31 July 2007

A Question

I've been working on finishing up a long review with a deadline of tomorrow, so my brain is a bit fried. The review sparked a question that I have no answer for, though I'm sure it will be easy for somebody out there to respond to.

The question is this: Is there an anthology of science fiction stories about drugs?

The dream book that popped into my mind, and one I'm pretty sure doesn't exist, would be a wide-ranging reprint anthology covering everything from mad scientists with weird serums to 1960s psychedelia to cyberpunk narcotics to ... well, I'm blanking on recent druggy SF stories, but I know there are a few.

Lacking that particular book, though, what is there?


  1. Not an anthology, but some Googling found this: a research paper that Robert Silverberg wrote for the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1974: Drug Themes in Science Fiction. (PDF download or a mostly legible HTML page.)

    There's also SciFan's more cumbersome Drugs/Narcotics/Addiction/Psychoactive Substances page.

  2. Here's another option that's not an anthology: On Spec magazine had an addictions theme for its winter 2004/2005 edition. "Addictions" covered more than just drugs though.

  3. I think it cries out to be done. By you.

    Rick Bowes

  4. Michael Parry did three antholgies in the Uk in the 70s:

    Strange Ecstasies ed. Michel Parry U.K. Panther 1973.
    The Plutonian Drug • Clark Ashton Smith • ss Amazing Sep ’34
    The Dream Pills • F. H. Davis • ss, 1920
    The White Powder [“The Novel of the White Powder”] • Arthur Machen • ss The Three Impostors, John Lane, 1895
    The New Accelerator • H. G. Wells • ss The Strand Dec ’01
    The Big Fix • Richard Wilson • nv Infinity Science Fiction Aug ’56
    The Secret Songs • Fritz Leiber • ss F&SF Aug ’62
    The Hounds of Tindalos • Frank Belknap Long • ss Weird Tales Mar ’29
    Subjectivity • Norman Spinrad • ss Analog Jan ’64
    What to Do Until the Analyst Comes [“Everybody’s Happy But Me!”] • Frederik Pohl • ss Imagination Feb ’56
    Pipe Dream • Chris Miller • ss The National Lampoon Jun ’72

    Dream Trips ed. Michel Parry Panther Books 1974
    The Hashish Man • Lord Dunsany • ss A Dreamer’s Tales, J.W. Luce, 1910
    As Dreams Are Made On • Joseph F. Pumilia • ss Fantastic Feb ’73
    The Adventure of the Pipe • Richard Marsh • ss Curios, London: John Long, 1898
    Dream-Dust from Mars • Manly Wade Wellman • ss Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb ’38
    The Life Serum • Paul S. Powers • ss Weird Tales Jun ’26
    Morning After • Robert Sheckley • nv Galaxy Nov ’57
    Under the Knife [“Slip Under the Knife”] • H. G. Wells • ss The New Review Jan, 1896
    The Good Trip • Ursula K. Le Guin • ss Fantastic Aug ’70
    No Direction Home • Norman Spinrad • ss New Worlds Quarterly 2, ed. Michael Moorcock, London: Sphere, 1971
    The Phantom Drug • A. W. Kapfer • ss Weird Tales Apr ’26

    Spaced Out ed. Michel Parry (Panther 1977
    The Deep Fix [as by James Colvin] • Michael Moorcock • na Science-Fantasy #64 ’64
    All the Weed in the World • Fritz Leiber • ss Playboy Jan ’61
    The Roger Bacon Formula • Fletcher Pratt • ss Amazing Jan ’29
    Smoke of the Snake • Carl Jacobi • ss Top-Notch Jan ’34
    Melodramine • Henry Slesar • ss Playboy Aug ’65
    My Head’s in a Different Place, Now • Grania Davis • nv Universe 2, ed. Terry Carr, Ace, 1972
    Sky • R. A. Lafferty • ss New Dimensions I, ed. Robert Silverberg, Doubleday, 1971
    All of Them Were Empty • David Gerrold • ss With a Finger in My I, Ballantine, 1972

  5. I agree with Rick. You should edit a new anthology of science fiction/speculative fiction stories about drugs. Hey, we could edit it together!

  6. Wow, the Michael Parry anthos look like exactly what I was thinking of. I'll have to go searching for them.

    And John (and Rick, and anybody), I'd be happy to work on such a book if you can find a publisher who wants to do such a thing! Although I don't know what it would do for my teaching career to tell people, "Yeah, I edited this book of stories about drugs..."

  7. Well, you wouldn't, for instance, call the book, "Matt Cheney's Big Book Of How To Do Drugs." It would have a more neutral, classier title.

    Night Shade, Prime might be possible publishers.

    I read at least one of the Parry anthologies when they came out and forgot about it completely until just now. Must have been the drugs!

    Rick Bowes

  8. I read a story in high school many years ago, in Orbit or some such anthology that made a big impression on me. Unfortunately I don't remember the title or the author. It dealt with some type of telepathic wasp that was able to stimulate the pleasure centers of the main character, and how this became an addiction of the character. I would be interested to know if anyone out there remembers this story and can fill in the missing author/title.

    Matt--I hope this helps in your quest:)--Eric S.