A psychedelic cocktail of scenes and images from books and film come to mind when thinking about how to explain Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. When I was contacted and asked if I'd read and review this novel, I had to admit, I was intrigued. Maybe I pictured Morpheus giving me a choice, but this time with the yellow pill featured on the book jacket. Maybe. Either way, down the rabbit hole I was going.
First thing that came to mind while reading was SF master, Philip K Dick and for me, his work,A Scanner Darkly, one of the clear inspirations. Clearly PKD was whispering in the author's ear late into the night.
In Gregory's novel we are jettisoned into the near future after the Smart Drug revolution, where any school kid with a chem-jet and access to the net can download and print designer drugs.
As you can imagine, this revolutionizes things and when a new, god-like drug known as Numinous leads a street kid to addiction and suicide, it gets personal for one Lyda Rose, especially because she was one of the original scientists who designed the drug.
Troubled by the guilt of loosing those close to her while fighting her own addictions, Lyda sets off on a journey across the country to track down the new source of this mind-altering drug and stop the spread and the pseudo-religious following that continues to flourish. "Finding god" becomes a phrase used too often in this novel, and the author does a good job of exploring exactly what it means to find religion under the auspices of mind-altering designer drugs.
If you're looking for a wild ride across country in pursuit of a hot but dangerous drug, a trek only Hunter S. Thompson could appreciate, then this is the book for you.