A Scanner Darkly is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick, published in 1977. The semi-autobiographical story is set in a dystopian Orange County, California, in the then-future of June 1994, and includes an extensive portrayal of drug culture and drug use (both recreational and abusive). The novel is one of Dick's best-known works and served as the basis for a 2006 film of the same name, directed by Richard Linklater.
|A Scanner Darkly|
First edition (hardcover)
|Author||Philip K. Dick|
|Genre||Science fiction, paranoid fiction, philosophical literature|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Pages||220 (1st edition)|
|ISBN||0-385-01613-1 (1st edition)|
|LC Class||PZ4.D547 Sc PS3554.I3|
The protagonist is Bob Arctor, member of a household of drug users, who is also living a double life as an undercover police agent assigned to spy on Arctor's household. Arctor shields his identity from those in the drug subculture and from the police. (The requirement that narcotics agents remain anonymous, to avoid collusion and other forms of corruption, becomes a critical plot point late in the book.) While posing as a drug user, Arctor becomes addicted to "Substance D" (also referred to as "Slow Death", "Death" or "D"), a powerful psychoactive drug. A conflict is Arctor's love for Donna, a drug dealer, through whom he intends to identify high-level dealers of Substance D.
When performing his work as an undercover agent, Arctor goes by the name "Fred" and wears a "scramble suit" that conceals his identity from other officers. Then he is able to sit in a police facility and observe his housemates through "holo-scanners", audio-visual surveillance devices that are placed throughout the house. Arctor's use of the drug causes the two hemispheres of his brain to function independently or "compete". When Arctor sees himself in the videos saved by the scanners, he does not realize that it is him. Through a series of drug and psychological tests, Arctor's superiors at work discover that his addiction has made him incapable of performing his job as a narcotics agent. They do not know his identity because he wears the scramble suit, but when his police supervisor suggests to him that he might be Bob Arctor, he is confused and thinks it cannot be possible.
Donna takes Arctor to "New-Path", a rehabilitation clinic, just as Arctor begins to experience the symptoms of Substance D withdrawal. It is revealed that Donna has been a narcotics agent all along, working as part of a police operation to infiltrate New-Path and determine its funding source. Without his knowledge, Arctor has been selected to penetrate the organization. As part of the rehab program, Arctor is renamed "Bruce" and forced to participate in cruel group-dynamic games, intended to break the will of the patients.
The story ends with Bruce working at a New-Path farming commune, where he is suffering from a serious neurocognitive deficit, after withdrawing from Substance D. Although considered by his handlers to be nothing more than a walking shell of a man, "Bruce" manages to spot rows of blue flowers growing hidden among rows of corn and realizes that the blue flowers are Mors ontologica, the source of Substance D. The book ends with Bruce hiding a flower in his shoe to give to his "friends"—undercover police agents posing as recovering addicts at the Los Angeles New-Path facility—on Thanksgiving.
Between mid-1970 (when his fourth wife Nancy left him) and mid-1972, Dick lived semi-communally with a rotating group of mostly teenage drug users at his home in Marin County, described in a letter as being located at 707 Hacienda Way, Santa Venetia. Dick explained, "[M]y wife Nancy left me in 1970 ... I got mixed up with a lot of street people, just to have somebody to fill the house. She left me with a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house and nobody living in it but me. So I just filled it with street people and I got mixed up with a lot of people who were into drugs."
During this period, the author ceased writing completely and became fully dependent upon amphetamines, which he had been using intermittently for many years. "I did take amphetamines for years in order to be able to—I was able to produce 68 final pages of copy a day," Dick said.
The character of Donna was inspired by an older teenager who became associated with Dick sometime in 1970; though they never became lovers, the woman was his principal female companion until early 1972, when Dick left for Canada to deliver a speech to a Vancouver science fiction convention. This speech, "The Android and the Human", served as the basis for many of the recurring themes and motifs in the ensuing novel. Another turning point in this timeframe for Dick is the alleged burglary of his home and theft of his papers.
After delivering "The Android and the Human", Dick became a participant in X-Kalay (a Canadian Synanon-type recovery program), effortlessly convincing program caseworkers that he was nursing a heroin addiction to do so. Dick's recovery program participation was portrayed in the posthumously released book The Dark Haired Girl (a collection of letters and journals from this period, most of a romantic nature). It was at X-Kalay, while doing publicity for the facility, that he devised the notion of rehab centers being used to secretly harvest drugs (thus inspiring the book's New-Path clinics).
