Drug Themes in Science Fiction/Annotated Bibliography-Predictive Period

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Drug Themes in Science Fiction by Robert Silverberg
Predictive Period, c. 1935–1965

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY


PREDICTIVE PERIOD

(1935–1965)

Works (not individually listed)


Author: Hamilton, Edmond
Title: The truth gas
Journal: Wonder Stories, Vol. 6, No. 5, 1060-1071
Publisher: Continental Publications, New York
Date: February 1935
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:A scientist who believes that all sin and crime stem from deceptiveness perfects and releases into the atmosphere a drug that "causes a short-circuit between the brain's thought-centers and its motor-centers of speech" so that lying becomes impossible. The resulting compulsive honesty leads to impossible social situations as the whole veneer of tact and diplomacy vanishes; it becomes necessary to devise and release an antidote.




Author: Bartel, Philip J.
Title: The elixir of progress
Journal: Wonder Stories, Vol. 6, No. 11, 1286-1304
Publisher: Continental Publications, New York
Date: April 1935
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as euphorics
Annotation:Satiric story of the quest in the year 3903 for rediscovery of the lost ancient drug that provided stimulation and energy and delight to early man—coffee.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY


PREDICTIVE PERIOD

(1935–1965)

Author: Smith, Clark Ashton
Title: The Plutonian drug
Journal: Amazing Stories, Vol. 9, No. 5, 41-48
Publisher: Teck Publications, New York
Date: September 1934
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:Among the many drugs brought back to Earth by space explorers is Plutonium, a powder from Pluto that produces a hashish-like derangement of time-perception, permitting the user to transform time into space and go on psychedelic voyages.

The subject penetrates five or six hours into the past, an ineffable experience that ends with a vision of his own death soon fulfilled in reality.




Author: Barnes, Arthur K.
Title: Emotion solution
Journal: Wonder Stories, Vol. 7, No. 8, 955-963
Publisher: Continental Publications, New York
Date: April 1936
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:A scientist who feels that emotions are a hindrance to the full development of intelligence perfects a solution that destroys the "emotional centers" of the brain; he infiltrates it into the Southern California water system. The resulting emotionless society is lifeless and without energy, not at all what the scientist envisioned, and he feels guilt for having transformed millions of people into dull robots.





Author: Gatter, George F.
Title: Emotion gas
Journal: Wonder Stories, Vol. 7, No. 8, 967-971
Publisher: Continental Publications, New York
Date: April 1936
Format: Short story
Descriptors: Drugs as mind-controllers; Drugs as euphorics
Annotation:Unscrupulous theatrical producers enhance the box-office appeal of their comedy by surreptitiously dosing the audience with a gas that induces euphoria; they leave convinced they have seen an extraordinarily funny show, and business booms, until one night an overdose is given that amplifies not only happy feelings but passing moments of depression, causing everybody to leave in a black despondent mood that kills the show.




Author: Coblentz, Stanton A.
Title: The glowworm flower
Journal: Astounding Stories, Vol. 17, No. 4, 22-29
Publisher: Street & Smith Publications, New York
Date: June 1936
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as euphorics
Annotation:A pioneering space exploration voyage brings back, by accident, spores of an extraterrestrial plant that sprouts on Earth. The flower of this plant gives off a fragrance that induces intoxication, coma, and opium-like visions. Tripping on glowworm-flower fragrance becomes addictive for many of Earth's finest minds, though lesser folk are relatively immune. The plant is eradicated everywhere, possession of it is made illegal, and all space missions are banned lest spaceships again be contaminated with the sinister spores.





Author: Binder, Eando
Title: The hormone menace
Journal: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Vol. 8, No. l, 34-47
Publisher: Beacon Magazines, Inc., New York
Date: August 1936
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:Villainous scientist, using extracts derived from endocrine secretions, transforms human beings into mindless puppets of abnormal strength and stature or of extraordinary mental abilities (i.e., photographic memories). Heroic underground agent penetrates his remote laboratory and puts an end to the research.




