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A Scanner Darkly
Synopses & 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 entities, and that he is, in fact, in frantic pursuit of himself.
A Scanner Darkly is caustically funny and razor sharp in its depiction of drug-induced paranoia and madness; it's an industrial-strength stress test of identity as unnerving as it is riveting. The novel is captured in this brilliant graphic vision, composed entirely of stills from the movie.
Writer/Director Richard Linklater shot a live-action film, starring Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder, and then animated over the underlying images. The result is an eerily lifelike, richly detailed animation that translates beautifully to the page.
"Described as being 'like a graphic novel come to life,' the 2006 film version of Dick's classic 1977 novel A Scanner Darkly is a full-length animated feature directed by Richard Linklater using rotoscope visual technique. In rotoscoping, filmed actors are digitally transformed into drawings. The graphic novel version of the film consists mostly of direct screen grabs from the animated version. Harvey Pekar has added some narration that has been adapted from the novel. The books and film tell the story of a futuristic Southern California in which drugs are rampant and identity mutable. Keanu Reeves plays an undercover cop who has to spy on and understand the druggy circles around him. The film looks intriguing, but the graphic novel version falls asleep instead of coming to life. Simply arranging film stills on a page to resemble comic book panels does not a narrative make. And while the dialogue seems mostly drawn from the film, the narration, intended to bridge the gap between watching action unfold and reading it, is incongruous and sometimes nonsensical in this setting. This bizarre hybrid is no substitute for Dick's original and will serve best as a reminder of the film." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"It's a book. It's a movie. Actually, it's a graphic novel, based on a Dick favorite, that tells the story through stills from the forthcoming film directed by Richard Linklater." Library Journal
Perhaps the most unnerving drug novel ever written as well as an industrial-grade stress test of identity. A Scanner Darkly explores the perverse symbiosis of cop and criminal, observer and observed.
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.
About the Author
Dick was one of the most influential and uniquely talented science fiction writers of all time. He loved music, was convinced that the government was watching him, and was married several times.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Fiction and Poetry » Graphic Novels » Alternative