"God Pill" reading at Boundless Tales

September 14, 2017
1302 44th Ave,
Long Island City, NY 11101,
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I'll be reading a short excerpt from my latest novel, "The God Pill," as part of the Boundless Tales reading series in Long Island City, NY.

The plot spins off from the just completed study by New York University's Langone Medical Center (as well as an earlier study by Johns Hopkins University), which showed that psilocybin (magic) mushrooms can reduce anxiety in cancer patients, as well as give them a greater sense of belonging and spiritual peace.  The God Pill uses this scientific/spiritual discovery as a premise to examine what happens when this information seeps into the bowels of a clandestine government project, deep in the heart of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).


The God Pill is a character-driven neuro-thriller (bringing the latest science together with a government plot for mind-control over the world’s population), pitting a collective of former government scientists against the political authority that nurtured their work. 


The general plot twist involves a psychological Manhattan Project at a hidden government installation in Sedona, AZ.  Several scientists have been sequestered there to fabricate a substance – produced as a small pill – which could subtly affect brain chemistry in such a way that the recipient would see things from the American point of view.  They are to locate and then affect the exact brain chemistry where ideas of “patriotism” are formed, somewhere in the interaction between the amygdala and the neo-cortex.  


The United States government would then use it to “poison” world leaders, so that the whole world would become partisan to American geo-political goals.  However, one of the scientists stumbles on a “God Pill.”  A substance that would lead to a world politics of acceptance, inclusion and peace.  


This one scientist excitedly tells her immediate superiors of the discovery.  They ask her not to tell their overseers, as the American government would not consider this solution a "success."  She goes over their heads.  She, and the other three scientists, are immediately expelled from government employ, as their discovery is deemed “un-American,” dangerous and must be suppressed.  They are branded but not killed, and sent into the world to live as vagabonds.


The characters of the play – Tracks (the African-American scientist who was branded with “tracks” running across his body due to this subversion); Dante (the middle-aged engineer and dubious lover); Icarus (the beautiful young, female post-doc who excitedly discovers the God Pillwhen researching the psilocybin effects on cancer patients) and Montville (the curmudgeonly old genius) – re-find each other 5 years after being expelled from their government employ, and revivify their desire to create the God Pill.  They live in small apartments in Queens and Hell’s Kitchen, all supported by Icarus, who is waiting tables. 


Bones, the government henchman and Theia, the coffee girl turned government informer, follow the group to Queens just before the scientists are about to infiltrate a United Nations plenary dinner to distribute the God Pill to the world leaders gathered there, to usher in a new era of acceptance and understanding in world politics.  


The novel ends at the dinner itself, with Icarus attempting to insert the solution into the food which will be served to 158 world leaders, while Bones and Theia, who have been tracking her, are hot on her heels trying to stop her.