A Scanner Darkly [Graphic Novel]
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A Scanner Darkly [Graphic Novel]

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  317 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A haunting graphic version of one of Philip K. Dick's most popular and best-selling novels.

Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug Substance D, which he also takes in massive quantities. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. What Fred doesn't know is that Substance D gradually splits the user's brain into two distinct, combative e...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published July 4th 2006 by Pantheon (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Jan 19, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of the movie or the book
Recommended to Carol. [All cynic, all the time] by: I received it completely by accident
Shelves: bizarro, male-lead

I gave this a go after reading the full-length novel. It provided some insight into the book, distilling some of the major points down to a few scenes. I found myself wondering if I'd enjoy watching the movie, especially with casting including Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson, favorite Hollywood poster-boys for drug use (I can't speak to whether Keanu does, he just acts like it). (view spoiler)...more
Thom Foolery
I find myself agreeing and disagreeing in roughly equal measure with this critical review of the graphic novel adaptation of the cinematic adaptation of Philip K. Dick's autobiographical, paranoid druggie classic. I agree that the comic "has a very artificial and lifeless feel" in part because it hasn't really been adapted to the comics/graphic novel/sequential art medium; instead, it looks as if the film stills have simply been cut-and-pasted into a book template and left at that. I do think th...more
Becky Frost
You know, I loved when the guy committed suicide and all of his sins were read to him. That part really pleased me.

Ok onto the review of the book now. I found the artwork makes more sense when you read the ending since it is about how reality just doesn't seem like reality. I loved way the book was physically structured as well in the pages being horizontally formatted. The surprise ending inside the surprise ending got me and I was not really seeing it coming. Yes, I kinda guessed at Hank's id...more
I was expecting more

Published in 2006 by Pantheon

I may be living in a box because I had not heard of this book or the movie before I found the graphic novel. When I saw it was based on a Philip K. Dick book I was hopeful - after all, he is the author of such thought-inducing works as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (A.K.A. Blade Runner ) and he is the inspiration for The Minority Report and Total Recall (Not that Total Recall is as deep as the other two, but there are some themes that th...more
Paul Darcy
A graphic novel published in 2006 and written for the screen by Richard Linklater and based on the novel by Philip K. Dick.

This graphic novel is a bit different. And not just because it is based on Philip K. Dick, which by default automatically makes it “different”, but because it captures the film pictures and puts bubbles in for the dialogue and descriptions.

Pretty slick looking actually with nice clear graphics and sharp images, but even so you may not know what the heck is actually going on....more
William Parham
Feb 10, 2010 William Parham rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: PKD fans, espescially people that liked the film adaptation of <u>A Scanner Darkly</u>

This graphic novel is adapted from the recent film adaptation of the novel by Philip K. Dick. It is not well done, and unless you are a huge fan of the movie I can see very little reason for someone to read this book. One of the main things that makes PKD's book so powerful is that you don't know the secret behind everything until very late in the story. In this graphic novelization the secret's out within the first few pages. That doesn't mean that there is no reason to continue reading. The fi...more
Byron  'Giggsy' Paul
Feb 19, 2012 Byron 'Giggsy' Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of dystopias, drug culture, conspiracies, paranoia, sci-fi comics
Recommended to Byron 'Giggsy' by: VALIS
This is pretty good in my opinion, probably close to 5-star, but PKD's book is better, and then since the graphic novel is based off the movie images and script, it falls a little short of actually watching Linklater's movie version.

If you like graphic novels and aren't familiar with PKD or the movie, I'd assume this would still be a good choice and enjoyable, and rank as a high quality graphic novel. I know some people are skeptical of the movie presented in rotoscope form, but I recommend it f...more
Victory Wong
Although a graphic novel I did not read it but rather listened to it on audio. It'd pretty cool, made in the 70s some of the references of technology of course are woefully out of date but it's still interesting even if they say "way out" and "dig it".

The plot is an undercover narc agent starts losing his mind, or is it the drugs, or is it some sort of strange alternative reality?

A bit trippy to listen to it, the further he goes into this world, best no to listen/read this on anything. :)

I wat...more
Leben Norrie
A really good depiction almost taken frame-for-frame from the movie, which was fantastic. Definitely one of the best novel-to-film adaptations to date.
Tina Rae
Oct 17, 2010 Tina Rae rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sci-Fi fans
Well, I actually would've much rather read this as an actual novel as opposed to the graphic novel version (since I'm actually a terrible graphic novel reader. Something about getting lost in the order of the bubbles and boxes...) but since I could only find this version, I read it. I enjoyed it immensely. It's a very, very good story one that is well written and full of many plot twists and immense potential. But then again, I'm a huge Sci-Fi nerd (or is geek more appropriate here?) so I will p...more
Moira Russell
This was a total impulse buy, as I spotted it in Half Price Books for six bucks. I strenuously avoided the movie, since it's one of my favourite novels ever, as well as by one of my favourite authors. This has me thinking I'll check it out -- the adapters were fairly faithful to both the mood and the plot of the source and I'd love to see Downey as the horrible Barris, even if they did make Donna/Winona blonde wtf. The screen adaptation does look like it totally misses on Dick's melancholy, humo...more
Robert Barker
This is a very personal story with a science fiction edge to it. The scifi aspects were put in by PKD because he didn't think anyone would want to read it otherwise. The core of the story is about drug abuse and the world of people that have taken way too many drugs, that have destroyed their lives and their health. This isn't just a made up story. I am fairly certain that some of these paranoid crazy conversations did take place between Dick and his friends. It is a haunting story, but it was o...more
A Scanner Darkly fits all the mind-shredding tropes Philip K. Dick is known for. It's paranoid, surreal, and plays with the idea of identity as a fluid thing. Many of Dick's ideas have been siphoned into film like The Matrix, Waking Life, Stranger Than Fiction, and Adaptation. His stories have been adapted directly in Blade Runner, Paycheck and Total Recall.

