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A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
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A Scanner Darkly (1977)

by Philip K. Dick

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,87170949 (4.02)114
Recently added byjamesi775, smichaelwilson, private library, valdanylchuk, gpartha, nzhunt, addamour, philAbrams
Legacy LibrariesTerence Kemp McKenna
  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 (65)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  Slovak (1)  German (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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 |
3.5 stars

Dick always did have a fascination for the workings of the mind, whether perceiving "reality" (We Can Remember It for You Wholesale, the basis for Total Recall) or identity (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep/Blade Runner). This book combines the two topics in a story where many things are not what they seem.

From the back cover: "Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug called Substance D. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. To do so, he has taken on the identity of a drug dealer named Bob Arctor. And since Substance D--which Arctor takes in mammoth doses--gradually splits the user's brain into two distinct, combative entities, Fred doesn't realize that he is narcing on himself."

Dick writes with authority about an addict's mind, lifestyle, and deterioration; as he describes in the afterword, he was one himself. That, to me, is the book's primary strength. Creating and maintaining a nebulous sense of menace is another.

Its weaknesses relate to the passing of time and its length. First, I can believe that the book was important at the time it was published, perhaps even groundbreaking. Given the almost 40 years of SF and scientific/tech advancements since then, though, it comes off a bit flat. I wish I had read this before reading similar novels or seeing movies like Total Recall or The Matrix, among others.

Second, it's inherently less interesting to watch or read about other peoples' highs/trips rather than live one yourself--a little "dude, that's deep, man" dialog goes a long, LONG way. I think the book would have done better as a tight, kickass novelette or novella. It'll be interesting to see whether my opinion changes after seeing the film of the novel. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
Favorite quotes:
- "Activity does not necessarily mean life. Quasars are active. And a monk meditating is not inanimate."
- "Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment."
- "There is no moral in this novel; it is not the bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were."

First off, the book had some really interesting plot devices. It was the first book I've seen where you lost track of who exactly the book was following, but not via bad writing, but through the excellent weaving of perspectives. It also served as a good commentary on the war on drugs, without being too preachy. The message could have been a bit preachy to those that are more for the 'war', but as one that's mildly opposed to it, it serves his argument well. I took that while he believes the war on drugs is heavily pushed-forward by those trying to end it, the consequences that are suffered by the users are much their own doing, regardless of the severity of said consequences.

With that said, the book moved very slow. That could have been because the life of a drug-addict is very slow, or just because he didn't happen to grab my attention like he did in [b:Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep|7082|Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?|Philip K. Dick|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327865673s/7082.jpg|830939]; no one can really say which one it is. Either way, the book serves as a good means of presenting the reader with interesting perspectives, but not something that is altogether engrossing or makes for a 'must-read' book.
( )
  michplunkett | Jul 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (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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Epigraph
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

» see all 8 descriptions

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