A Scanner Darkly (Paperback)
This is one of my all time favorite books by one of the all time greats. I am always suggesting books by this cerebral SF giant. Whereas much of SF deals with grand galactic themes and romances a la Star Trek, Phillip K Dick prefers to delve far into the human psyche and the fear and paranoia of modern and future society. Sure, there are many robots, spaceships, and other genre tropes throughout his works, but it takes a backseat to his themes of identity, mental illness, what it means to be human, and the existence of reality. This is one of his most philosophical novels, and an absolute mind-bending experience, like most of his great works.— ben
“Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream.”—Roberto Bolaño
Bob Arctor is a junkie and a drug dealer, both using and selling the mind-altering Substance D. Fred is a law enforcement agent, tasked with bringing Bob down. It sounds like a standard case. The only problem is that Bob and Fred are the same person. Substance D doesn’t just alter the mind, it splits it in two, and neither side knows what the other is doing or that it even exists. Now, both sides are growing increasingly paranoid as Bob tries to evade Fred while Fred tries to evade his suspicious bosses.
In this award-winning novel, friends can become enemies, good trips can turn terrifying, and cops and criminals are two sides of the same coin. Dick is at turns caustically funny and somberly contemplative, fashioning a novel that is as unnerving as it is enthralling.
About the Author
Over a writing career that spanned three decades, PHILIP K. DICK (1928–1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film, notably Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall,Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.