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Counterculture 21 book

Genre: Prose

If you like challenging science fiction, then Jeff Noon is the author for you. Vurt, winner of the 1994 Arthur C. Clarke award, is a cyberpunk novel with a difference, a rollicking, dark, yet humorous examination of a future in which the boundaries between reality and virtual reality are as tenuous as the brush of a feather. But no review can do Noon's writing justice: it's a phantasmagoric combination of the more imaginative science fiction masters, such as Phillip K. Dick, genres such as cyberpunk and pulp fiction, and drug culture.

Genre: Prose

Heralded as the “best book on the dope decade” by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson’s documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the “Great Red Shark.” In its trunk, they stow “two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls,” which they manage to consume during their short tour. On assignment from a sports magazine to cover “the fabulous Mint 400”—a free-for-all biker’s race in the heart of the Nevada desert—the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it’s nearby, but can’t remember if it’s on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: “burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help.” For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius.

Genre: Prose

Palahniuk's 10th novel (after Snuff) is a potent if cartoonish cultural satire that succeeds despite its stridently confounding prose. A gang of adolescent terrorists trained by an unspecified totalitarian state (the boys and girls are guided by quotations attributed to Marx, Hitler, Augusto Pinochet, Idi Amin, etc.) infiltrate America as foreign exchange students. Their mission: to bring the nation to its knees through Operation Havoc, an act of mass destruction disguised as a science project. Narrated by skinny 13-year-old Pgymy, the propulsive plot deconstructs American fixtures, among them church (religion propaganda distribution outlet), spelling bees (forced battle to list English alphabet letters) and TV news reporters (Horde scavenger feast at overflowing anus of world history), before moving on to a Columbine-like shooting spree by a closeted kid who has fallen in love with the teenage terrorist who raped him in a shopping mall bathroom. Decoding Palahniuk's characteristically scathing observations is a challenge, as Pygmy's narrative voice is unbound by rules of grammar or structure (a typical sentence: Host father mount altar so stance beside bin empty of water), but perseverance is its own perverse reward in this singular, comic accomplishment.

Genre: Prose

If there still remains any doubt, this novel confirms Lethem's status as the poet of Brooklyn and of motherless boys. Projected through the prism of race relations, black music and pop art, Lethem's stunning, disturbing and authoritatively observed narrative covers three decades of turbulent events on Dean Street, Brooklyn. When Abraham and Rachel Ebdus arrive there in the early 1970s, they are among the first whites to venture into a mainly black neighborhood that is just beginning to be called Boerum Hill. Abraham is a painter who abandons his craft to construct tiny, virtually indistinguishable movie frames in which nothing happens. Ex-hippie Rachel, a misguided liberal who will soon abandon her family, insists on sending their son, Dylan, to public school, where he stands out like a white flag. Desperately lonely, regularly attacked and abused by the black kids ("yoked," in the parlance), Dylan is saved by his unlikely friendship with his neighbor Mingus Rude, the son of a once-famous black singer, Barnett Rude Jr., who is now into cocaine and rage at the world. The story of Dylan and Mingus, both motherless boys, is one of loyalty and betrayal, and eventually different paths in life. Dylan will become a music journalist, and Mingus, for all his intelligence, kindness, verbal virtuosity and courage, will wind up behind bars. Meanwhile, the plot manages to encompass pop music from punk rock to rap, avant-garde art, graffiti, drug use, gentrification, the New York prison system-and to sing a vibrant, sometimes heartbreaking ballad of Brooklyn throughout. Lethem seems to have devoured the '70s, '80s and '90s-inhaled them whole-and he reproduces them faithfully on the page, in prose as supple as silk and as bright, explosive and illuminating as fireworks. Scary and funny and seriously surreal, the novel hurtles on a trajectory that feels inevitable. By the time Dylan begins to break out of the fortress of solitude that has been his life, readers have shared his pain and understood his dreams.

Genre: Prose

Heralded as the “best book on the dope decade” by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson’s documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the “Great Red Shark.” In its trunk, they stow “two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls,” which they manage to consume during their short tour. On assignment from a sports magazine to cover “the fabulous Mint 400”—a free-for-all biker’s race in the heart of the Nevada desert—the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it’s nearby, but can’t remember if it’s on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: “burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help.” For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius.

Genre: Prose

Heralded as the “best book on the dope decade” by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson’s documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the “Great Red Shark.” In its trunk, they stow “two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls,” which they manage to consume during their short tour. On assignment from a sports magazine to cover “the fabulous Mint 400”—a free-for-all biker’s race in the heart of the Nevada desert—the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it’s nearby, but can’t remember if it’s on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: “burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help.” For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius.