In the afterword Dick dedicates the book to those of his friends—he includes himself—who suffered debilitation or death as a result of their drug use. Mirroring the epilogue are the involuntary goodbyes that occur throughout the story—the constant turnover and burn-out of young people that lived with Dick during those years. In the afterword, he states that the novel is about "some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did", and that "drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to move out in front of a moving car".
A Scanner Darkly was one of the few Dick novels to gestate over a long period of time. By February 1973, in an effort to prove that the effects of his amphetamine usage were merely psychosomatic, the newly clean-and-sober author had already prepared a full outline. A first draft was in development by March. This labor was soon supplanted by a new family and the completion of Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said (left unfinished in 1970), which was finally released in 1974 and received the prestigious John W. Campbell Award. Additional preoccupations were the alleged mystical experiences of early 1974 that would eventually serve as a basis for VALIS and the Exegesis journal; a screenplay for an unproduced film adaptation of 1969's Ubik; occasional lectures; and the expedited completion of the deferred Roger Zelazny collaboration Deus Irae in 1975.
Because of its semi-autobiographical nature, some of A Scanner Darkly was torturous to write. Tessa Dick, Philip's wife at the time, once stated that she often found her husband weeping as the sun rose after a night-long writing session. Tessa has given interviews stating that "when he was with me, he wrote A Scanner Darkly [in] under two weeks. But we spent three years rewriting it" and that she was "pretty involved in his writing process [for A Scanner Darkly]". Tessa stated in a later interview that she "participated in the writing of A Scanner Darkly" and said that she "consider[s] [her]self the silent co-author". Philip wrote a contract giving Tessa half of all the rights to the novel, which stated that Tessa "participated to a great extent in writing the outline and novel A Scanner Darkly with me, and I owe her one half of all income derived from it".
There was also the challenge of transmuting the events into "science fiction", as Dick felt that he could not sell a mainstream or literary novel after several previous failures. Providing invaluable aid in this field was Judy-Lynn del Rey, head of Ballantine Books' SF division, which had optioned the book. Del Rey suggested the timeline change to 1994 and emphasized the more futuristic elements of the novel, such as the "scramble suit" employed by Fred (which, incidentally, emerged from one of the mystical experiences). Yet much of the dialogue spoken by the characters used hippie slang, dating the events of the novel to their "true" time-frame of 1970–72.
Upon its publication in 1977, A Scanner Darkly was hailed by ALA Booklist as "his best yet!" Brian Aldiss lauded it as "the best book of the year", while Robert Silverberg praised the novel as "a masterpiece of sorts, full of demonic intensity", but concluded that "it happens also not to be a very successful novel... a failure, but a stunning failure". Spider Robinson panned the novel as "sometimes fascinating, sometimes hilarious, [but] usually deadly boring". Sales were typical for the SF genre in America, but hardcover editions were issued in Europe, where all of Dick's works were warmly received. It was nominated for neither the Nebula nor the Hugo Award but was awarded the British version (the BSFA) in 1978 and the French equivalent (Graouilly d'Or) upon its publication there in 1979. It also was nominated for the Campbell Award in 1978 and placed sixth in the annual Locus poll.
The title of the novel refers to the Biblical phrase "Through a glass, darkly", from the King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13. Passages from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play Faust are also referred to throughout the novel.
The rotoscoped film A Scanner Darkly was authorized by Dick's estate. It was released in July 2006 and stars Keanu Reeves as Fred/Bob Arctor and Winona Ryder as Donna. Rory Cochrane, Robert Downey, Jr., and Woody Harrelson co-star as Arctor's drugged-out housemates and friends. The film was directed by Richard Linklater.
An unabridged audiobook version, read by Paul Giamatti, was released in 2006 by Random House Audio to coincide with the release of the film adaptation. It runs approximately 9.5 hours over eight compact discs. This version is a tie-in, using the film's poster as cover art.
A Scanner Darkly is a 2006 American adult animated science-fiction thriller film directed by Richard Linklater, based on the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick. The film tells the story of identity and deception in a near-future dystopia constantly under intrusive high-tech police surveillance in the midst of a drug addiction epidemic. The film was shot digitally and then animated using interpolated rotoscope, an animation technique in which animators trace over the original footage frame by frame, for use in live-action and animated films, giving the finished result a distinctive animated look.
The film was written and directed by Richard Linklater and features the voices of Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder. Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney are among the executive producers. A Scanner Darkly had a limited release in July 7, 2006, and then a wider release later that month. The film was screened at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and the 2006 Seattle International Film Festival, and nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form in 2007.Austin Studios
Austin Studios is a 20-acre (81,000 m2) film and video production facility with 10,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of production office space and over 100,000 square feet (10,000 m2) of production space established in 2000. The space includes five production stages converted from airplane hangars, two production office buildings, and numerous onsite vendors including Chapman/Leonard, Film Fleet, Mobile Production Services, Gear, Miscellaneous Rentals, Great FX and Heartland Studio Equipment.
Austin Studios is also home to the Austin Film Society breakroom and screening room with 35 mm, 16 mm and video projection capabilities.
Various studio films shot at Austin Studios include: Miss Congeniality, The New Guy, The Rookie, The Life of David Gale, 25th Hour, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Secondhand Lions, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, Man of the House, Friday Night Lights, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl, The Wendell Baker Story, Idiocracy, A Scanner Darkly, Infamous, The Hitcher, The Return, Stop-Loss, and Grind House. Various TV shows, commercials and music videos have also been shot at the studios. The Flaming Lips video "Psychic Wall" from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was shot in one of the stages and shows a behind-the-scenes look at the hangars. Austin Studios is also the former home to the Thunderdome, headquarters and skating facility of the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls, as seen in the A&E reality series Rollergirls.
In November 2012, the city of Austin voted in favor of Proposition 4, which allotted a $5 million bond to improving Austin Studios. Planned renovations include soundproofing the stages, climate control, and improving the digital infrastructure of the facilities.
Every year Austin Studios hosts Summer Camps, such as Sci-Fi, Horror and Stop Motion Animation.
In April 2014, Rooster Teeth Productions moved offices to Stage 5 and Bungalow A at Austin Studios.Ben Dunn
Ben Dunn (born April 17, 1964) is an American comic book artist. Although born in Taiwan, he grew up in Taiwan, Kentucky, and San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from Central Catholic Marianist High School. It was in Taiwan that he was first exposed to Japanese manga. In 1984 he founded Antarctic Press, an American comic book company specializing in Manga-style titles. His most notable creations for Antarctic are the comic book series Ninja High School and Warrior Nun Areala. In 2003, he sold Antarctic to start his own development company, Sentai Studios.
Dunn was also one of the primary artists involved in the short-lived Marvel Mangaverse project. He also worked as an animator for the science-fiction film A Scanner Darkly.In 2016, Art Greenhaw began creating, editing and writing faith-based visual novels and comic books, starting with book series title God's Silver Soldiers, also known as Silver Soldiers: The Comic and followed by Tales of Nazareth: The Boyhood of Jesus. The comic books, under the imprint of Truthmonger Comics Group Publishing, have achieved acclaim for their action-oriented innovation in illustrations by Dunn, as well as their storylines, and they have been covered in the media by TV channels, newspapers, and faith-based, nationally syndicated radio.In 2019, Dunn created the Coalition of Independent Comic Publishers.Dunn now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex with his wife and two children.Black Swan (song)
"Black Swan" is a song by Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke and is the fourth track on his 2006 album The Eraser. The song was released to American radio in July 2006 (see 2006 in music). In early August 2006, the song placed at #40 in Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart."Black Swan" dates back to the Kid A sessions. The song "has this tiny, shredded segment of something that was one of the library samples we had. It was Ed and Phil doing this thing, and I sliced it into bits. The sample was 2000, but the song was 2005." The 2006 Richard Linklater film A Scanner Darkly features the song over the closing credits.David Marquez (comics)
David Marquez is an American comic book artist best known for his works at Marvel such as Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, and All-New X-Men, with writer Brian Michael Bendis as well as for his first creator-owned book, The Joyners in 3D, with writer R.J. Ryan (published through Archaia/BOOM! Studios in 2014).Jason Archer and Paul Beck
Jason Archer and Paul Beck are a team of American music video directors, and animators. They specialize in the animation rotoscoping technique which have been used on their work for the films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Archer and Beck also directed music videos for several performers including David Byrne, Juanes and Molotov. The duo won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video at the Latin Grammy Awards of 2003 for "Frijolero".Life Is Cool
