Philip K. Dick | Books & Literature » Fiction

A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly

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10 JUN 2019

Joanne McNeil

Why is this interesting? - The William Gibson Edition

A dystopian science fiction novel by Philip K. Dick that explores themes of identity, surveillance, drug use, and paranoia.

A Scanner Darkly is a semi-autobiographical novel of drug addiction set in a future American dystopia — and the basis for the Hugo Award finalist film starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey, Jr. 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. 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 dystopian future, friends can become enemies, good trips can turn terrifying, and cops and criminals are two sides of the same coin. Caustically funny and somberly contemplative, Dick fashions a novel that is as unnerving as it is enthralling.

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