Under the Nightby Published 01 Jan 1970
|Under the Night.pdf|
|Publisher||Faber & Faber|
1950s Manhattan - Ad man Ned Sweeney finds himself an unwitting participant in MK Ultra trials, the CIA's covert study of psychoactive drugs. The experiment introduces him to MDT-48, a mind-expanding smart drug, which takes him away from his wife and young son and straight to the corridors of the richest and most powerful people of his day.
But before long, Ned is dead.
Over 60 years later, Ned's grandson, Ray, meets Clay Proctor - a retired government official who may be able to illuminate not only Ned's life and death, and also the truth behind the mysterious MDT-48.
Both a sequel and prequel to Alan Glynns classic debut, which became the #1 hit movie Limitless, Under the Night is an irresistible thriller about the seductive power and dangers of unlocking the human mind.
Under the Night Reviews
7/10 - It's a good read and I was glued to read it all the way through to the end. That said, I don't think that it's as good as the first book and the concepts are not as compelling or thought-provoking.
Alan Glynn’s Receptor is a wow of a thriller. That may be surprising because, generally speaking, books that come out in January are crappy. The holidays are done, everyone’s back at work, and nobody has time for reading again, right? Well, for a January book, Receptor is a novel that should be read by anyone with a passing interest in the thriller genre. It’s actually the sequel to the book Limitless, which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Bradley Cooper before he was really famous and, later, was made into a TV show. Here’s the thing: the book doesn’t read like a sequel. I wouldn’t have known it was the sequel to anything unless someone told me. The novel stands on its own.
There are really two competing stories in this read. The first is the story of Ned Sweeney, an early ’50s advertising executive in New York who is given a dose of an experimental drug called MDT-48. The hows and wheres and whys aren’t really important — at least, not too much for this narrative, which sometimes asks you to fill in the gaps. The thing is, MDT-48 is a smart drug that enhances human intelligence. Within minutes of taking the drug, Sweeney is suddenly hobnobbing with the likes of Marlon Brando and Marlyn Monroe, as well as civic leaders such as Robert Moses. What’s more, Sweeny’s able to hold his own intellectually with them. When the drug wears off, Sweeny will do anything to get another dose, even if it puts his family and work life at risk.
The second story is the tale of Sweeney’s grandson, Ray, who is in the political game of helping congresspeople win elections through data mining and such things. Well, Ray’s client, a congresswoman, has a father who wants to meet him. It turns out that the man, Clay Porter, knew Ray’s grandfather — and also knows that his grandfather’s early death was not a suicide. Ray gets pulled into the narrative stream of his grandfather’s life, until the two stories co-mingle and merge eventually.
Read the rest of the review here: https://medium.com/@zachary_houle/a-r...
This book is well worth a read as a follow up to Limitless, it explores the hypnotizing effects and consequences of MDT-48 from a series of new perspectives and timezones, mainly the 1960's and our current day.
It's nice to take another dive into the possibilities of the drug and our minds, the new narratives and characters provide a much deeper history of the drug whilst melding the lives of two distant relatives together in an uncany parallel. There's a fair few mentions and occasional crossover moments from the previous book which is exciting, and it answers a few questions that were left over from before.
I did miss the first person intensity of Limitless and would have to say that the explosive and unpredictable nature of that book weren't quite matched here (for me), but it was a good read and I feel like it's been positioned well for another sequel which I'll preorder if it happens. I'd reccomend for any fans of the first book, though I can't picture it to have quite as much pull towards a new reader without the context of #1.
I'm reviewing here (possibly??) for the first time because I really do appreciate the dive Alan took heading back into this world, I hope there are more.
The plot for this novel is based on the known fact that the CIA experimented on US citizens with mind-altering drugs without the citizens' knowledge. The fictional mind-altering drug, MDT-48, is still being produced but is only available to a select few. The effort to keep the drug hidden while other people want to use it makes this novel an interesting read. I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway program.
Receptor from Alan Glynn is a sequel (sorta) to Limitless/The Dark Fields. It might be more accurate to say it takes place in the same world and answers many of the questions the other book raised but not necessarily a straightforward sequel. But that is mostly beside the point because this novel can easily be read as a standalone.
The story itself is told in 2 timelines, contemporary and the 1950s. The action is fast paced and keeps the reader wanting to learn more. In broad terms, there is governmental experimentation on civilians, plenty of conspiracies (and conspiracy theories), and even some family drama/interest in the story. Those alone would make this a fun read and well worth the time.
The real fun part, I think, is how the area of cognitive enhancement is explored. The topic is hotly debated, especially in the US, and research often avoids the term enhancement in their proposals in order to gain federal grant money. This book, coupled with Limitless, looks at many of the dark possibilities of cognitive enhancement run amok. Reading, and then thinking, about future possibilities is both interesting and can serve the useful function of helping to consider proper guidelines as research and, maybe, implementation becomes possible. Even aside from any pragmatic aspect, looking at the dark side of any scientific development makes for an exciting "what if" scenario.
I would recommend this to anyone who would enjoy a fast-paced story that considers either a conspiracy theory about what has been done or a what if about what could happen. I would think that anyone who has an interest in neuroethics would also enjoy this, I have forwarded this suggestion to 2 professors I know in that field and hope to discuss it with them at some point.
Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads.