A science fiction thriller, award-winning author Daryl Gregory's Afterparty features a scientist on a mind-bending and violent chase across Canada and the U.S. to undue the harm her creation has done and save civilization.
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.
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In a mental hospital, world-wise Lyda meets teen Francine, who's in withdrawal from Numinous, a drug that makes you religious. Lyda helped invent Numinous and thought it no longer existed, but Francine's symptoms are unmistakable. With the help of an angel only Lyda sees a result of her own Numinous overdose and her ex-lover Ollie, a former government agent and fellow patient, Lyda heads out to stop whoever is making Numinous again. The hunt leads her to female Afghan drug lords, shady dealings in the Mohawk nation, a murderous faux-cowboy, the daughter she gave up for adoption, and maybe God. Gregory (Unpossible and Other Stories) dashes off his near-future story like a "chemjet" printing out sheets of smart drugs. Both irreverent and sympathetic to the sincere Numinous-addicted believers, the tragi-comical satire dispenses with sermons and easy morals, preferring to be entertaining and thought-provoking instead.