A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly

Book - 2011
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Set in suburban Orange County, California in a future where America has lost the war on drugs. When one reluctant undercover cop is ordered to start spying on his friends, he is launched on a paranoid journey into the absurd, where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode.
Publisher: Boston : Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
Edition: First Mariner Books edition
ISBN: 9780547572178
Branch Call Number: SCI-FIC DICK 2011
Characteristics: 289 pages ; 21 cm


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Basis of the 2006 film of the same name.

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Aug 08, 2017

This book must have cult status by now. And still controversial, I guess. Plot is undercover cops, going still deeper in the pusher milieu, in the hope of catching the big fish - someone who'll be worth the intense surveillance and also the sacrifices of the people involved on both sides. Of course the obscure persons behind the drug laws and and the the big fish drug merchants are the same. Philip K. Dick knows what he's talking about, he saw a lot of his friends go under in that maelstrom. Science fiction? Well the names of the drugs are new and the surveillance equipment is holographic, that's the sci fi setting. I should like to label this wonderful novel as social realism, really.

Jun 05, 2017

A really good depiction almost taken frame-for-frame from the movie, which was fantastic. Definitely one of the best novel-to-film adaptations to date.

Mar 07, 2017

One of Philip K. Dicks most classic stories, about an undercover cop who begins narcing on himself. It's an affecting look at the drug culture from the 1970's, but which still has strong parallels to what is going on now.

Aug 19, 2016

One of Philip K. Dick's best novels- a futuristic look at an undercover narcotics officer. Very powerful book.

ChristchurchLib Nov 30, 2015

His identity obscured by a "scramble suit," which provides camouflage by making him a non-entity, drug dealer Bob Arctor leads a dangerous double life as Agent Fred, an undercover narcotics agent investigating the source of the illegal and highly addictive Substance D. During the course of the operation, Arctor gets hooked on the drug, which draws him ever deeper into a surreal underworld in which no one is quite what they seem. Originally published in 1968, A Scanner Darkly draws on author Philip K. Dick's own experiences to paint a stark, compelling picture of a futuristic society characterized by constant surveillance. Science fiction newsletter December 2015

Sep 02, 2014

A haunting tale of drug addiction. I like the depiction that while drugs were causing the characters psychosis the detox was almost worse. Another poignant reminder that the going up is never worth the coming down.

Felicia_Caro Apr 30, 2014

A great book that definitely gave me some headspace to feel at home in for a while. If anything, it's a beautifully drawn out story about sympathy.

Jul 27, 2013

Novel about drug use and it's deleterious effect. Written by an author embroiled in it's destructive effects. A well conceived and well written novel suitable for anyone old enough to understand it.

theorbys Jun 22, 2012

One of Dick's best. His protagonist is caught up in ever multiplying levels of ever more exacerbating, constricting, and conflicting realities. Dick wanted to, and brilliantly succeeded, in writing a novel (much of it autobiographical) about choosing a drug based life style, but his fundamental theme is hyperreality and, above all, the hyperreal self (ie ourselves, dasein). What makes Dick so compelling is that, unlike the French and Italian writers and theorists, he knew he was entirely caught up in it, and did not imagine himself some kind of observer, ironic or otherwise. But if he could not get out of it or solve it, he could write about it directly, precisely without irony or theory: therein lies his genius and art. The (then) recent, relentless, and pervasive emergence of what was at the time called "high tech" and the growth of sci fi combined to provide Dick, the perfect symbolic/metaphorical tools and the outlet, for his contribution to literature. And in fact and indeed he wrote through a scanner darkly.

daymakerdave Dec 16, 2010

This is one of those rare made-into-a-movie books that was a very faithful adaptation. The book was great, the movie might even be better. Robert Downy Jr. is amazing as the undercover agent who blurs the line between cop and criminal, drug buster and drug addict. Good stuff.


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daymakerdave Dec 16, 2010

daymakerdave thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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