Author: Wellman, Manly Wade
Title: Dream-dust from Mars
Journal: Thrilling Wonder Stories. Vol. 11, No. 1, 14-28
Publisher: Better Publications, Inc., New York
Date: February 1938
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as panaceas
Annotation:The spores of a Martian lichen are an agreeable stimulant to Martians of the 28th century but throw Earthmen into deep trances in which they experience prolonged ecstatic dreams. The dream-dust becomes immensely popular on Earth and is outlawed when everyone seems headed for the oblivion it provides.





Author: Hall, Charles F.
Title: The time drug
Journal: Tales of Wonder, Vol. 1, No. 5, 62-73
Publisher: The World's Work, Surrey, England
Date: Winter 1938
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:Scientist perfects a drug, mixing together cactus alkaloids and kava root, which creates powerful psychedelic effects and allows the experimenter to float backward in time. Backward explorations continue until the researcher reaches the creation of the universe, with grave consequences for him.




Author: Kyle, David A.
Title: Golden nemesis
Journal: Stirring Science Stories, Vol. 1, No. 1, 28-34
Publisher: Albing Publications, New York
Date: February 1941
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:Aware that most of the capacity of the human brain remains unused, an experimenter devises a drug that will raise him to superhuman intelligence by giving him access to his entire brain. He is transformed into a genius by the drug, but only for a brief, intense "trip," which after a few days so exhausts him that, "nerves on fire," he dies of heart failure. The story is a remarkable anticipation of extreme LSD effects.





Author: Pohl, Frederik
Title: What to do until the analyst comes
In: Alternating Currents
Publisher: Ballantine Books, New York
Pages: 143-154
Date: 1956
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as panaceas
Annotation:Narrator is an advertising man who tells how, after a cigarettes-and-lung-cancer scare, researchers discover a cheap, allegedly harmless and non-addictive euphoric drug, and it goes on the market in chewing-gum form as a replacement for cigarettes. Soon everyone is chewing Cheery-Gum except the narrator, who is allergic to it; and though the drug is theoretically non-addictive, it makes everyone so high that no one wants to give it up—leading to a dazed and tranquilized society in which everyone is euphoric and indolent and everyone maintains that he could kick the Cheery-Gum habit on a moment's notice. if he had any reason to do so—which he doesn't.




Author: Slesar, Henry
Title: I remember oblivion
Journal: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 30, No. 3, 36-43
Publisher: Mercury Press, New York
Date: March 1966
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:A technique has been devised for literal brainwashing of criminals, i.e., the total eradication through chemo-therapy of memory, and the reconstruction, using drugs and "narco-hypnosis," of a new non-criminal personality within the existing body. The narrative cuts from the conversation of two scientists using the technique to the stream-of-consciousness of a rehabilitated criminal who, breaking through his conditioning, regains access to his memories and commits suicide in his guilt.





Author: Keller, David H.
Title: The abyss
In: The Solitary Hunters and the Abyss
Publisher: New Era Publishers, Philadelphia
Pages: 108-265
Date: 1948
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:A scientist isolates XYZ, a chemical present in the minds of psychotics, and, purely as an experiment, doses all of New York City with it by distributing it in the form of chewing gum. Mass psychosis results; civilization collapses and the eight million guinea pigs revert to a sort of Roman culture, with barbaric gladiatorial games, an emperor, mass brutality, new religions. After thirty days the drug wears off and the victims fall into coma and awaken unharmed.




Author: MacDonald, John D.
Title: Trojan horse laugh
Journal: Astounding Science Fiction, Vol. 43 , No. 6, 73-111
Publisher: Street & Smith Publications, New York
Date: August 1949
Format: Short novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind controllers
Annotation:An endocrinologist has charted a monthly human cycle of emotional peaks and depressions, and, for the sake of greater efficiency and harmony in society, has developed a drug that will control and adjust the cycle so that everyone treated will peak or drop at the same time. This works well during the high part of the cycle, but once the lows set in, mass hysteria develops among the inoculated populace, there is a wave of suicides, and a chain reaction of interlocking depressions virtually destroys society.





