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A Scanner Darkly | [Philip K. Dick]

A Scanner Darkly

Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug Substance D. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. To do so, Fred takes on the identity of a drug dealer named Bob Arctor. And since Substance D, which Arctor takes in massive doses, gradually splits the user's brain into two distinct, combative entities, Fred doesn't realize he is narcing on himself.
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Publisher's Summary

Bob Arctor is a dealer of the lethally addictive drug Substance D. Fred is the police agent assigned to tail and eventually bust him. To do so, Fred takes on the identity of a drug dealer named Bob Arctor. And since Substance D, which Arctor takes in massive doses, gradually splits the user's brain into two distinct, combative entities, Fred doesn't realize he is narcing on himself.

Caustically funny, eerily accurate in its depiction of junkies, scam artists, and the walking brain-dead, Philip K. Dick's industrial-grade stress test of identity is as unnerving as it is enthralling.

©1977 Philip K. Dick; (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (615 )
5 star
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4.1 (357 )
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Story
4.4 (357 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Janice Toronto, ON, Canada 12-19-11
    Janice Toronto, ON, Canada 12-19-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    "Scanner Darkly Illuminated"

    Paul Giamatti brings this Philip K. Dick classic to life. The characters are distinct and fully realized under Giamatti's vocalization. I easily slipped into the story and the warped, paranoid and dual world Dick created, Giamatti enhances that voice and provides access to the action not to mention the subtext of this dystopian tale. I flew through the recording and would heartily recommend it to any Philip K. Dick fan. I hope to find more Giamatti narrations on Audible in the future. He does more than justice to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jl MS, USA 07-29-08
    jl MS, USA 07-29-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "Fills in the movie"

    I was drawn to this book, having seen the movie several times. I was amazed at the fidelity of the movie to the original manuscript. I can so clearly see various scenes of the movie as they are narrated, but with exquisite detail that augments my memory of the movie. Highly recommended.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penelope Austin, TX, USA 10-08-06
    Penelope Austin, TX, USA 10-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Paul Giamatti is great"

    My partner and I listened to this on a road trip and both loved it. Giamatti's reading is fantastic. Even though I've since seen the movie, I still hear the story in Giamatti's voice.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.G. San Ramon, CA 04-15-09
    D.G. San Ramon, CA 04-15-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can't Get Into It"

    I've stopped listening to this book and come back to it twice now (listening to a couple of other books in between to take a break) and have gotten almost halfway through, but just cannot get into it. There doesn't appear to be any real plotline, just the random interactions of a group of drug-addicted losers who have absurd debates with one another that might be bearable if they were funny at all (but they just come off as pathetic). One of the addicts is an undercover cop who seems confused about what is and is not reality, though this didn't add much drama to the story for me. I find I really don't care what happens to any of the characters and don't know that I'll ever bother to finish the book. After only getting through five hours or so, I'm off to take yet another break with another book.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E. Ballard South Bend, IN USA 07-24-06
    David E. Ballard South Bend, IN USA 07-24-06 Member Since 2013

    ballard7

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not worth two credits"

    I am a PKD fan, but I find many of his later works challenging. This book just rambled on and on (I've not seen the movie, but in answer to the previous reviewer, they probably changed a great deal of it to dramatize it, like with all of the other PKD adaptations), to the point where I endured to finish it because I used two credits on it.

    The story has a kind of "1984" feel to it, in the sense that the protagonist is basically trapped, with little or nothing he can do to survive the manipulation that has created his situation (the protagonist is rather pathetic by the end, too). The author's note at the end was moving, but all in all, the story itself felt drug-induced and disjointed, making it a struggle to keep track of what was going on.

    Giamatti as the narrator was excellent. For the most part, the book just draaaaaaaged.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brown OXFORD, CT, United States 09-08-11
    Brown OXFORD, CT, United States 09-08-11 Member Since 2015
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    "DONT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!!"

    I have purchased many audio books from Audible and have never experienced such a disappointment with a 'book' until now --- it is enough to have me write a review! Scanner Darkly is the worst book I have ever read or listened to. The story line is nothing short of boring, it is confusing and ridiculous and a complete waste of money....I did not even bother listening to Part II .... Barely got through Part I. Save your money...its a horrible "read". I am surprised Audible has it on their site!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Waterford, MI, USA 07-28-06
    Thomas Waterford, MI, USA 07-28-06 Member Since 2001
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    5
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    "Giamatti does a fine job"

    Some of us at work here decided to see the movie "A Scanner Darkly". Anyway, I decided to get an audio book version to try and re-familiarize myself with the story. The one I found is this one, narrated by Paul Giamatti. I listen to a lot of audiobooks, so I can get pretty critical of the readers. However, Giamatti does an excellent job of handling the different characters including women ones and different range of emotions, etc.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob 09-23-07
    Jacob 09-23-07

    Driver Edmonton to Ft Mac...lots of listening time...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Dark Humour"

    A sad tale: but only sad as an after thought. While the characters are victims of the drug culture and seem funny at the time their tragic endings makes this a tragic comedy.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Pangburn 09-01-06
    T. Pangburn 09-01-06 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    "A Scanner revisited"

    I have been a PK Dick fan for years. I was not disappointed by this audio book. The subject matter was a little depressing at first, due to the subject matter, but the story is compelling enough to overcome this.
    The reader kind of sounds like Mr.VanDriessen (Beavis and Butthead's teacher), especially when he reads as Jim Barris.
    I recommend this book but I can't understand the 2 credit hit on my account.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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