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Stephen L Antczak - God DrugStephen L Antczak is an American novelist, God Drug was his first published novel. He had published a collection of stories (Daydreams Undertaken) before, and has since written another collection of stories, plus another novel (The Oracle Paradox).
God Drug is considered a 'cult' novel by some, and was turned into a Manga/Graphic Novel in 2009.
The main reason I picked it up, though, were Andy Lee's illustrations of the main characters and key scenes throughout the book; executed in a pseudo-japanese, minimalistic ink style (see the cover for an example).

The story follows some of the key protagonists in the Alternative/Drop-out scenes in  Gainsville (most of these are apparently modeled on Antczak and his friends) as they gear up for another night of mayhem, partying, and loud live music.
The difference this time is, though, that Tom, the editor and key contributor of the underground newspaper “Random Times”, has obtained some LSD, to write a drug column under the influence.
And the real difference is that, instead of 'normal' LSD, he is provided (by his Vietnam Vet dealer) with a CIA version thereof, which was developed in the hope of providing groups of soldiers with a 'shared consciousness' experience and make them much more efficient through that.

When the CIA tested this drug on a group of Army 'volunteers' they found that it didn't work – or “not the way they expected it to..”, as one characters explains – all except one  of the group of 'volunteers' were wiped out whilst battling fire-spitting 'heli-dragons'.
When Tom, together with Sparrow and Lena (there's a relationship triangle here) takes the drug, their altered reality starts altering their Reality. Plus there are characters, avatars, aspects of the (dead) group of Army 'volunteers' who start becoming real, or rather start forgetting that they are not.
And if this sounds like a drug trip then I think that this was intended by the author indeed!

The book is a quick read, which is good, as I don't think that the premise, without expanding much more, would have provided a longer story without uneccesary filler. What we have, though, is quite slick, well written, and enjoyable.
If you're interested in alternative scenes and music, drugs, and very hands-on discussions/demonstrations of what is 'real' then you're in for a winner.
Cult? I don't know... for me the best bits were the illustrations by Andy Lee, which made me pick up the book in the first place, but that might just be me...



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Title: God Drug
Author: Stephen L Antczak
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL: http://thierstein.net
Publisher:  Marietta Publishing
Publisher URL: http://www.mariettapublishing.com
Publication Date: 2004
Review Date: 120822
ISBN: 1892669331
Price: USD 14.99
Pages: 200
Format: Large Format Paperback
Topic: Alternate Reality
Topic: Drugs

 

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