Author: Williams, Robert Moore
Title: The elixir of peace
Journal: Amazing Stories, Vol. 23, No. 12, 124-131
Publisher: Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, Chicago
Date: December 1949
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:Comic story of a tranquilizing drug devised to make animals such as lions tame enough to use in movies. The demonstration leads to complications, and a furious movie director is "tamed" as well by surreptitious use of the drug.




Author: Heinlein, Robert A.
Title: The Puppet Masters
Publisher: Doubleday & Co., New York
Pages: 219 pp.
Date: 1951
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:The Earth has been invaded by slug-like parasitic beings that attach themselves to men's backs and dominate their minds and bodies. The protagonists, Sam Nivin and Mary, are members of a secret security agency fighting the invaders. In the middle of the struggle they decide to get married; but because they can only spare 24 hours for their honeymoon, they inject themselves with tempus, a drug analogous to speed, which stretches subjective time for them so that they feel they are experiencing a month-long honeymoon.





Author: Morrison, William (Pseud. for Joseph Samachson)
Title: The addicts
Journal: Galaxy Science Fiction, Vol. 3, No. 4, 122-131
Publisher: Galaxy Publishing Corporation, New York
Date: January 1952
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as euphorics
Annotation:Husband and wife are lighthouse-keepers on a lonely asteroid between Earth and Mars. Husband has become addicted to marak, a euphoric drug that keeps him in a constant state of good nature and well-being. This makes meaningful conversation between him and wife impossible, since he is so agreeable that all discussions trail off immediately, and she is growing irritable for lack of stimulating company. Husband therefore decides secretly to give his wife addictive dose of drug.




Author: Smith, George O.
Title: Hellflower
Publisher: Abelard Press, New York
Pages: 264 pp.
Date: 1953
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as sensation-enhancers
Annotation:On Ganymede, moon of Jupiter, grows the gardenia-like plant from which hellflower, also known as love lotus, is extracted—a narcotic which heightens sensations and other sensory stimuli and creates psychological addiction through enhancement of pleasure—with women the chief victims. Story concerns the traffic in this and related drugs and the attempts of a government agent of the

future to intercept it.





Author: Devaux, Pierre and Viot, H. G.
Title: The stolen minute
Journal: Science Fiction Plus, Vol. 1, Nos. 4 and 5, 44-61, 42-52
Publisher: Gernsback Publications, Inc., New York
Date: June and August 1953
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:A French molecular physicist develops a drug known as hexostyromolybdenum, HSM, which has the property of vastly increasing the human metabolism. Motion, body speed, the rate of living, and other functions are accelerated 100,000 times. Protagonists make use of HSM to achieve desired political goals.




Author: Phillips, Rog (Pseud. for Roger Philip Graham)
Title: The yellow pill
Journal: Astounding Science Fiction, Vol. 62, No. 2. 51-61
Publisher: Street & Smith Publications, New York
Date: October 1958
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as reality-testers
Annotation:Psychiatrist encounters a patient who has committed murder and who has the delusion that he was on board a spaceship, defending himself against lizard-men from Venus, at the time of the killing. Patient totally denies the reality of actual world, and tells psychiatrist to take a yellow pill that will awaken him to the true reality of the spaceship-world. Psychiatrist is amused by concept of a yellow pill that can bring one out of a delusion; but then he finds a bottle of yellow pills in his locker and the story becomes an exploration of ambiguous levels of reality, with the pills serving as conduits between one "real" world and the other.





