A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly

by Philip K. Dick
4.4 69

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A Scanner Darkly 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Norbertino More than 1 year ago
Every day, we enter a world full of decisions. Some can be as simple as what to have for lunch, others can be as serious as purchasing a car or home. For undercover agent "Fred," aka Bob Arctor, the decisions he makes every day can determine life or death. The story takes place in Orange County, California in 1994, shortly after the new and highly addictive drug "Substance D" hits the streets. Substance D, or "Death" as it's known among users, is so addictive that, as said in the novel, "You're either on it...Or you haven't tried it." Arctor, along with other agents, work to infiltrate the lives of Substance D users, becoming friends with them and learning to be like them. Ultimately, the agents wish to find the dealers of Substance D, and find who is supplying them. Throughout the novel, Arctor deals with the conflicts between being a police officer and a user, always on edge of being exposed, but as Arctor abuses Substance D to further his undercover work, the walls of reality begin to crumble for him. He begins to forget who he is, and the boundaries between an officer and addict fade away, causing Arctor to question which he really is. For those searching for a novel about truth, fear, love, and a harsh dose of reality, A Scanner Darkly will be a novel you won't be able to set down.
seldombites More than 1 year ago
This book is a fascinating insight into the damage recreational drugs can do to our psyche. Set in an alternate history, there is a new drug on the market known as 'Substance D' or 'Death'. Prolonged use of this drug messes with the physical structure of the brain, leading to severe mental illness and, eventually, death. Even withdrawing from the drug doesn't reverse the effects, with many ex-users left as walking, talking vegetables. Our protagonist is an undercover police officer, who is forced to take the drug in the line of duty. Told from his point of view, the novel documents his slow descent into insanity. Being inside the mind of a user is unpleasant and often confusing. However, this is a book well worth reading.
theactuallisakim More than 1 year ago
I love all the stuff William Burroughs wrote about drugs, but this book takes the cake for showing you what it's like to be hooked on drugs that are gradually causing you to go insane. I won't reveal too much about myself, but let's just say, been there, done that... PKD obviously knew what he was writing about. Notice in the back, where he lists the damage done to his friends by drugs, there is a "Phil" who has suffered brain damage. Yup. Honesty is always the best medicine, especially when it comes to self-medication. Even if you have no interest in drugs, or, especially, if you still wave the 'just say no' flag and think there's nothing wrong with putting drug addicts into the same places as rapists, and murderers, this is definitely your book!
Mischief_Mayhem_Soap More than 1 year ago
Phil has been an inspiration. Salad in a bag, his idea. Well maybe not salad in a bag but the man revolutionized the way we view our own addictions and the multiple lives we lead. He teaches us how on persons trust can be another persons weapon. Arcter, donna, even Freck are characters that stick with you like a trusty blade waiting to be unsheathed and dug deep into the folds of our delicate psyche. Thank you Mister Dick for your elaborate interpretation of our future as users. T
Guest More than 1 year ago
The universe of A Scanner Darkly is teeming with brilliant imagery, hilarious dialogue, and unforgettable characters that capture drug culture to a tee. Although Philip K. Dick¿s story was written in memory of friends who have fallen victim to drug addiction, and is meant to serve as a warning to others, the novel is about much more than the negative sides of drug use. As we follow the life of Bob Arctor, an undercover narcotics agent who must assimilate into drug culture in order to find the source of the powerfully addictive Substance D, we are taken on a ride through one man¿s inner struggle, attempting to cope with his multiple identities, while simultaneously dealing with the brain-damage caused by his addiction to the drug. Dicks¿ inspired look at a future filled with government spying and out of control drug use is definitely one of the most creative and entertaining science fiction novels written to date.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fred is an undercover agent assigned to observe Bob Arctor, a drug user and possible dealer. Unbeknownst to his superiors, Fred is actually Arctor, so he ends up observing himself. Substance D, the narcotic Arctor ingests, causes the brain to literally split into two, so Fred and Bob each become their own separate personality and Fred becomes less and less aware that he is actually observing himself. Confused yet? It gets even more twisted as author PKD delves deeper into his usual theme of the nature of existence. A Scanner Darkly is more of an anti-drug novel dressed up in the trappings of the sci-fi genre. PKD dedicates the book to himself and many of his friends who either died or suffered permanent injury due to drug abuse. A Scanner Darkly could be Dick's finest effort, but it certainly earns him a place among the most important authors of the 20th century, science-fiction or no.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Some people would prefer Ubik, some might go for Flow My Tears..., and I have a friend whose ultimate Dick novel is The Transmigration of Timothy Archer. But this is my favourite PKD book. It's hardly science fiction at all, and not just because it's set in the early nineties, or thenabouts; it's an elegy for Sixties/early Seventies drug culture, focusing on the damage and the loss. The book is ridiculously funny, at times, such as the hapless attempt of one character to commit suicide by pill ingestion; he unwittingly swallows dozens of hallucinogens instead, and is forced to listen as a bug-eyed monster recites his sins to him for all eternity. The eerie Dickian paranoia is in full flow here, as Fred the narc carries out surveillance on himself (and as his own drug use gradually erases his identity to the point where he doesn't even realise that he's doing it). Sad, bitter, angry, outstanding.
sfjazzdude More than 1 year ago
I thorougly enjoyed this PKD classic. A provocative set up with a drug agent trying to bring down a potentially high level dealer. The twist - both characters are addicted to the same powerful drug, which has the disconcerting side effect of causing the two sides of your brain to operate independent of each other. Which causes the vcry unusual situation of the drug agent trying to bring himself down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book about a month ago and I must say I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was a little confused in a couple areas just because of how bizzare the story line is. This dude who goes by the name of Fred is a narc. His "real" name is Bob Arctor. But after all the heavy Substance Death he's been taking, he develops a split brain. He never realizes the great conspiracy behind this scourge of a drug. Slaves!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a genre sub combo i favor sample first
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Really great read, definitely a page turner. Can't recommend more
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This made an amazing movie, but it's an extraordinary novel -I would suggest both to anyone!
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