with the sheep doing the dreaming by way of a television screen. The wasteland motif nicely reflects the desolate tone of a dying world that pervades the novel. This is one of the two covers I found that seems to reflect an actual knowledge of the book’s contents. The other, also Japanese, appears below.
Japan. Not as visually arresting as the other Japanese cover, though the Hanko-esque image of boxed-in humanoid heads is elegant in its own way. The stuttering text is what intrigues me most, conjuring a cybernetic breakdown of sorts.
UK. The deconstructed sheep in this image echoes the first American edition a bit, though the huge electrical plug is far from subtle. The helical motif seems to recall a strand of DNA, pointing to the ambiguity between the organic and the technological thematized in the novel.
The flayed and amputated humanoid figure in the foreground gives an interesting contrast to the pastoral landscape. The Technicolor feel here is miles away from the actual tone of the novel.
These two covers from Signet seem to be trying to capture the notion of the “dream” using dashes of cubism and collage. The tagline is amusing to me in its attempt to make the novel into a “save the world” narrative, trading a handful of refugee android slaves for a hostile race of the undead bent on world domination.
Poland. Of course, many editions of Androids appeared under the title Blade Runner following the film adaptation by Ridley Scott. Most of these editions use either the film’s poster or production stills for their covers. This one from Poland obviously takes a different approach, offering a cyberpunk frenzy that looks as though the posters for The Terminator and Star Wars were superimposed and then filtered through the Predator’s heat-vision goggles.