Author: Hartley, L. P.
Title: Facial Justice
Publisher: Doubleday & Company, New York
Pages: 263 pp.
Date: 1960
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-controllers
Annotation:The scene is the not very distant future, after the Third World War. Nine tenths of the human race has been destroyed and the survivors are ruled by a benevolent dictator who reduces conflict situations by imposing an enforced equality: personalities are standardized, numbers are used for names, women undergo plastic surgery so that none will seem too beautiful or too ugly. This dreary homogenized state is kept under control by dosing the citizens daily with a sedative-like bromide to which most people have become addicted; it lowers vitality and reduces noncomformity.




Author: Gunn, James
Title: The Joymakers
Publisher: Bantam Books, New York
Pages: 160 pp.
Date: 1961
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as euphorics
Annotation:Under the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 2003, hedonism is the law of the land. The function of government, it has been decided, is "the preservation and promotion of the temporary happiness of its citizens." Gloom is outlawed and happiness is mandatory. It is attained through mental disciplines, through mechanical regulation of the metabolism, and through the free use of drugs—notably mescaline, "neo-heroin," various alkaloids, and certain futuristic euphorics.





Author: Huxley, Aldous
Title: Island
Publisher: Harper & Row, New York
Pages: 295 pp.
Date: 1962
Format: Novel
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:This Utopian novel, written thirty years after Huxley's anti-drug Brave New World and after his own experiments with LSD and mescaline, depicts another ideal commonwealth centering on the use of drugs: but in place of Brave New World's mind-deadening soma, the citizens of island use moksha, a hallucinogen very similar in effect to LSD, which induces mystical visions and intensifies religious experience.




Author: Burgess, Anthony
Title: A Clockwork Orange
Publisher: W. W. Norton. New York
Pages: 160 pp.
Date: 1963
Format: Novel
Descriptors: Drugs as mind-controllers; Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:Alex is a juvenile delinquent of the near future, who routinely uses such drugs as synthemesc or drencrom that are sold in neighborhood "milk bars" for hallucinogenic boosts. After committing a particularly atrocious assault, Alex is arrested and sentenced to a kind of brainwash reconditioning. With the aid of drugs and hypnotherapy he is conditioned against violence and turned loose to become a useful citizen.





Author: Buck, Doris Pitkin
Title: Come where my love lies dreaming
Journal: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 26, No. 2, 113-126
Publisher: Mercury Press, New York
Date: February 1964
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as panaceas
Annotation:The quickest refuge from the horrors of life in 21st century Washington, D. C., is the use of detenser pills. The latest brand is Protoceratops Tabs, which mentally transport the user to the Mesozoic Era and create the illusion that he or she is a dinosaur. The story, gently comic in tone, follows the adventures of a woman who takes the dinosaur trip and comes face-to-face not only with prehistoric beasts but with her own inner problems.




Author: Purdom, Tom
Title: Greenplace
Journal: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 27, No. 5, 5-16
Publisher: Mercury Press, New York
Date: November 1964
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as intelligence enhancers
Annotation:Protagonist is a psychologist doing political field-testing on behalf of a Congressman running for re-election c. 1980. As he prepares to enter a suburban district controlled by his candidate's powerful opponent, he doses himself with MST, a newly invented psychic energizer that "multiplied the powers of observation and the rate and quality of thought by a factor somewhere between three and seven." Under the influence of MST he is able to detect the frightening psychological techniques by which the suburb is held in control.





Author: McCombs, Larry and White, Ted
Title: The peacock king
Journal: Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 29, No. 5, 23-36
Publisher: Mercury Press, New York
Date: November 1965
Format: Short story
Descriptor: Drugs as mind-expanders
Annotation:The United States is planning its first expedition into interstellar space, using a radical space-drive that permits faster-than-light travel. Preliminary experiments have shown that a faster-than-light trip will have grave psychological impact on the crew, and therefore LSD is used as part of the training discipline for the crew (a man and a woman). Through acid experiences they make themselves capable of handling the interstellar jump through hyperspace.