All the mentions of children in PKD's "Androids" are either about someone's childhood:

...he remembered how in his childhood it had been discovered that species upon species had become extinct and how the 'papes had reported it each day...

...He loved Horace more than any cat he ever had, and he's had a cat since he was a child.

or about someone who looks like a child:

A figure like a child's, flat and tame.

or in theatre plays:

Papageno: 'My child, what should we now say?'
Pamina: 'The truth. That's what we will say.'

Were there no kids on the Earth in PKD's novel? Were they just so insignificant to the author that PKD decided not to mention them?

  • 12
    I mean, there are plenty of novels that just happen not to have children because of the context and themes. I'm guessing that children still exist in the fictional world of Murder on the Orient Express. Oct 31, 2017 at 14:44
  • 1
    @TenthJustice still, he doesn't even mention anyone's children afair.
    – P. Vowk
    Oct 31, 2017 at 14:52

4 Answers 4


Children were rare on earth in the novel due to the fact that most of the people who couldn't emigrate to Mars (or other off-world colonies) had been irradiated too much by radioactive fallout to produce healthy children (if at all).

One of the UN's qualifications for emigration to Mars was the lack of genetic degradation caused by radioactive fallout, which was common in the wake of World War Terminus. Children were uncommon on earth at the time in which the novel is set due to the fact that everyone who could emigrate had emigrated; many of those who remained behind were sterile (the novel implies that J.R. Isidore, being a radiation-addled "chickenhead" was such).

Of course, there were some people who were not eligible for emigration for other reasons, or who simply refused to emigrate; Deckard himself wore a lead codpiece, implying he was still fertile and trying to remain so. Given the desolate nature of post-WWT earth, however, it seems that the drive to bring more people into the world was low.

Keep in mind also that, on earth, at least, animals - real or artificial, and in particular, the rediscovery of still-extant species - was more of a trend/driving force for those left behind on earth.

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    Despite his lead codpiece the dust — undoubtedly — filtered in and at him, brought him daily, so long as he failed to emigrate, its little load of befouling filth. So far, medical checkups taken monthly confirmed him as a regular: a man who could reproduce within the tolerances set by law. Any month, however, the exam by the San Francisco Police Department doctors could reveal otherwise. Continually, new specials came into existence, created out of regulars by the omnipresent dust.
    – Valorum
    Oct 31, 2017 at 21:35

As a supplement to @Vanguard3000's answer, it seems likely that the Klugmans had children (or at least one child) before they immigrated to Mars (bold added):

‘Let’s hear from Mrs Maggie Klugman,’ the TV announcer suggested to John Isadore, who wanted only to know the time. ‘A recent immigrant to Mars, Mrs Klugman in a[n] interview taped live in New New York had this to say. Mrs Klugman, how would you contrast your life back on contaminated Earth with your new life here in a world rich with every imaginable possibility?’ A pause, and then a tired, dry, middle-aged, female voice said, ‘I think what I and my family of three noticed most was the dignity.’ ‘The dignity, Mrs Klugman?’ the announcer asker. ‘Yes,’ Mrs Klugman, now of New New York, Mars, said. ‘It's a hard thing to explain. Having a servant you can depend on in these troubled times…. I find it reassuring.’

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Chapter 2.

The phrase ‘I and my family of three’ suggests a child or children¹ (although it's possible the additional family members could be elderly parents), and if they are recent immigrants to Mars then it's likely that the child or children were born before departure.²

¹ The phrasing is a bit ambiguous. If she's including herself in the three, then that could just be Mrs and Mr Klugman and one child.

² Or possibly on the ship, but then it would just be Mr and Mrs Klugman who'd notice a difference between living on Earth compared to Mars.


The clearest reference to children being on earth is at the museum in Chapter 12:

Many people had turned out for the exhibit, including a grammar school class; the shrill voice of the teacher penetrated all the rooms comprising the exhibit, and Rick thought, That's what you'd expect an andy to sound — and look — like.


Given the severity of the situation that is hinted at there are none on Earth, there will be on the off-world colonies but Earth is too messed up that and the size and quality of the remnant population suggest that breeding is not a thing on Earth, and that the current generation will be the last.

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