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Afterparty Hardcover – April 22, 2014

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2014: Lyda Rose and her colleagues had the best intentions: to create a drug that would cure schizophrenia. Instead, she's in a mental hospital, saddled with a permanent hallucination of a doctor with angel's wings. When a newly admitted teenaged girl commits suicide rather than deal with withdrawal, Lyda recognizes the symptoms and realizes that her drug has hit the streets. She arranges her own release, helps her lover (a paranoid ex-government agent) break out of the hospital, and tries to find out where the drug is coming from. Combining elements of near-future science fiction, cyber-thriller, and whodunit mystery, Daryl Gregory takes us on a pulse-racing, brain-bending adventure that reads like the enthusiastic retelling of a crazy acid trip--twisted and imaginative and frightening and funny and intense. Along the way we investigate drug-pushing churches, we double-cross a gang run by ruthless old ladies, we team up with Native American smugglers, we dodge a split-personality urban rancher, and perhaps most dangerous of all, we try to track down Lyda's old scientific team in search of answers. --Robin A. Rothman


Wickedly clever entertainment. (SF Gate (San Francisco Chronicle) on Pandemonium)

Part superhero fiction, part zombie horror story, and part supernatural thriller, this luminous and compelling tale deserves a wide readership beyond genre fans. (Library Journal, starred review, on Raising Stony Mayhall)

"A quietly brilliant second novel. . . . A wide variety of believable characters, a well-developed sense of place and some fascinating scientific speculation will earn this understated novel an appreciative audience among fans of literary SF." (Publishers Weekly, starred review, on The Devil's Alphabet)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (April 22, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765336928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765336927
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Daryl Gregory writes genre-mixing novels, short stories, and comics. His next novel is AFTERPARTY, a near-future story about consciousness, religion, and cutting-edge drugs that will be published by Tor Books in early 2014.

His first novel, PANDEMONIUM, appeared from Del Rey Books in 2008 and won the Crawford Award for 2009. It was also a finalist for several other awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award. It's a romp that takes in Jungian archetypes, superheroes, and demonic possession.

His second novel, 2009's THE DEVIL'S ALPHABET published by Del Rey Books, was named one of the best books of the year by Publisher's Weekly and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. The novel combines murder, quantum evolution, and religion in a small mountain town.

RAISING STONY MAYHALL, his third novel, also from Del Rey Books, appeared in 2011. It was named one of the best SF books of the year by Library Journal. It's a coming of age tale about the most polite living dead boy you'd ever want to meet.

Many of his stories are collected in UNPOSSIBLE AND OTHER STORIES, which was published by Fairwood Press in 2011. The collection named one of the best books of the year from Publisher's Weekly. Most of those stories appeared in Asimov's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and a variety of "year's best" anthologies and foreign editions. His story "Second Person, Present Tense" won the Asimov's Readers' Choice Award and was a Sturgeon finalist. The stories run the gamut from neuroscience to religion to superheroes.

Daryl lives in State College, Pennsylvania with his wife, a couple of teenagers, and a passive-aggressive dog. He's online at

Customer Reviews

That doesn’t seem to make sense, but it will when you read it, I promise.
I recommend this book for those who like sci fi, current events, thrillers, or technology-based reads.
I thought the premise of the book was very different and interesting and the main character was great.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Afterparty begins with a parable, which seems appropriate for a book that is about the intersection of science and God. Daryl Gregory's characters offer a variety of viewpoints about the nature of religious belief -- some have faith, some don't -- but the novel is intended to entertain, not to persuade the reader to adopt a particular viewpoint. The entertainment level is high -- humor is easy to mine from the subject matter, the plot offers the twists of a low-key thriller with a bit of near-future technology, and the characters are pleasant company -- while the underlying themes permit minds that are open to inquiry to interpret the novel's serious side in different ways.

Afterparty's protagonist is Lyda Rose, who begins the novel as a patient in a mental health institution. Lyda's issues include a history of drug abuse, unresolved grief for her dead wife, and an invisible companion. A teenage girl is admitted to the institution who had been living rough on the street until she found God, a discovery that followed her ingestion of a piece of paper that Pastor Rudy called Numinous. Lyda holds herself responsible for Numinous and she holds Numinous responsible for a very bad moment in her life, although her memory of that moment is incomplete.