Life Is Cool (Korean: 그녀는 예뻤다; rr: Geunyeoneun Yeppeotda; lit. "She Was Beautiful") is a 2008 South Korean romance animated film, and is the first rotoscoped film from that country. This film's visual style was influenced from Richard Linklater's two films, Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006).Lisa Marie Newmyer
Lisa Marie Newmyer (born August 27, 1968) is an American actress. She made her feature film debut in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), and went on to appear in several other films, such as Sin City (2005) and A Scanner Darkly (2006).List of adaptations of works by Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick was an American author known for his science fiction works, often with dystopian and drug related themes. Some of his works have gone on to be adapted to films and series garnering much acclaim, such as the 1982 Ridley Scott film Blade Runner, which was an adaptation of Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, released three months posthumously to Dick's passing. The only adaptation released in his lifetime was a 1962 episode of the UK TV series Out of This World, based on Dick's 1953 short story Impostor. Other works such as the films Total Recall, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly have also gone on to critical or commercial success, while television adaptations such as The Man in the High Castle has gone on to long-form television adaptation successfully. In 2017, following the success of Netflix's science fiction short story series Black Mirror, and its own success with The Man in the High Castle, streaming service Amazon Prime Video paired up with Channel 4 to produce a series of short stories originally released between 1953 to 1955 under the series title Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, the only adaptation bearing the author's own name. The following is a list of film and television adaptations of his writings.Novelty Act
"Novelty Act" is a short story by Philip K. Dick. It involves a dystopian future in which the characters' lives are based on entertaining the First Lady of the United States with "novelty acts".Philip K. Dick
Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American writer known for his work in science fiction. His work explored philosophical, social, and political themes, with stories dominated by monopolistic corporations, alternative universes, authoritarian governments, and altered states of consciousness. His writing also reflected his interest in metaphysics and theology, and often drew upon his life experiences in addressing the nature of reality, identity, drug abuse, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences.
Born in Illinois, he eventually moved to California and began publishing science fiction stories in the 1950s. His stories initially found little commercial success. His 1962 alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle earned Dick early acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel. He followed with science fiction novels such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and Ubik (1969). His 1974 novel Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel. Following a series of religious experiences in February 1974, Dick's work engaged more explicitly with issues of theology, philosophy, and the nature of reality, as in such novels as A Scanner Darkly (1977) and VALIS (1981). A collection of his non-fiction writing on these themes was published posthumously as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick (2011). He died in 1982, at age 53, due to complications from a stroke.
Dick's writing produced 44 published novels and approximately 121 short stories, most of which appeared in science fiction magazines during his lifetime.A variety of popular films based on Dick's works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), The Adjustment Bureau (2011), and Blade Runner 2049 (2017).
In 2005, Time named Ubik one of the hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923. In 2007, Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America series.Philip K. Dick bibliography
The bibliography of Philip K. Dick includes 44 novels, 121 short stories, and 14 short story collections published by American science fiction author Philip K. Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) during his lifetime.
At the time of his death, Dick's work was generally known to only science fiction readers, and many of his novels and short stories were out of print. To date, a total of 44 novels have been published and translations have appeared in 25 languages. Six volumes of selected correspondence, written by Dick from 1938 through 1982, were published between 1991 and 2009.
The Library of America has issued three collections of Dick's novels. The first, published in June 2007, contained The Man in the High Castle, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Ubik, and was the first time science fiction was included in the LOA canon. The second collection was issued in July 2008 and included Martian Time Slip, Dr. Bloodmoney, Now Wait for Last Year, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, and A Scanner Darkly. The third collection was published in July 2009 and included A Maze of Death and the VALIS trilogy (VALIS, The Divine Invasion, and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer).