This book is made even more layered than the original story due to the fact it is a "graphic novel" using frames from the animated Richard L...more
Jun 23, 2007 HeavyReader rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of the origninal books and fans of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Recommended to HeavyReader by: Cassidy
My partner sent me this book, so I was super excited to read it. I haven't read the orignal Philip K. Dick novel, so this was a whole new experience for me.

The art is amazing, each frame "composed entirely from stills from the movie" (or so the back cover says). The story is confusing in an appealing way. I'm not sure how I feel about the ending.

Reading this graphic novel has made me want to both read the orignial novel and see the movie (even though it stars Keanu Reeves, the most wooden leadin...more
Jul 04, 2014 Olga marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: graphic-novel
I'm 53 pages in, and I don't give a crap what happens to any of the characters or the plot or anything. I just don't care.
The fluid animation of the movie version doesn't translate as well to the printed page. At times, unfortunately, the story comes to a grinding halt as the three "Substance D" addicts patter back and forth about complete nonsense. It reminded me of a transcription of the type of brain-dead conversation I overhear on a near daily basis among the young men who like to loiter around the library. Not exactly thrilling reading.

Would have been more enjoyable with a more merciless editor.
Phillip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly, is an amazingly dystopic science fiction novel that everyone should read. His use language and descriptions of southern California are a real treat especially if you happen to have ever lived there. The story follows Bob Arctor, who loses himself to Substance D, a drug that is taking over the surrounding communities. The book questions reality, identity and the role substances play in our society and interactions with other people.

Ann Klefstad
This is a pretty lovely styling of Phil Dick's ragged tale; the tale itself has a tragic hilarity, dragged up as it was from Dick's own drugged up life and poured into a typewriter at warped speed driven by bennies.

Maybe only 3 stars because 1. Dick never had the time to do it right . . . but if he had, he maybe wouldn't have done it at all. This is just fate but it makes ragged prose. and 2. buffing the surface of this tragic artifact somehow obscures it. I think.
don't have a clue as to why it was called a graphic novel instead of a comic (?).. the only different i noticed is that the graphic novel is on a 3D form... nothing else..
anyway.. after finish with this A Scanner Darkly, i don't think i like the story... i prefer to have it as a novel (no picture).. the reason i read it from the first place coz Keanu Reeves "cast" one of the actor.. he..he..he..
All in all, not on my recomendation book to read.
Edwin Arnaudin
Just remembered that I had read this back in Summer '06, right before the excellent film adaptation (from which this "graphic novel" takes its content in the form of dolled up storyboards). Every time I see the name "Philip K. Dick," I want to read his work, but this is as far as I've gotten. It's a fascinating story and if you liked the film, you'll like the book, and vice versa, since it's watching itself just like protagonist Bob Arctor.
Sci-Fi that brings to reality of drug abuse and the horrors it brings in long abuse. I cannot say that this book will change your mind about such abuses. But I learned a little something that I've learned before but it is always good to remind myself of those dangers. The best part is that is a good sci-fi story that does not make the mistake of being preachy. I hate those stories, that drag you down by being holier than thou.
The first seven discs of this book were very good. The last disc was not so great. The real consequences of heavy drug use are layed out and described a little too well. This book made me very uncomfortable. The ending was a little anti-climactic, but it is still worth a read. A better ending would have earned this an 8.
In the interest of disclosure, I have to say that I have not read the original novel or seen the film yet. However, I still liked this one. I also borrowed it from my local public library branch.

See my note on it in my blog here:

Graphic novels made of stills from the movie should be made more often. I've seen this movie but this version of it actually made more sense. It's such a strange story that it was nice to have some "voiceover" explanation at the start of scenes. Really enjoyed reading this.
Mike Rossmassler
I love the novel, but my main problem with the movie and this direct adaptation was the fact that they explicitly link Donna with Frank. I loved that subtlety in the novel, and the idea that Bob Arctor/Fred might actually fail in his task to uncover the source of SD
This graphic novel would probably have made more sense if I had read the original novel or seen the movie. I had difficulty telling some of the characters apart, but once I figured it out, I really enjoyed the trippy dialogue and twist at the end.
I don't really know if you can call this a graphic novel because it's just stills from the rotoscoped movie, but it's still amazing. I loved the novel, and I loved the movie, and now I love the graphic novel!
Cupof Tea
I read this on "Wellness Day" a few years back at the Millennium Library - definitely better than the movie, since I couldn't watch the movie, but still wanted to know the whole story :)
Jonathan Karmel
I didn't see the movie, but apparently they took stills from the movie and then colorized them to make this into a graphic novel. I really liked the effect.
Russ Olsen
Can't quite decide how I feel about this book. The
graphic novel format makes Dick's work even stranger,
which is no mean accomplishment.

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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. He briefly attended the University of California, but dropped out before completing any classes. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memo...more
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