Darwin8u's Reviews > A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2014, aere-perennius, scifi, fiction, american

Be happy NOW, for tomorrow I will be writing.
Take the cash and let the credit GO
I'll write MY review tomorrow.
Let US all be happy.
And play AGAIN.



So, I wrote a review I was really proud of today during lunch. Four or five paragraphs. I liked it a lot. So, I was rather disheartened when my computer froze and I had to do a hard-boot to unfreeze it. Lost everything but the vague outlines of what I wrote. Even those vague outlines seem difficult to grasp right now. I'm kinda demoralized. Alas, I can probably make some bridge to how THIS loss (MY loss) of data...this unrecoverable review...this remorse over the ebbs of life dovetails quite nicely with some of the themes of A Scanner Darkly. But right now I just don't care. I'm still pissed about the loss and have a hard time seeing through the glass at all.

So, I'm going to give review resurrection a shot:

'A Scanner Darkly' fits well on the addiction/drug/alcoholism as literature shelf. It needs no subsidy to sit next to Infinite Jest, Tender Is the Night, Under the Volcano, Less Than Zero, Naked Lunch, On the Road and the rest. This list is basically unending.

It seems like all novels about drug abuse, alcohol addiction, etc.., almost inevitably become a form of science fiction. They surf those disjointed, dream-like spaces -- seducing man from the first time he got buzzed from eating, drinking, or smoking something deliriant. These dope trips aren't rational, they aren't lucid, etc., but they still have a certain narrative coherence. It is like science fiction was created (in the beginning) by some belladonna-infused deity and formed into a perfect literary template to explain/capture all the paranoia and weirdness of the trips highs and lows.

It is impossible to read a novel about addiction without recognizing the author's fingerprints all over it. These novels are all memoirs of sorts. Their pages hold more truth than the Library of Congress. They are funky road trips through hell and PKD is the perfect acid artist for this vicious trip.


As I read 'A Scanner Darkly', I was haunted by the open wounds in the dialogue, the festering beauty of his prose. These weren't scenes created ex nihilo. These pages all resonate like some haunted Totentanz. They chill like a Vanitas dream you can't quite escape. I can't remember what I wrote. The words, the melody, even the beat of what was once alive is now dead... and waiting for a trippy resurrection.
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Quotes Darwin8u Liked

Philip K. Dick
“Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then.”
Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

Reading Progress

August 28, 2013 – Shelved
August 28, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
January 29, 2014 – Started Reading
January 29, 2014 –
page 65
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014
January 30, 2014 – Shelved as: aere-perennius
January 30, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 27, 2018 – Shelved as: scifi
January 27, 2018 – Shelved as: fiction
January 27, 2018 – Shelved as: american

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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James I saw the movie before reading the book. I thought it was pretty well done all in all.

Darwin8u I volunteered for a few months at a half-way house, spent a few hours at a VA psych ward, and have some close, close friends who have some major substance addictions (shoo doesn't now) and was amazed at just how many of my small experiences (all from the periphery) that PKD captures. An amazing book on addiction, paranoia, and the police state. He really gets the absurd itch and despereate smell of it all.

message 3: by Ted (new)

Ted Not sure I agree with the SF bit; but I sure like the language and the mood of the review. (I'm pretty sure it makes sense to have disagreements with something you like? I dunno.)

Darwin8u I can always fallback on the excuse that my previous review was more persuasive.

message 5: by Ted (new)

Ted Darwin8u wrote: "I can always fallback on the excuse that my previous review was more persuasive."

You mean the one lost. Yes indeed!

Boy that is a real bummer. I think it's happened to most everyone, in one way or another. I try to put everything of any length beyond a paragraph in a word doc before transferring it to GR; but it sounds like that was exactly what you were doing when your computer froze. bad bad bad I'm very sympathetic, Darwin..

Nevertheless, a fine piece.

message 6: by Steve (new)

Steve Frozen computers truly suck! Nice rebound review, though.

Michael Finocchiaro I loved both Linkletter animated films, A Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly (I have both on DVD), but never read the book for the latter. This review convinced me that I must do so!

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