At least nine films have been adapted from Dick's work, with Blade Runner (1982) widely considered a "masterpiece".Five recurring philosophical themes in Dick's work have been classified by Philip K. Dick scholar Erik Davis: false realities, human vs. machine, entropy, the nature of God, and social control. In Understanding Philip K. Dick, Eric Carl Link discussed eight themes or 'ideas and motifs': Epistemology and the Nature of Reality, Know Thyself, The Android and the Human, Entropy and Pot Healing, The Theodicy Problem, Warfare and Power Politics, The Evolved Human, and 'Technology, Media, Drugs and Madness'.Richard Linklater
Richard Stuart Linklater (; born July 30, 1960) is an American filmmaker. Linklater is known for his realistic and natural humanist films, which revolve mainly around suburban culture and the effects of the passage of time. His films include the observational comedy film Slacker (1990); the coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993); the romantic drama film trilogy Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004), and Before Midnight (2013); the music-themed comedy School of Rock (2003); Boyhood (2014); and the rotoscope animated films Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006).
In 2002, he began filming Boyhood, a passion project that took over twelve years to complete. The film was released in 2014 to widespread critical acclaim. In 2015, Linklater was included on the annual Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.Many of his films are noted for their loosely structured narrative; several of his projects—the Before... films and Boyhood—feature the same actors filmed over an extended period of years.Robert Downey Jr. filmography
Robert Downey Jr. is an American actor who has starred in numerous films and television series. He made his acting debut in his father's film Pound at the age of five. In the 1980s, Downey was considered a member of the Brat Pack after appearing in the films Tuff Turf (1985), Weird Science with Anthony Michael Hall (1985), Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield (1986), Less Than Zero with Andrew McCarthy (1987), and Johnny Be Good again with Hall (1988). Downey also starred in the films True Believer (1989) and Chances Are (1989), and was a regular cast member on the late-night variety show Saturday Night Live in 1985.
In the 1990s, he was featured in the films Air America with Mel Gibson (1990), Soapdish with Sally Field (1991), Chaplin as Charlie Chaplin (1992), Heart and Souls with Alfre Woodard and Kyra Sedgwick (1993), Short Cuts with Julianne Moore (1993), Only You with Marisa Tomei (1994), Richard III with Ian McKellen (1995), and U.S. Marshals with Tommy Lee Jones (1998). His role in Chaplin earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and a BAFTA Award win for Best Actor in a Leading Role.Downey had a regular role in the television series Ally McBeal in 2000, which won him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. He was then cast in the 2003 films The Singing Detective alongside Robin Wright and Gothika with Halle Berry. In 2005, he starred in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Val Kilmer; in Good Night, and Good Luck with David Strathairn and George Clooney; and voiced the character of Patrick Pewterschmidt in the animated series Family Guy. The following year, he appeared in the animated science fiction film A Scanner Darkly and as Paul Avery in the 2007 film Zodiac.
Downey was cast as the role of Tony Stark / Iron Man in the 2008 Marvel Studios film Iron Man, a role he later reprised in The Incredible Hulk (2008) (cameo), Iron Man 2 (2010), The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). During that time he also starred in the films Tropic Thunder (2008) and The Soloist (2009), and played the title character in Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). For his role in Tropic Thunder, he was nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. He also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role in Sherlock Holmes.Rory Cochrane
Rory Cochrane (born February 28, 1972) is an American actor. He is known for playing Ron Slater in Dazed and Confused, Lucas in Empire Records, Lee Schatz in Argo, Freck in A Scanner Darkly and Tim Speedle in CSI: Miami.Rotoshop
Rotoshop is a proprietary graphics editing program created by Bob Sabiston.Rotoshop uses an animation technique called interpolated rotoscoping, which has been used in Richard Linklater's films Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, as well as the Talk to Chuck advertising campaign for Charles Schwab. The name is a play on Photoshop, a photo editing program from Adobe. The software is not currently available for use outside Flat Black Films, the developer of Rotoshop.Section Eight Productions
Section Eight Productions, or just Section Eight, was a production company founded in 2000 by film director Steven Soderbergh and actor and director George Clooney. It produced the critical hits Far From Heaven, Insomnia, Syriana, A Scanner Darkly and Michael Clayton, as well as Clooney-directed films Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Good Night, and Good Luck. In 2005, Syriana and Good Night, and Good Luck picked up eight Oscars nominations between them. With Soderbergh citing a desire to focus on directing, and Clooney forming production company Smoke House Pictures with Grant Heslov, the two decided to shut down Section Eight at the end of 2006.Strange Eden
"Strange Eden" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Imagination magazine, December 1954.Vintage PKD
Vintage PKD is a collection of science fiction stories, novel excerpts and non-fiction by Philip K. Dick. It was first published by Vintage Books in 2006.