Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human (1995) is a novel by K. W. Jeter, and a continuation of both the film Blade Runner and the novel upon which it was based, which was Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
After the events shown in the movie, Deckard has retired to an isolated shack outside the city. He has stolen the replicant Rachael in a Tyrell transport container, which slows down the replicant aging process to prevent lengthy transportation counting against their four-year lifespan, only releasing her for brief intervals.
Deckard is approached by a woman identical to Rachael, who explains she is Sarah Tyrell, human niece of Eldon Tyrell, heiress to the entire Tyrell Corporation and the human template (templant) for the Rachael replicant.
Sarah asks Deckard to hunt down the "missing" sixth replicant, as mentioned by Bryant in the movie. She explains this was part of a conspiracy against Tyrell - Bryant had removed the data on the sixth replicant from the files. The U.N. organiser of the colonisation program had forced Tyrell to make replicants more human - and thus the U.N. are truly responsible for the replicant rebellion. The U.N. and the police are attempting to shift the blame to Tyrell, gaining public support to destroy the corporation, and part of the plan involves arranging the deaths of the Blade Runners, so that the public believe that their last line of defence has failed.
Deckard breaks into the police headquarters, but finds Bryant has been replaced by a "persynth" simulation, derived from archives of his behaviour and that the real Bryant is dead. Deckard flees to a safe-house for Blade Runners, where he is attacked by a half-completed replicant Pris. Sebastian, the engineer from the original film, is now hiding out in the building and has attempted to rebuild her. After stopping the attack, he and Deckard discuss Eldon Tyrell's death.
Meanwhile, Dave Holden - the injured Blade Runner shot by the Leon replicant at the start of the original movie - is kidnapped from hospital by a man claiming to be the Roy Batty templant, who has been hired as a mercenary to hunt down the sixth replicant. He arranges for Holden to be given organ implants to keep him alive. He also claims that replicants had always been used to supervise and control other replicants, and thus all Blade Runners - including Holden - are replicants.
Batty believes that Deckard is the sixth replicant and they break into Deckard's apartment. Holden incapacitates Batty and travels to the safe-house to try and convince Deckard to team up with him, but Deckard refuses and Holden leaves. A few moments later, Sarah Tyrell arrives at the safe-house, shoots the incomplete Pris, and demands that Deckard leave with her as Sebastian breaks down in tears. Meanwhile, her guards remove the transport container from Deckard's shack.
Outside the safe-house, Holden has been watching from his spinner. He identified Sarah from her spinner's records and, having heard the gunshot, assumed that Sarah shot Deckard or vice versa; when he sees them both leave, he wrongly reasons that one of them shot Sebastian because he - being a replicant engineer - had discovered that Deckard was the replicant. With his organ implants failing, Holden is forced to release Batty to aid him.
Sarah takes Deckard back to the Tyrell building, where he is released. Deckard returns to the safe-house where Holden and Batty are already waiting; they both attack Deckard. During the fight, Batty jumps over a gap too wide for a normal human, leading Deckard to claim that Batty must be the sixth replicant. Holden overhears the conversation, and shoots Batty.
Deckard refuses to confirm or deny Holden's belief that Batty was the replicant, and returns to Tyrell where he finds what he initially believes to be a sleeping Sarah. He is about to shoot her when Sarah's face appears on a video screen, telling him that the sleeping woman is the replicant Rachael. Deckard states that there is no sixth replicant and that Sarah is the one behind the conspiracy to destroy Tyrell. Sarah confirms this: an act of vengeance against her uncle Eldon, who had the Rachael replicant made, then loved the replicant while ignoring her. The report that no blade runner could find the sixth replicant causes the U.N. to trigger explosive devices planted in the building. Deckard flees with Rachael, and they are rescued by Holden.
Deckard and Rachael use assumed identities to leave for an off-world colony, while Holden, still unsure if he is a replicant or not, rejoins the police force. In the course of his work, he visits Deckard's old shack, and finds the transport capsule still there, but deactivated, and with Rachael dead inside - the "Sarah" on the video screen at Tyrell was a persynth, and the woman lying sprawled on the bed, whom Deckard rescued, was the real Sarah. Holden is left wondering whether Deckard was unaware of this, or if he knew, but played along because he also got what he wanted.
Links to Blade Runner film:
- Deckard, Pris, Sebastian, Leon, Batty and Holden all appeared in Blade Runner.
- Many of the parts of the "conspiracy" are based on errors or plot holes identified by fans of the original 1982 version of the movie, such as Leon's ability to bring a gun into the Tyrell building or the reference to the sixth replicant.
- The etymology of the term "Blade Runner" is revealed to come from the German phrase bleib ruhig, meaning "remain calm". It was supposedly developed by the Tyrell Corporation to prevent news about replicants malfunctioning.
Contradictions to the Blade Runner film:
- Sebastian was stated as being dead in the movie, yet he is alive in The Edge of Human.
- Pris was clearly stated as being a replicant in both the movie and the original novel, yet The Edge of Human claims she was human.
- Pris was clearly destroyed by Deckard in the movie. Sebastian's ability to bring Pris back to life as a replicant introduces numerous problems: the book implies that Sebastian somehow was able to do this without realising that her original body was human. It is likewise unclear why Deckard would have left her, or any suspected replicant he retired, in a state from which they could be repaired.
- "The Final Cut" of Blade Runner removed the reference of a surviving sixth replicant, as it was normally considered a leftover from an early script.