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The Seventh Book of Lost Swords: Wayfinder's Story
Fred Saberhagen

A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly - Philip K. Dick At first I wasn't liking this book very much, but I persevered and I must say after the story really got going I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Bob Arctor/Fred is an undercover nark who, due to the nature of his work, becomes a drug addict himself. As Fred he is also ordered to start surveillance on Bob Arctor, his undercover identity. As Fred he has to watch hours of surveillance tapes on himself as Bob and his friends. As Bob, he has to try to act like a normal dealer/addict knowing he is being watched.

As the story moves forward, the drugs take their toll on Bob/Fred's mind and he enters rehab. The ending to me was somewhat surprising if a little disjointed.

The interplay between the characters is darkly hilarious and sad at the same time.

The edition I read had an author's note at the end where Dick discusses the drug culture in California in the late 70's which he himself was a part of. He even gives a list of friends that, because of drug use, are either dead or have some major physical or mental problem. Dick includes himself on this list.

Oh, and I have to find one of those scramble suits! Just imagine the things you could do!