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Pharmacology Paperback – December 6, 2011

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Editorial Reviews Review

"In a word: Mind-blowing....An intriguing fusion of poignant coming-of-age tale and skull crushing social commentary....Powered by a soundtrack featuring Public Enemy, Jeru the Damaga, and Digable Planets,Pharmacology is one of those cool “full immersion reads."--Unabashedly Bookish,

"This gripping novel, written in an eye-catching style that many have already compared to Chuck Palahniuk, will suck readers in and keep them hooked until the very end. The story is unique, the depictions of 90s-era San Francisco are gritty and real, and the main character is a fascinating, multifaceted study of human morality."-- San Francisco Book Review

"Pharmacology is a bold and edgy dive into a world dominated by corporate greed that eventually consumes the person who seeks to expose it." -- Neon Tommy, Annenberg Digital News

"Pharmacology is urban fiction with an edge, it paints a view of the city of San Francisco not usually seen by the tourist or even most of its dwellers. It walks us into a world of characters that do not fit the mold and are accepting of each other's limitations, and shows us the world through their eyes and their motivations. It does not demonize the sub-culture but rather humanizes it - these are multi-layered characters defined by the sum of their parts and not by a single characteristic or trait. Pharmacology is a must read."--MariaS, Flair

"Herz's incisive look into the early days of the internet and his skewering of the fear tactics used by the pharmaceutical conglomerates includes some of the most eccentric supporting characters I have ever encountered." --Emily Ruben, Author of Stalina

"Christopher Herz’s gadfly of a novel, Pharmacology, rips the gauze from our romantic notions about the dawn of the digital era. Like Sarah Striker, we fall in love with 1990s San Francisco, peopled with heroin-addicted vampires, bicycle messengers on social crusades, and graffiti artists who go legit for six-figure salaries at technology start-ups. But there’s always a price to pay, especially when Sarah discovers that the underground drug trade and above-board pharmaceutical industry are selling the same thing: ephemeral, chemical cures for being human. In Pharmacology, Philip K. Dick’s futures have become our glorified, recent past and ubiquitous present, and Sarah must choose whether to inhale another glass-shard line of clickable pleasure, or to swim against the rising tide of spurious information for a shore that can actually be walked upon barefoot. In the quiet spaces of this brilliant, kinetic narrative, Herz poses a bracing question: what happens to a society that pays this generation’s subversives handsomely to medicate the next generation’s subversives out of existence?" -Harold Taw author of Adventures of the Karoke King

From Booklist

"Set in 1993 amid the dawning of email technology and America's pharmaceutical revolution, Herz's (The Last Block in Harlem 2010) energetic novel examines the parallels between fringe culture and family devotion....Hip, frenetic narration....Herz's social observations are often keen and apt." --Booklist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (December 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612181384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612181387
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,951,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Herz took to selling copies of his first book, The Last Block in Harlem, on the streets of New York. His unorthodox efforts and fresh contemporary prose garnered the attention of media outlets everywhere, earning him an early spot on the AmazonEncore roster. AmazonEncore then republished the book to critical acclaim, and his novel Pharmacology was released a year later.

Herz is a graduate of the San Francisco State University creative writing program and a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, where he writes extensively on art and culture. Born in New York City, Herz grew up in California, the setting for his searing portrait of American life, Hollywood Forever. He now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Maria Snell on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Pharmacology by Christopher Herz can be read two ways: you can focus on the (apparently) main story; or you can look for the deeper meaning and realize that the (apparently) main story is a background, a setting, for the real story going on.

Pharmacology is the story of Sarah Striker. As in Christopher Herz's first book, The Last Block in Harlem, Pharmacology has layers. At first sight, it may seem that Pharmacology is about the Pharmacy industry and the advent of the Internet in the early 90's in San Francisco - and what part the fictional character Sarah Striker played in those events.

We meet Sarah when she discovers that her dad has cancer and her plans to go to college vanish into thin air. She moves from Kansas City, Missouri to San Francisco to earn a living and help out with her dad's mounting medical bills. She moves into a house where she lives with a couple of vampires and several drug addicts, and starts working at a cafe. She also starts publishing a zine. When she finds herself without a job again, she decides to go work for the pharmaceutical industry and expose its dealings in her zine.

But, in reality, Pharmacology is about life on the streets of San Francisco in the early 90's. Pharmacology takes us into the world of vampires, strip clubs, dungeons, graffiti artists, drug addicts and on the streets of San Francisco at night and during the early dawn hours. Pharmacology is a story about loneliness and deception, about human interaction and human dependency, it is a book about love and about perceptions of reality. It is a book about searching - searching for your place in the world, searching for answers, searching for love, searching for life's meaning.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Heather Boyd on December 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For those of you who lived life through trial and error in the 90's, Pharmacology offers you an opportunity to shake your head and remember all of those experiences that should have left you rocking in a fetal position in the corner.

Christopher Herz takes you for a joy ride into the coming of age of twentysomethings in San Francisco circa 1993. The author exposes a very real sub culture of executives with a penchant for dominance and a group of vampires for hire more than willing to sate their cravings for the right price.

He introduces us to life in the cube, jacked into a computer and head set when people were still reliant upon bike messengers to transport documents. Ahhhh, what ever did we do before email and hand held devices? He holds our hand as we pass the threshold into the digital age and leave our sanity and attention span behind under the guise of progress.

This novel is different from anything else that is out there right now because it is truthful. There is an honesty that resonates in his writing, a truth that emerges through his characters and the world they are forging. The author depicts how lost we really are when we feel we are in the most control of our destiny.

Pharmacology forces you to question why you are taking those over the counter drugs that you can't seem to get through life without. You begin to question advertising and marketing tactics. You begin to question life and how you fit into it. He forces you to think and evolve through contemplation.

Pharmacology offers a look into the past to shed light on our present and future.

If you only pick up one book this year, Pharmacology needs to be THE book.

Read this from cover to cover, then repeat and pass it on!

You will not be disappointed.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Christina Zawadiwsky on December 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Christopher Herz is all about the truth. And the truth is, corporations are studying us (no, we're not paranoid and it's not a conspiracy theory) to find out what we like and what we're like, and are urging us to buy drugs from doctors to treat diseases we may or may not have (and which they may even have created in us). The sub-theme of this book, about a young girl in San Francisco in the 90s who's trying to forge her own voice with a "zine" and send money home for her Pops who has cancer, is interesting and a flight back into time, but the main theme is what happens to her when she's hired by a corporation to study others - and finds that she's being studied herself! Deftly written and with resounding truth backing up this "fiction" (Herz used to be in the advertising business himself, and I'm sure he knows), this is an important book that you should read to find out about what's happening - on our computers, right before our very eyes!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dani Larcom on April 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can't even remember how I came across this book. It might have been a Kindle recommendation based on other downloads . . . anyway, I'm glad I read it! Solid 4 stars!

I don't typically give a synopsis of the story when I do my reviews, you can do that work for yourself. I'll just give ya what I liked.

This book had a little of a lot of things. It had some intrigue, some romance, some drugs, some modern day urban vampire wierdness. Most of all it had a good solid story. AND it made you THINK!! How many books these days really make you do that anymore, huh? When I put this book down I found myself thinking, do the drug companies really make up their own illnesses? How is that legal? I've always thougt ADD was overdiagnosed, but how much of this book is really based in truth, I'm not sure. I think I'm afraid to know the truth.
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