Shifting gears here a bit. Recently, Oxford University Press published a volume titled The Grateful Dead Reader. This book is a collection of articles, interviews, musings, and excerpts from ficitonal narratives concerning the music, personalities, and subculture that the band represented and were a part of. I won't go into the band-oriented stuff, but do want to mention an excerpt from a book by the counterculture author William J. Craddock titled Be Not Content(1970). Craddock also published another book entitled Twilight Candelabra in 1973 which was considerably more occultish and obscure, even within the context of countercultural literature. Anyhow, this excerpt details an acid test experience through the minds-eye of the novel's protagonist and is quite well done. I re-read the book last week after getting it through our library's interlibrary loan service and, appropriately enough, it was like having a flashback. In the same way that Mark Vonnegut's Eden Express gives one the feeling of a schizophrenic experience, so does Craddock's book give one the feeling of taking lsd, especially the final chapters wherein the protagonist fills up a couple quart jars with liquid acid and drinks the stuff over a period of a few days (one assumes). Writers of all types have attempted to chronicle the lsd experience both as reportage and fiction (and as sensationalism or science) and none that I can think of come as close as Craddock manages to. I am reminded of Kesey's Cuckoo's Nest and The Butterfly Kid by Chester Anderson, but these two novels have other intentions, which changes the focus of the narrative from the drug experience to those intentions. Of course, there are tons of exploitative works, from Go Ask Alice to that anti-drug crap they showed in junior high (which, by the way, made me very interested in trying the stuff after watching some film in 1968 in gym class), but most of these works were, like Reefer Madness, laughable in their inaacuracies. One of the better films has to be the Jack Nicholson authored The Trip. So, do other out there have their favorite lsd novels, films, exploitative fiction, or reportage? It might be fun to get a list going and compare those "works" to the drug/anti-drug stuff since then.
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