Illustrated by Chris Skinner and Andrew Archer
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and A Scanner Darkly are two of Philip K. Dick’s most celebrated novels. In this new Folio Society collector’s edition, these classics of dystopian science fiction are presented in a mind-bending format – two illustrators, two covers, one spectacular book.
It is difficult to measure the impact of Philip K. Dick’s work. Not only did his stories and novels win awards and influence an entire generation of science-fiction writers, many of his works have been adapted into film and continue to inspire directors to this day. Alongside Ridley Scott’s genre-changing Blade Runner, inspired by Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the films Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly and the recent television series The Man in the High Castle all owe their existence to his imagination. For this special Folio edition we have brought together two classic titles in an appropriately mind-bending format: read one, then turn the book upside down to enter the altered reality of the next.
In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? the Earth has been poisoned by war, populated only by those doomed by contamination or too poor to move to Mars. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter tasked with ‘retiring’ illegal andys – androids so indistinguishable from humans that only an empathy test can root them out. When a gang of Nexus-6 models escapes their colony and hides on Earth, Deckard must track them down before they retire him, while his own understanding of what is real and what is fake is thrown into question.
Published over a decade later, psychedelic cult favourite A Scanner Darkly follows narcotics cop Fred as he goes undercover to bring down the dealers of a lethal new drug called Substance D. It’s dangerous work, requiring Fred to become a user himself, but with his high-tech ‘scramble suit’ his identity is safe – not even his colleagues know who he really is. As the drug does its insidious work, Fred is caught in an increasingly complex web of paranoia, multiple identities and double crosses, made all the more nightmarish by a series of reality-shattering illusions. Who are his friends? Who are his enemies? And who, ultimately, is Fred?
Both novels, written with Dick’s trademark energy and prescience, explore many of the author’s personal obsessions. His twin sister died when only a few weeks old, and his characters often find themselves at odds with ‘phantom twins’ and multiple identities, while his habitual drug use inspired A Scanner Darkly. As he writes in the poignant foreword, included with this edition: ‘I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel.’ In a nod to the tête-bêche binding style popular with early pulp publishers, the two titles are bound upside down relative to each other, and each features a different illustrator. For Androids, Chris Skinner has summoned the seedy neon-drenched noir of Dick’s original vision. Andrew Archer’s images for A Scanner Darkly are appropriately hallucinatory, offering a glimpse of the horrors and the wonders of a bad trip. A unique collaborative double-page illustration at the centre of the book brings these visionary worlds together, creating the ultimate collector’s edition of two science-fiction classics.
Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928. At around the age of twelve Dick read his ﬁrst science-ﬁction magazine, which led to a lifelong engagement with the genre. After a brief stint at the University of Berkeley in 1949, he worked in a record store, Art Music Company. He wrote full-time from 1951, when he sold his ﬁrst short story, and went on to produce forty-four novels and ﬁve collections of short stories. Dick struggled to achieve mainstream success, his non-science-ﬁction novels being returned by his agent in 1963, but received enormous acclaim in the science-ﬁction world for his works exploring metaphysics, theology and politics. His best-known novel, The Man in the High Castle, won the Hugo Award in 1963, while Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 1975. Married ﬁve times, Dick died in 1982.
Chris Skinner is an illustrator and motion-graphics artist based in the UK. Taking inspiration from artistic movements such as Art Deco and Film Noir, he uses a mixture of techniques in his illustration including traditional media, 2D digital, 3D modelling, and digital sculpting to create artwork based on popular film and graphic novels. He has been commissioned by Marvel, DC Comics, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and the BBC.
Andrew Archer is a New Zealand-born illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. Originally a graphic designer, Archer now focusses solely on illustration. Since 2006 he has worked for clients such as Wired, Penguin Books, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Vogue. Inspired by surrealism, wood-block prints, the Edo period of Japanese art, ideograms, and his time spent in Asia, his work is a mix of hallucinogenic colour and rhythmic line.
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Review by mag1892 on 25th Sep 2017
"Just received this today. Folio at their innovative best, delivering two highly regarded books printed tête bêche (finish the first, turn the book around, start the second from the other end, so to ..." [read more]