LINKS by Charles Panati


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Ben West, parapsychologist, gets carried away by his latest experiment and thinks he's in for at least a Nobel. See, West and his hypnotic subjects have agreed upon a scale for depth of trance: it goes from one to a hundred, and a hypnotized subject, when asked, will give the exact degree of trance he or she is in. One day West's fiancee Alison and a graduate student named Stan, who ate developing a kind of ping-pong form of mutual hypnosis (you take me under, then order me to take you under, then I take you and you me again and me you again and so on), go down to an abyssal trance depth of 210. Which is to say right off the scale and perilously close to suspended animation. The trouble is that Stan once underwent clinical death and was recovered, but not before he entered a cave where the ego is cast off and death holds no fear, Now that he's down there regularly, he's subliminally trying to get Alison to run away with him to set up permanent housekeeping in that brilliantly lighted cave. Back at the university, Alison's having blackouts and dissociation episodes. When Alison and Stan actually die, Ben has to go down to the cave after them. Got that? ""Intriguing"" idea lamely rendered, with none of the fantastic clarity of lucid dreaming or out-of-body experiences.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 1978
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin