Up Late with Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty

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From Goodreads.com “It begins in Toronto, in the years after the smart drug revolution. Any high school student with a chemjet and internet connection can download recipes and print drugs, or invent them. A seventeen-year-old street girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a new Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide. Lyda Rose, another patient in that detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug. With the help of an ex-government agent and an imaginary, drug-induced doctor, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous in a quest to set things right. A mind-bending and violent chase across Canada and the US, Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty is a marvelous mix of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick’s Ubik, and perhaps a bit of Peter Watts’s Starfish: a last chance to save civilization, or die trying.”

Daryl Gregory, an author located in State College, attended the Saturday morning author’s breakfast at our 2013 PCTELA conference. If you’ve ever lived in a college town, the first chapter of this book will perfectly capture what you see on a regular basis.  The descriptions are spot-on and, quite frankly, hilarious.

This long-anticipated novel has a brilliant concept with strong, believable characters and a fast-paced plot. I would say it is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Also, there are many witty metaphors and thought-provoking discussions about free will, religion, and drugs.  I would say this science-fiction novel set in the near future is not terribly far-fetched.  In fact, in the book, Gregory made up an idea of an app to find a homeless shelter, and that app just appeared in real life.  

One of my favorite characters in this book is the guardian angel Dr. Gloria, who helps Lyda work through her past and her present relationships. But I’m also enamored with Vinnie, who keeps a herd of tiny buffalo in his apartment. The precision of the language and the originality of the plot make this a must-read for everyone.

Some favorite quotes from the book:

  • “The human egg is a Mrs. Bennet, desperate to marry off her daughters…It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sperm must be in want of a matching strand of DNA.”
  • “A BS in any neuroscience without a master’s or PhD was a three-legged dog of a degree: pitiable, adorable, and capable of inspiring applause when it did anything for you at all.”
  • “Look, you can’t think of a person like it’s one thing, one ‘I’ that decides everything. The brain is a collective, a huge number of all these thinking modules. It doesn’tmake a decision, it arrives at one.”

~posted by Kate, VP for Secondary PCTELA

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Up Late with Daryl Gregory’s Afterparty

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