Substance D - otherwise known as Death - is the most dangerous drug ever to find its way on to the black market. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, leading first to disorentation and then to complete and irreversible brain damage.
Bob Arctor, undercover narcotics agent, is trying to find a lead to the source of supply, but to pass as an addict he must become a user, and soon, without knowing what is happening to him, he is as dependent as any of the addicts he is monitoring.
Now a cult classic film starring Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr. Read by Paul Giamatti.
©1977 Philip K. Dick (P)2006 Random House, Inc.
This is a dark and disturbing novel. The lives lived are shells filled with so much detritus, and the depiction of minds crumbling is made so much crueller by the precision of the depiction set against the inane lives.
"Brilliant resurrection of an abandoned read"
In particular this was one of my abandoned reads. So like other abandoned reads I was interested to give it a second go, albeit as an audiobook. Amongst all the audio books I've listened to and I include audio books I've heard before using Audible, this is easily the best. In fact I would say for me this was better as an audio book over a traditional read.
Anyone not wishing a spoiler , should look away now, but the disintegration of Bob Arctor particularly when he arrives at the clinic
Barris easily, I could almost imagine Robert Downey Jr taking over the microphone
I would have liked to but I didn't have the time but it did encourage me to listen to the book at times I would not have listened to another book
Its a stark read, when you think about substance addiction, but this makes the read even more compelling. I also think that its an interesting counterbalance read when considering the literature of psychedelia. For me it brings into sharp distinction the irresponsibility of a book like the Doors of Perception, even though I generally like Aldous Huxley
Hard to get through at times. It starts out like a sci-fi noir and ends up somewhere entirely different.
"A pitch-perfect rendition of a brilliant novel"
Paul Giamatti's crushed, hard-worn voice perfectly encapsulates the characters and emotional themes of this novel. I've never heard a more accurate rendition of PKD's bleak, miserable yet often hilarious narratives. I wish Giamatti would read Valis and Do Androids Dream... as well!
A Scanner Darkly is already a magnificent book, but Giamatti enriched it with his miserable, exhausted cadence. I know that doesn't sound particularly like a compliment, but it really brought the characters to life.
Very much so!
"A gloomy but brilliant listening experience"
An amazing audio book. Great performance, haunting insights into declining minds.
Only hint of criticism is the pronunciation of the German phrases is abysmal, but it doesn't really take away from the story so it's still 5 stars for me
"Brilliant but not for everyone."
It's a really freaked out book well read and I truly enjoyed it. My partner however couldn't listen to it and it was banned from the car.
I will be listening to it for a second time.
This novel starts a little slowly and seems a little rambling at first. If you're not familiar with Phillip K Dick, you'd probably be best to start with 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'. That said, once this book grips you, and it will grip you, you will be sucked in completely to the weird world of Phillip K Dick. When you emerge blinking into the real world you will be... Changed somehow, and you will never see the world through the same eyes. Extraordinary.
"A great book and performance"
I have read or listened to most of PKD's major works but this one really stood out for me. I had avoided it for a long time because it is set in an almost modern society and I wanted to experience his more 'off-world' works.
The subject matter is dark but there are moments of humour in scenes such as the number of bicycle gears and the inability of a group of stoned friends to work it out.
The book is very well read from soft passages requiring feeling through to the annoying voice of Barris.
I found the last chapter quite moving. It brings you down to earth with a bit of a thud and I admire PKD for including this very personal and open epilogue. It keeps your mind thinking for quite some time after the book has finished.
I would advise you not to pass up on this book because of the subject matter it deals with; which is not everyone's cup of tea. It has a lot of the classic features of a PKD book but this also has a lot of the author invested within. It is this last feature that for me makes this more than just a work of fiction.
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