A Scanner Darkly
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A Scanner Darkly

By (author) Philip K. Dick

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A brilliant sci-fi novel from one of the last century's most influential pop culture figures Substance D - otherwise known as Death - is the most dangerous drug ever to find its way on to the black market. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, leading first to disorentation and then to complete and irreversible brain damage. Bob Arctor, undercover narcotics agent, is trying to find a lead to the source of supply, but to pass as an addict he must become a user, and soon, without knowing what is happening to him, he is as dependent as any of the addicts he is monitoring.

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  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 14mm | 222.26g
  • 14 Oct 1999
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Gollancz
  • London
  • English
  • Diagrams 3
  • 1857988477
  • 9781857988475
  • 11,398

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Author Information

Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was born in Chicago but lived in California for most of his life. He went to college at Berkeley for a year, ran a record store and had his own classical music show on a local radio station. He published his first short story, 'Beyond Lies the Wub' in 1952. Among his many fine novels are The Man in the High Castle, Time Out of Joint, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.

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Review text

A marrow-freezing morality play set in a 1994 California. The central fact of life is drugs: every hard drug in the current lexicon plus Substance D - "Death" to its friends - which progressively impairs coordination between the brain's two hemispheres. The hero is an addict, a nark engaged in surreptitious electronic "scanning" of himself and friends, and - it slowly becomes clear - a patsy in some dreadful hidden game. Dick has bitten off an awful lot here. Much of the straightforward narration is theatrically bad, yet dialogue and internal monologue carry a cruel (and cruelly funny) conviction. And the larger plot is brilliantly hinged upon a consciousness split by two insanities: the Kafkaesque charade of secret self-surveillance and the terrible advance of irreversible brain damage. Flawed, almost too grim to take, but stunningly realized. (Kirkus Reviews)

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