Philip K. Dick’s science fiction is best known for its paranoia and its drug (ab)use. This graphic version of one of his later novels is a second generation adaptation, actually based on the Richard Linklater film, which claims to follow Dick’s dialogue faithfully. So although it’s another step removed from its source material, it should still be a faithful rendition, though at the time of writing, this reviewer has seen neither the film nor read the book, so couldn’t possibly comment on that side of things.
Linklater’s film uses a technique called Rotoscoping, which takes live action footage of real actors and paints over them, to make the scenes look like animated drawings. The art for this book has been pulled directly from the film, so offers characters that look very like their on-screen counterparts, without looking like a photo-story.
The plot is typical Dick. It follows an undercover narcotics agent from near-future California as he successfully infiltrates a group of druggies. Problems start, however, when he gets addicted to the narcotic Substance D and loses his grip on reality without realising what’s going on.
It’s a gripping thriller that will keep you guessing to the end, with a lot of dark humour and a bleak outlook on the future. However, we can’t help but think you’re probably better off either reading the original novel or seeing the film version before picking up this adpatation.