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Summary

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.

What listeners say about A Scanner Darkly

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Full stars, no dark

Sorry - couldn't resist :-/
Actually, though there is much bathos there is a good deal of dark pathos and a sincerely felt author's end note to underline that. More manic than most PKD and very entertainingly handled, with Paul Giamatti fully committed to every phrase.

4 people found this helpful

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Wow...

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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S-Tier Narration of an incredible book

Title says it all: the book is incredible on its own and a personal favourite, but revisiting it with Giamatti's reading is well worth it. He shows an incredible range and subtlety in inflection, suffusing each of the different characters with their own distinct voice. From Luckman's rugged southern drawl to Donna's breathy, cool & dulcet hippie-chick tones, to Jim Barris' pseudo-intellectual, sociopathic ineffectualness, you'll be hard pressed to find a reading of any book as animated as this. Here is a narrator who not only fully understands the fraught atmosphere and tone of the book; he embodies it. The humor and tragedy of PKD's masterwork are handled with careful artistry. It's a haunting experience and you'll be sad when the recording comes to an end. Paul Giamatti was the man for the job. I really can't recommend it enough.

1 person found this helpful

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I'll reflect on this for a long while.

Its more than merely sci-fi entertainment going on here - the story builds and weaves and separates ingeniously, the characters and features are brilliantly detailed, it really captures a culture and its consequences.. and last but not least it's narrated superbly.

it moved me and I shall think about this for some time, reading it for the first time now in 2020 you can tell that the culture described here is a little dated but actually so much of this holds up today like great sci-fi should . I should have heard or read this this long before now...

quality listening. would 100% recommend.

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junkies

well observed, well written and very well read. But i gave up after a few hours. If i were interested in the ramblings of paranoid junkies I'd hang out with those toothless folk near the shops.

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Slow and disappointing

Loved “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” But this was slow and long winded. Wouldn’t listen again

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Brilliant resurrection of an abandoned read

Where does A Scanner Darkly rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Scanner Darkly?

Anyone not wishing a spoiler , should look away now, but the disintegration of Bob Arctor particularly when he arrives at the clinic

Which character – as performed by Paul Giamatti – was your favourite?

Barris easily, I could almost imagine Robert Downey Jr taking over the microphone

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

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

Any additional comments?

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

4 people found this helpful

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Giamatti makes a challenging listen enjoyable

This is not an easy book. Genius threads throughout, but in places it's self indulgent and verbose, not to mention sexist. But every step of the way, Paul Giamatti is fresh, funny, playful, idiosyncratic, clever, warm and wise. He is the reason I stayed until the end. And the end was worth reaching

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I didn’t get it

I didn’t like that it didn’t go anywhere. I was waiting for clever plot or something interesting like in other PKD books, but it’s just a book about drug use.