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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
This is a terrible book, filled to the brim with nothing but psychobabble. it is one long acid trip, a bad one! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Ally
The first PKD book I read was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the inspiration for the film Blade Runner. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jayson Vavrek
This book was very disjointed. It drags on and on and is filled with meaningless drug-addled content that doesn't further the story. The characters are flat and quickly forgotten. Read morePublished on July 9 2013 by Lindsey
There is just no comparison for this book. It so so human. It exemplifies the simple thoughts each human has on a daily basis and then takes it into a realm of drug use and... Read morePublished on May 21 2013 by Samantha K Krewulak
I thoroughly enjoyed this fictional drug sci-fi novel. I found it hard to put down until it was finished. Twist ending.Published on March 19 2013 by vp
This book is one of my all time favourites, I've read it over and over again.
The world described by M. Read more
This is not an SF novel. This is a story about Dick's drug-addicted friends and their sad fates. The book consists of a series of anecdotes and scenes that range from the absurdly... Read morePublished on April 19 2004 by Storm
Dick's tragic satire on drug enforcement skewers drug users, enforcement, treatment, and organized crime with equally scathing ferocity as cogs in an out-of-control system of... Read morePublished on Dec 24 2003 by Joseph M. Futrelle
I got this book from the library. I'll be forthcoming:
If you read it as a novel it's a horrid incorent horribly edited read. Read more