Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
People have been taking pills and seeing God for years, but in Afterparty Daryl Gregory is taking the idea of smart drugs one step further. What happens if after a particularly bad trip you have an omnipresent God with you? Is this a sense of wellbeing, or are you now just schizophrenic? In the near future people take drugs not only for their cures, but also their side effects and seeing deities may be the worst side effect of all.
|Afterparty by Daryl Gregory|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Take two pills a day, preferably with food, and you will receive a direct line to God. Lyda Rose has done just this, but seeing God is fine and dandy, until it stops. What happens once this omnipresence leaves you? Action packed and darkly amusing find out what happens after the party has ended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: August 2014|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
After spending much of the past 10 years in an asylum, Lyda Rose is ready to get out. Her personal physician Dr Gloria suggests it’s about time, but no one else seemed to agree with Gloria (or be able to see her). Someone is starting to manufacture a drug that Lyda helped to invent, a drug that lets you feel God’s presence. All well and good, but what happens if you run out? The only other quick way to find God may be to kill yourself. Lyda is in a race against time to get the new Smart Drug off the streets and work out which of her ex-colleagues is behind the outbreak.
Afterparty is the type of smart science fiction that I love, set in a twisted near future that makes changes to how we currently live, but remains believable. Gregory has a Douglas Coupland perspective on the future, filling Afterparty with the overgrown children that have come to define 'Generation X'. Our heroine is not the nicest person, but she is flawed in a believable way. Lyda manipulates those around her to get what she wants and we the reader are not even sure if her goal is a positive one. Shouldn't the word of God be spread?
There is a very interesting core to Afterparty that explores what faith is and whether it is a good or bad thing. Is an unwavering belief in a higher being inherently positive? You may be compelled to be more moral as you fear for your soul, but what if this sense of realisation is all created by a drug? The realisation itself is false, but if you consider it to be the truth, what is the harm? Lyda sees her own angel and chooses continually reminds herself that it is imaginary, but others believe their Gods to be real.
If the interesting concepts in Afterparty are not your thing, the book may still have something for you. It is also an action adventure and crime thriller. Lyda is on the hunt for the manufacturer of this new God pill and she is not the only one. Her journey will take her on a road trip from Canada to the USA meeting more than one unsavoury character on the way. There are shoot outs and tense chases that balance well against the more cerebral science fiction concepts.
Gregory should also be praised for creating a vibrant and viable future. Smart Drugs have become the norm, illegal in most cases, but rife on the streets. This is fifteen or so years in the future so you can see our present in the text, but small touches and asides really flesh out the year 2031. Genetically engineered miniature cattle for home farms, pens that are also smart computers etc. are seamlessly weaved into the narrative to give added flavour to proceedings.
However, it is perhaps Gregory's despondent and cynical tone that made Afterparty stand out most. It would appear that the author does not have that much faith in people and if the masses were given access to heaven, they would only mess it up. This is a book that explores interesting concepts, but never forgets to excite or entertain. A darkly comic creation that questions why we are here and should we really care?
If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Generation A by Douglas Coupland and Rant: The Oral History of Buster Casey by Chuck Palahniuk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Afterparty by Daryl Gregory at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Afterparty by Daryl Gregory at Amazon.com.
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