OKTOBER by Stephen Gallagher


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A wild tale of an unscrupulous firm's manufacture of mind-altering drugs that go berserk, by the author of Chimera (1982). Accidentally zapped by a cattle prod while he's informally touring a research facility of pharmaceuticals conglomerate Risinger-Genoud--along with glamorous Rochelle Genoud, stepdaughter of the chairman, and his other rich-kid charges--amateur British teacher Jim Harper faces death unless his researchers inject him with an Epheteline, or EPL, an experimental drug they hope will stimulate his heart. When he doesn't seem to respond, they leave him for dead, and the company mops up the operation; but Jim survives to face: clandestine clinical tracking and treatment by the nefarious R-G as a victim of the Oktober project; monstrous dreams; and a dawning realization that some of his worst dreams come true--that he has the power to become ""king of fucking nightmare country."" He flees his rehabilitational placement in England when, following the death of lowlife Stephen Fedak, a friend of sympathetic Linda McKay, he realizes that Linda has been setting him up for R-G--and runs straight to Rochelle in France, where she keeps him under wraps and helps him and Fedak's buddy Terry Sacks tap into R-G's computer, leading him on until she can set him up herself. Stalwart Jim gets attacked by dogs, jailed, stabbed, chased through three countries, and dosed with all manner of drugs--but eventually manages to lock his R-G enemies into a nightmare chamber that would be more compelling if the events that led into it weren't so confused. Some powerful scenes--Gallagher is most intense when he stays inside Jim's head--compromised by consistently sloppy continuity. If this were a movie, the production stills would be the best part.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1989
Publisher: Tor--dist. by St. Martin's