A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick (1977)
olling Stone calls Dick “the most brilliant sci-fi mind on any planet.” On Earth, Dick lived in Fullerton and Santa Ana for the last decade of his life, and O.C. was the ideal grow box for his paranoia-infused fiction. This one is about a narcotics agent with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department who goes undercover using a high-tech “scramble suit” that disguises his identity. The novel’s local references include an Anaheim Lions Club meeting, a Fiddlers Three coffee shop in Santa Ana, and this trippy vision: “Life in Anaheim, California, was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed. Nothing changed; it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze. What there was always more of had been congealed into permanence long ago, as if the automatic factory that cranked out these objects had jammed in the on position.”
“Nobody in Santa Ana knew who Philip K. Dick was.
He was just this guy going to Trader Joe’s.”
— Author Tim Powers, a friend of the sci-fi legend, told Orange Coast in 2009.