This is Philip K's hyper-paranoia book. Of course, all of his books to some degree rely heavily on knowing the difference between "reality" and the totally subjective; but only in A Scanner Darkly do the two fluctuate so. Our main character(s)' reality switches before our eyes. In this book, you can see the brilliance that eventually lead to Philip K's madness, but you can also see his glaring insight into people and his terrific sense of humor. The first 150 pages of this book had me laughing out loud in a way I haven't done since Catch 22. The only fault of A Scanner Darkly may actually be intentional. As the life of Bob Arctor disintigrates into incomprehensibility, so does the book. You can tell Philip K. has something important to say in the last two chapters, but it's difficult to tell on a single reading what it may be. My suggestion: only read this book if you are willing to re-read the end and willing to spend the next year reading everything else PKD wrote. The man is just worth it.
We're coming into the home stretch, folks. You and I have gone through some of Philip K. Dick's best work, such as "Martian Time-Slip" and "Dr. Bloodmoney" and "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch ". There are only a few PKD novels left, and I've saved some of the best for last. Of "A Scanner Darkly", for instance, the author said "I believe it is a masterpiece. I believe it is the only masterpiece I will ever write." Wow. In old usage, a "masterpiece" was a piece of work … more
Jerry Fabin is covered in aphids. Or at least he thinks so, spending most of his time in the shower. His friend Charles Freck tries to help, but eventually must take Jerry to New-Path, a center to help addicts of Substance D (known as Death) come off the drug and adjust to life without intoxicants. Charles catches up with Donna Hawthorne, Bob Arctor's supposed girlfriend/dealer, scores some Substance D and falls in with Bob's crowd. Bob Arctor lives with two roommates, Barris … more
From Publishers Weekly America in the near future has lost the war against drugs. Though the government tries to protect the upper class, the system is infested with undercover cops like Fred, who regularly ingests the popular Substance D as part of his ruse. The drug has caused Fred to develop a split personality, of which he is not aware; his alter ego is Bob, a drug dealer. Fred's superiors then set up a hidden holographic camera in his home as part of a sting operation against Bob. Though he appears on camera as Bob, none of Fred's co-workers catch on: since Fred, like all undercover police, wears a scramble suit that constantly changes his appearance, his colleagues don't know what he looks like. The camera in Fred/Bob's apartment reveals that Bob's intimates regularly betray one another for the chance to score more drugs. Even Donna, a young dealer whom Bob/Fred loves, prefers the drug to human contact. Originally published in 1977, the out-of-print novel comes frighteningly close to capturing the U.S. in 1991, in terms of the drug crisis and the relationships between the sexes. But the unrelenting scenes among the addicts make it a grueling read. Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Mind- and reality-bending drugs factor again and again in Philip K. Dick's hugely influential SF stories.A Scanner Darklycuts closest to the bone, drawing on Dick's own experience with illicit chemicals and on his many friends who died from drug abuse....