Skip to main content

Dick, Death, and Meth


Philip K. Dick was a prolific writer of science fiction, with several of his stories and books having been adapted to film after his death in 1982. One of his better-known works is the book "A Scanner Darkly," which portrays America in the not-too-distant future, an America that has lost the war on drugs and is under total surveillance by government and corporations alike. The drug of choice in this world is Substance D. Substance D is derived from a flower (like heroin), is instantly addictive and has a near 100% recidivism rate (like crystal methamphetamine), and has a street nickname of Death (rhymes with meth) and people have either never tried it or are addicted to it; there is no in between.

Meanwhile, the government and corporations are working together to fight a never-ending war on drugs and paranoia is rampant. Luckily, there is hope: New Path Recovery is a rehab center that stands the best chance of overcoming the Substance D epidemic. However, it is revealed later in the book that New Path grows the flowers that D is derived from, thus supplying the demand that destroys lives while punishing the addicts, who are used as labor on the flower farms (like the CIA providing cocaine for the production of crack, which destroys the lives of users, who are then imprisoned and used as cheap labor).

Interestingly, the maker of Oxycontin has plans to release a drug to help fight the opioid crisis currently taking nearly 200 lives each day in America.


For a book released in 1977 by an author who died in 1982, this is eerily prescient of our current time and condition. Perhaps Dick saw the writing on the wall long before anyone else, perhaps before the writing appeared...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In Memorium: Shaun Mullen, A Most Generous Man

Author, editor, blogger, and so much more Shaun Mullen has passed. Noting his blog  Kiko's House  hadn't been updated in a while, I did a search and discovered his  obituary . My friendship with Shaun goes back to 2006. While living in Australia, I'd discovered his blog when searching for informed commentary on US foreign policy in the Middle East. Sadly, much of that policy remains unchanged 14 years later, but that is for another post. Shaun  had noticed that his blog wasn't rendering correctly in Internet Explorer and asked if anyone could suggest a fix. I, being a bit of a tech head at the time, suggested Firefox or similar browser, and the problem was solved. We kept in and out of touch, finding common ground in music (I mentioned my love for the Grateful Dead and Shaun sent a dozen CDs of concert recordings. By International mail. The man was generous to a fault.), worldview, and more. My old site got its greatest number of hits when Shaun linked to a few of m

Finding Adventure In A Google-Mapped World

Technology has made our world a smaller place, a place less mysterious and perilous. Where once one had to travel to see a destination, now we simply look it up and look at pictures. This is both an advantage and a loss, and I'll try to explain in the paragraphs that follow.  Gone are the days of grand adventure, of heading off into the unknown. While it is true one can set off on a small, personal adventure, you're never too far away from information that can remove obstacles and inconveniences from your path, but remember those things are part of the path , and to remove them removes at least some of the adventure.  So, what to do? I suggest doing what technology regularly does: miniaturize.  Get to know your local area. You may think you already know it, but a few minutes of online research will have you raising your eyebrows. For example, I recently learned an old bridge just a short distance from home holds the distinction of being the oldest bridge still in use in the cou

A Black Swan Of My Very Own!

 One week ago, I, along with all employees of the print division of Brown Industries, was summoned to a meeting. Tensions were high and fear was palpable, as work had been slow for several weeks. Layoffs, it seemed, were to be announced.  If only it were so simple. Speaking through a poorly set up PA system, one of the two CEOs announced that funding that had been sought had fallen through and the company could no longer sustain operating costs. Brown Industries, inventor of the carpet sample industry and economic juggernaut for more than 60 years, would permanently suspend operations.  I was suddenly unemployed.  All were stunned. A short Q&A session took place in which we were reassured this wasn't the fault of labor, this was a failure on the management level. Cold comfort, to say the least. My immediate coworkers and I returned to our desks and began filling boxes with photos and other personal effects. I was reminded of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and seeing fo