A Scanner Darkly - Philip K Dick

The last Dick I read was 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?'. It was seriously weird, and rather unlike Blade Runner. I thought both the book and the film worked in their own right, but the book got a big 'super freaky weird' prize. So, I borrowed this book from a workmate with great expectations of confusion. The protogonist is an undercover cop and addict of a mind-destroying drug which causes personality dissociation. It was... a lot less weird than I expected. While the officer's mind disintegrates, the books writing itself remains consistent. I was expecting big reams of inconsistent plotting going on, text that in itself demonstrated the mental breakdown, but it basically stayed sane. The characters, however, had their minds turning to mush. In its own way, it's a pretty good anti-drug book, effectively the writing of a heavily drug-using author describing the fate of various friends who took experimentation too far. And while it wasn't the exercise in experimental writing I expected, it is a pretty good book.

Posted 2007-05-08.