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A Scanner Darkly
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Pub Year:
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Read: 2018-06-03
Last Update: 2018-06-03

Five Sentence Abstract:

The characters were likable and story was attention grabbing, both much better developed, with plenty of background, than the other PKD books I've read. The presentation of Robert, Fred, vague blur's deterioration, as well as his friends' reactions, is interesting, sometimes bordering on comedic. The story itself has a few twists and turns that make it unpredictable, but the main premise hinges on a thinly veiled, if somewhat apologetic, promotion of drug culture with slight anti-familial and extended adolescence sub-themes. It seems to me that this, like the other PKD books, is a commission from the intelligence community to promote particular lifestyles and habits. In this case we see magic mushrooms, the fictional substance D, as well as honorable mentions of Timothy Leary (also mentioned in several others PKD works) and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put forth as mortar to cement the previously introduced 1960's ideas into the next decade's foundation.

Thoughts:

I liked the story and characters. My time in the 'drug scene' allowed me to laugh at some of the accurate ridiculousness of the characters. Spending hours talking about a carburetor, check. Hours more considering the deepest darkest corners of a baseless philosophy, double check. Worried that you are going to run out of drugs, because you only have a week's worth left. Infinite check.

Overall it was much better than the previous Philip K. Dick books I've read (and didn't like). This was the same characters and basis for Valis, which was interesting, revealing, but anti-climactic.

I still say PKD was an agent, promoting societal eroding ideas for the intelligence community. Robert talks about how his life with a wife and a pair of daughters was boring, how he didn't want to live like that. So he ended up burning out his brain on drugs. Rings all too familiar of the current state of affairs.

The mentions of Timothy Leary and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin are icing on the cake. A known, admitted, agent in the case of Tim. Pierre might be even more subversive with his Piltdown Man hoax that misled for decades and his inspiring of the new age movement, not to mention Omega Point leading to Timewave Zero, 2012, and culminating (for now) in Kurzweil's singularity.

"Turn on, tune out, and good-by," Barris said, and hung up.

Barris's sign-off was a direct quote of Tim Leary's original funky ultimatum

An allusion to president picking, intelligence community, covert ops:

And if any other officer monitoring Barris's actions sees what I probably will see, they'll conclude Arctor is the biggest drug runner in the western U.S. and recommend a-- Christ!--covert snuff. By our unidentified forces. The ones in black we borrow from back East that tiptoe a lot and carry the scope-site Winchester 803's. The new infrared sniperscope sights synched with the EE-trophic shells. Those guys who don't get paid at all, even from a Dr. Pepper machine; they just get to draw straws to see which of them gets to be the next U.S. President. My God, he thought, those fuckers can shoot down a passing plane. And make it look like one engine inhaled a flock of birds. Those EE- trophic shells-- why fuck me, man, he thought; they'd leave traces of feathers in the ruins of the engines; they'd prime them for that.

Exceptional Excerpts:

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Table of Contents

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