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Book Review

Book Cover



Author: Daryl Gregory
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78329 458 9
Publication Date: 15 August 2014

Designer drugs are the great new hope for the future of pharmacology. Already students use drugs to enhance their concentration and intelligence, but what would happen if you designed a drug which gave you your own personal Jesus. Lyda Rose, resident of a mental hospital holds a dark secret. When a young girl is admitted claiming a direct connection with God, Lyda’s worse fears are realised. The girl kills herself when she feels abandoned by God, but Lyda knows that, in reality, the girl is suffering from withdrawal from the drug Numinous and she knows this because she helped create it...

Afterparty (2014. 345 Pages) is a near future novel from Daryl Gregory.

The trick of the drug in question is not just to provide you with a feeling of being closer to God, the drug effectively gives you your own personal god, with whom you can converse with. Lyda, as one of the first people to have taken a significant amount, has her own personal angel, who she names Dr Gloria, with whom she can converse. Having to hold a grasp of her own sanity, she is both aware that the angel is a side effect of the drug, while at the same time accepting its divine providence.

On one level, when she discovers that the drug is being manufactured again, when she thought that it had been buried for good, she feels responsibility, as one of the creators. More than this she realises how destructive it would be for large sections of the population to use. It’s not only the possible overdoses, but the social destruction that would occur if everyone thought they could talk to God.

Lyda leaves the sanatorium intent on finding who is printing and distributing the drug. At this point the book turns into a travelogue across the near future, full of interesting and bizarre characters; my personal favourite was the granny gangster.

The road trip does hold your attention, although I worked out who was behind the drug about half way through the book. Lyda is a strong female lead and Gregory has produced a fast paced thriller, which touches on the meaning of religion and sanity.

The thing which makes the distribution so easy is that the book is set in a time where chemical printers exist, making the drug as easy to create as a photocopy. This does bring to the fore one of the less convincing plot devices. Surely if drug printers existed, why on Earth would the world still have drug dealers? Gregory hints at the fact that the actual machines are expensive, but I could see a group buying one.

Overall, it’s a good read which straddles many genres with touches of science fiction sprinkled upon a noirish future.


Charles Packer

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