Altered States

Altered States

3.81 (501 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
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Product details

  • Paperback | 210 pages
  • 120 x 180mm
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 055211247X
  • 9780552112475

Review Text

Veteran script-man Chayefsky uses his first novel to hop onto the sci-fi bandwagon. But, after driving it in good steady third gear for a while, he steers it right off the map into bogus boogieland. His totally unappealing hero is psychophysiologist Eddie Jessup - single-minded, visionary, unfeeling toward anthropologist wife Emily - who starts out working for NASA in the Sixties and gets interested in what happens when someone stews in an isolation tank: hallucinations, orgasms, the primeval edges of other "consciousnesses." And ten years later, Jessup is still after "that first self," so, when he's given a better-than-LSD drug in Mexico, it's only a couple of months before he's back in the tank, hallucinating like mad and crooning, "I'm in the id, I'm in the id. . . ." But that's not all, folks. Jessup not only hallucinates about some primeval state, he physicalizes his hallucinations, alters his genes through sheer mind-clout, and briefly turns into a "small, finely furred, erect, bipedal protohuman creature" who kills an antelope in the zoo. Goodbye, Dr. Jessup - hello, Mr. Hyde. This, of course, is "one of the most fantastic instances in the history of science," and a pretty exhilarating moment for Dr. J: "Well, I found the fucker! I found the final truth all of us have been treasure-hunting for! I found it, touched it, ate of its flesh, drank of its blood. . . ." You get the idea. Chayefsky works hard at capturing the way hip scientists are supposed to talk, that mix of jargon and jive ("Shit, Mason, we're into multidimensional time-spaces!"), and the first section here moves briskly, doing a decent job of digesting the recent stuff on biofeedback, yogis' brain waves, etc. But when Jessup goes ape, the book goes bananas - and it's not even enjoyably silly, what with all those impassioned speeches (in Network the tirades were about something) and woozily pretentious messages. Marty, stop playing with those little kids and come home! (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

501 ratings
3.81 out of 5 stars
5 23% (115)
4 43% (216)
3 27% (136)
2 6% (28)
1 1% (6)
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