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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

A Scanner Darkly (1977)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,94972927 (4.01)117
  1. 10
    Rubicon Harvest by C. W. Kesting (Aeryion)
    Aeryion: The world of Rubicon Harvest seems to be a mixed homage to both Scanner Darkly and A Clockwork Orange in the way the sub-culture of designer drugs are used and abused and how their importance interplay with the expression of self and the experience of perception on reality. The synthetic neurocotic Symphony makes Substance D look like Tic-Tacs. Rubicon Harvest deserves it's place among the medicated plots of these other great postmodern works of spec-fiction!… (more)

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English (67)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Slovak (1)  German (1)  All languages (72)
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
First half is quite well written and shows drug culture with empathy, honesty and humour. The second part of the book does not deliver what the first sets out to do, nor what the author claims in the afterword he wanted to achieve. ( )
  StigE | Sep 15, 2015 |

I had forgotten how raw and tragic this book is, with Dick's classic themes of confused identity and paranois merging in the story of the disintegration of Bob Arctor / Fred in the California drugs scene of the mid 1970s. The central section, when the viewpoint character is made to spy on himself, is particularly effective.

However, it's noticeable that all women characters, I think without exception, are referred to in terms of their beddability and breast size. Of course, Bob Arctor is almost the epitome of an unreliable narrator, and his semi-girlfriend Donna is almost the only main character with any common sense left; but even so, the book's unremitting sexism is pretty grating (and must surely have been a bit off even in the 1970s).

Still, the core prediction of the book, that 1994 would see the war on drugs still being waged and lost, only with superior technology and occasional state collusion, turns out to have been entirely true; twenty years on from 1994, and almost twice that from the time the book was written, we haven't learned much. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 12, 2015 |
A real good insight into the crazed minds of drug addicts mixed with the work of an undercover narc agent, with conversations that have substance even when they seem to be going nowhere. There's also a movie that is great for using textual conversations extracted from the book almost everywhere, that's also a good option.

A great book by the genius Philip K. Dick, a man of his time with roots in the past and ahead of his time. I'm aware of the contradictions in last line, but that is how I perceive him by his works. I'm really glad I still have a lot to read from this fabulous author. ( )
  gedece | Jul 27, 2015 |
Evidently, P.K. Dick had a bad time on drugs. Or else he wants us to think he did. Or else the drugs made him think he did by destroying his good memories of his drug experiences. As a writer, he could have written them down so he'd remember but that could be used as evidence against him. Though he could claim it was fiction.
And so on. . . ( )
  Gimley_Farb | Jul 6, 2015 |
This one started out seemingly normal and just went more and more off the rails as the story progressed. At times, I was really just sucked into the narrative and was jolted back to reality. Gritty and gripping! ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 67 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip K. Dickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgdorf, Karl-UlrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gasser, ChristianAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ochagavia, CarlosCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Webb, TrevorCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Once a guy stood all day shaking bugs from his hair.
Era uma vez um tipo que passava todo o dia a catar piolhos. O médico disse-lhe que não tinha piolhos.
Robert Arctor halted. Stared at them, at the straights in their fat suits, their fat ties, their fat shoes, and he thought, Substance D can't destroy their brains; they have none.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679736654, Paperback)

Mind- and reality-bending drugs factor again and again in Philip K. Dick's hugely influential SF stories. A Scanner Darkly cuts closest to the bone, drawing on Dick's own experience with illicit chemicals and on his many friends who died from drug abuse. Nevertheless, it's blackly farcical, full of comic-surreal conversations between people whose synapses are partly fried, sudden flights of paranoid logic, and bad trips like the one whose victim spends a subjective eternity having all his sins read to him, in shifts, by compound-eyed aliens. (It takes 11,000 years of this to reach the time when as a boy he discovered masturbation.) The antihero Bob Arctor is forced by his double life into warring double personalities: as futuristic narcotics agent "Fred," face blurred by a high-tech scrambler, he must spy on and entrap suspected drug dealer Bob Arctor. His disintegration under the influence of the insidious Substance D is genuine tragicomedy. For Arctor there's no way off the addict's downward escalator, but what awaits at the bottom is a kind of redemption--there are more wheels within wheels than we suspected, and his life is not entirely wasted. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:18 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A drug dealer of the future periodically moves away from his spaced-out world to become an informer for narcotics agents until he becomes unable to separate his two personalities.

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