Paul Giamatti does an excellent job bringing this book and it's characters to life. I would not have enjoyed the book as much without his ability to make you connect and feel involved with the characters.
I am a big fan of Philip K. Dick, but I really struggled at the beginning of the book. I found the large cast of characters introduced at the beginning without much plot development confusing. Once the book settled down on the character of Bob Arctor and his struggle I found it more enjoyable because I was able to connect to someone and their struggle. Unlike other PKD works, this book seemed very dated. Another review mentioned that this book felt like it was stuck in the 1980's and I concur, which is a bit strange for a "science fiction" writer. The ending of the book made the book and I am glad I stuck with it. Once I read the background on the book, I had a greater appreciation of the material. I rarely recommend reading the background of a novel before the novel itself, but this novel is so personal to such a great author, I think it is necessary to fully appreciate the autobiographical nature of the novel. All-in-all, this is not one of my favorite PKD stories, but it is a must read for any PKD fan.
I'm a software engineer working out of Toronto Canada. I enjoy science fiction but have started to drift into other areas.
Philip K Dick's stories are more frequently the source for feature films than those of any other SF writer. This is surprising when you consider that much of the dialogue in Dick's stories occur in the central character's head. In the case of "A Scanner Darkly", there are two central characters who just happen to inhabit the same body courtesy of a narcotic, appropriately known on the street as "Death". I have no idea how this will be handled in the feature film but the Audiobook is a definite treat (and trip) for the ears. The reading is clear with near-perfect pacing and the 'voices' of the individual characters are distinct.
This is another audiobook that I started listening to at work and ended up finishing on a vacation. If your already a Dick fan, this reading of the story is a worthwhile addition to your collection. If you're not, and are looking for something really different, this story will certainly fit the bill.
This is a great psychological novel. I wouldn't classify it as science fiction. I would classify it as a gonzo, drug, spaced out future fiction. Everything from the plot development to the character development was really great, I thought. One thing I don't understand is how they made a movie out of the plot of this book? It didn't really have alot of intensive action because the plot was psychological and thought driven, you are basically in the head of the characters as they go through drug induced phsychosis. I wonder how they will portray this on the silver screen, I suspect the movie will suck, but the audiobook was great. Oh yeah, Paul Giamatti did an excellent job as a narrator. He's not the greatest actor, but he may have a career as an audibook narrarator. His narraration is probably one of the reasons that I enjoyed the audiobook so much.
Philip K. Dick is one of my all-time favorite authors, although I've never felt this title is one of his best. Don't get me wrong, the story and characters are interesting, and there's the usual philosophical themes of divided reality and questioned identity that are common in PKD's work, but I suppose having never been a part of the drug-culture it just didn't resonate with me.
Enter: Paul Giamatti. I cannot imagine a better choice of narrator for this book. He infused each character with such distinct personality that I couldn't help being drawn into the story. I wish I could thank him for making it possible for me to enjoy this book from a new perspective.
Having lived through it, Dick nailed the 60s drug culture perfectly. I thought it was very funny and well written, love Dicks books.
Enough as been said about the actual book being good. I'd like to chime in that the production quality is great! The reader is good and the sound quality is great!
Paul Giamatti brings this story to life! You feel as if you are falling into the psychosis of the drugs along with Bob Arctor. You feel Fred being pulled more and more outside himself.
This book is definitely not the easiest to read. Philip K. Dick definitely wants you to pay close attention to the characters and the types of people they symbolize. The author's note at the end was absolutely fantastic, and was just as powerful (if not more so) as the message the story delivers.
The back cover blurb implies a sci-fi mystery/thriller, but there is no such plot to be found. The truth is that this is actually a rehab memoir dressed unconvincingly in sci-fi garb.
This story is Trainspotting but with cyber-heroin. It's Disco Bloodbath but with vaguely futuristic ketamine.
It hits all the essential hallmarks of the addict diary genre:
Far-gone junkie roommates are scary,
cops are scary,
withdrawal sucks, and
halfway houses are surreal and scary.
Except this time there are holograms for some reason.
The addiction/recovery story had been told better elsewhere, and without the superfluous garnish of near-future dystopia.