Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Scanner Darkly (book review)

Book review from The Movie Snob

A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K. Dick. This is the last selection in the Library of America volume Five Novels of the 1960s & 70s. This particular novel was first published in 1977, and it was made into a movie by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused) in 2006. The sci-fi elements are really fairly limited. Basically, it's about an undercover narcotics police officer who is himself an addict. Sometimes he goes to HQ to report, in a high-tech disguise called a "scramble suit," so that even his superiors don't know which of the addicts he is reporting on he actually is. The book's strength is its depiction of drug addiction and the psychoses and paranoia experienced by the addicts. Apparently it is based on some of Dick's own personal experiences (an "author's note" at the end of the novel says so), which I suppose is why the novel comes across as so believable. Definitely worth a read.


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