Numinous was created by Little Sprout, a research company that Lyda and her friends founded to develop a drug that would spur the brain's production of neurotrophins with the goal of correcting the conditions that cause schizophrenia. A side effect of the drug makes the user believe in some version of God. It also makes the user feel God's presence, often accompanied by a visual image -- in Lyda's case, an angel. Overdose, as Lyda did, and the visual image never goes away.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Martha Freeman on April 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Daryl Gregory’s books are an argument for label-free literature. Those who claim uninterest in sci fi/fantasy do themselves a sad disservice if they pass up “Afterparty,” thinking it’s a genre book. What it is instead is literature – beautifully written, thoughtful and provocative – besides being a supremely entertaining and suspenseful mystery with both humor and heart. Many of the reviews already posted do a kickass job on the summary (this is a smarter than average group of reviewers – didja notice?), so I will only hit what I considered the highlights, which include Taliban granny druglords, a fried-on-meds gun-for-hire who loves only the miniature bison he raises in his Santa Monica apartment, a mute (but spunky!) child whose imaginary friends are more helpful than most, and an angel so magnificent (and powerful?) she seems to come direct from the Tony Kushner playbook.

The ripped-from-tomorrow’s headlines stuff about designer drugs’ being printed by everyman in the church storeroom didn’t interest me as much as it seems to interest other people. I mean, yeah, that’s gonna happen. What’s more fun to consider (and Gregory does) is the leveling potential. (Also, you might consider re-balancing your portfolio if you own a lot of Big Pharma.) In the end, the most profound question posed by “Afterparty” is not really whether God is just a manifestation of brain chemistry but whether it matters.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By The Every Free Chance Reader on April 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Did I enjoy this book: It was… interesting. You know how when someone asks how you’re doing they really just expect you to say, “good” so they can move the conversation forward without actually having to invest? Yeah. Well, when the intern asks what you’re reading as you wait for the doctor, you really ought to just say “a dystopian novel,” and leave it at that. She’s going to give you a weird look when you start chatting about printers that print drugs and godly hallucinations and imaginary friends, and by the time you get to the bit about the ex-assassin and the cigarette (yes, cigarette) smuggling and the logistics of how two women can grow a child with no sperm, her eyes are going to gloss over and she’s going to start thinking you’re a weirdo.

…and that’s the story of how I met my new gynecologist…

As for the book, I liked it. It wasn’t always written exactly clearly, and there were several moments when I considered giving up, but for the most part it was a decent, solid, quirky little book that kept me reading to the end.

Would I recommend it: As long as you don’t have issues with foul language or alternative lifestyles you’ll be good to go.

As reviewed by Melissa at Every Free Chance Book Reviews.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Christensen on April 23, 2014
Format: Hardcover
AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory is a near-future sci-fi thriller that explores what happens when anyone can cook up a batch of the latest designer drug–or create their own–in their garage. Overdoses, mental illness, and crime are at the heart of this novel, but before I make it sound like a real downer, I should point out that AFTERPARTY is funny, clever, fast-moving, and the characters really shine. I tore through this book, and recommend it highly.

AFTERPARTY begins with a parable (one of many in the book) of a young girl who experiments with a new drug, the Numinous, and experiences the divine. But when she goes through withdrawal while in detention, she commits suicide (this is on the rear cover, so I consider it a minor spoiler–in fact, I’ll just say this now MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD.). A fellow patient at the facility, Lyda Rose, recognizes the girl’s symptoms.

You see, years prior, Lyda was a biochemist trying to cure schizophrenia. But when her startup was celebrating their successful drug and eminent payday, the co-creators were drugged. Terrible things happened, and they were left with a permanent reminder of their overdose in the form of a religious hallucination permanently hovering over their shoulder, or in Lyda’s case, an angel named Dr. Gloria. Understandably, they agreed to keep this drug from ever hitting the streets. And even locked away, Lyda thought that agreement was still standing.

Lyda manages to get paroled to figure out which one of the co-founders is releasing Numinous.
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