Genre: Prose

Lonely widow Sara Goldfarb nutures fantasies about appearing on prime-time television, while her son Harry, along with girlfriend Marion and buddy Tyrone C. Love, plans his break into big-time drug dealing.

Genre: Prose

Satan Burger

Absurd philosophies, dark surrealism, and the end of the human race…

God hates you. All of you. He closed the gates of Heaven and wants you to rot on Earth forever. Not only that, he is repossessing your souls and feeding them to a large vagina-shaped machine called the Walm—an interdimensional doorway that brings His New Children into the world. He loves these new children, but He doesn’t love you. They are more interesting than you. They are beautiful, psychotic, magical, sex-crazed, and deadly. They are turning your cities into apocalyptic chaos, and there’s nothing you can do about it…

Featuring: a narrator who sees his body from a third-person perspective, a man whose flesh is dead but his body parts are alive and running amok, an overweight messiah, the personal life of the Grim Reaper, lots of classy sex and violence, and a motley group of squatter punks that team up with the devil to find their place in a world that doesn’t want them anymore.

Genre: Prose

Genre: Prose

Arthur Nersesian’s underground literary treasure is an unforgettable slice of gritty New York City life… and the darkly hilarious odyssey of an anonymous slacker. He’s a perennial couch-surfer, an aspiring writer searching for himself in spite of himself, and he’s just trying to survive. But life has other things in store for the fuck-up. From being dumped by his girlfriend to getting fired for asking for a raise, from falling into a robbery to posing as a gay man to keep his job at a porno theater, the fuck-up’s tragi-comedy is perfectly realized by Arthur Nersesian, who manages to create humor and suspense out of urban desperation. “Read it and howl,” says Bruce Benderson (author of ), “and be glad it didn’t happen to you.”

Genre: Prose

In this lively and unique document 1970s-style hedonism, we follow the further adventures of Cleo Odzer, whose first book, was a Quality Paperback Book Club best seller. begins in the mid 1970s and tells of Cleo's love affair with Goa, a resort in India where the Freaks (hippies) of the world converge to partake in a heavy bohemian lifestyle. To finance their astounding appetites for cocaine, heroin, and hashish, the Freaks spend each monsoon season acting as drug couriers, and soon Cleo is running her own scams in Canada, Australia, and the United States. (She even gets her Aunt Sathe in on the action.) With her earnings she builds a veritable palace by the beach—the only Goa house with running water and a flushing toilet Cleo becomes hostess of Anjuna Beach, holding days-long poker games and movie nights and, as her money begins to run out, transforming the house into a for profit drug den. Tracing Cleo's lo affairs, her stint hiding out at the ashram of the infamous Bhagwan Rajneesh, and her sometimes-harrowing drug expert likes, is candid and compelling, bringing to life the Spirit of a now-lost era.

Genre: Prose

Poor Dennis. He’s a regular sort of guy who’s recently been dealt a shitty hand by life: he lost his job, his wife hates him and wants a divorce, and it turns out she was also cheating on him as well. Now he’s living on his brother’s couch. Holy fuck, that sucks. Dennis can’t imagine things could get much worse, and that’s why he jumped at the opportunity to take part in a new reality game show: a “sexcathlon” where the first person to achieve 10 increasingly difficult and perverted sexual challenges wins a million dollars and is crowned King of the Perverts. Dennis doesn’t care about the title, he just wants the money, but now he’s not sure he can make it to the end. Enduring a golden shower and following through with an Abe Lincoln are hard enough, but he’s losing his nerve and fears what act of perversion will come next. He’d like to drop out, but his Russian bear of a cameraman, Mongo, has other plans for him and that million dollar prize, and Dennis has to decide which is worse: winning the King of the Perverts, or losing it.

Genre: Prose

In Saigon during the waning days of the Vietnam War, a small-time journalist named John Converse thinks he’ll find action — and profit — by getting involved in a big-time drug deal. But back in the States, things go horribly wrong for him.

Dog Soldiers

Genre: Prose

Nova Express takes William S. Burroughs’s nightmarish future one step beyond The Soft Machine. The diabolical Nova criminals have gained control and plan on wreaking untold destruction. It’s up to Inspector Lee of the Nova Police to attack and dismantle the word-and-imagery machine of these “control addicts” before it’s too late.

Genre: Prose

Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and – much to Mark’s astonishment – doesn’t seem interested in revenge. Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry – so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn’t really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men’s Trousers? Fast and furious, scabrously funny and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.