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Recent Reviews
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Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics
by Allan Hunt Badiner & Alex Grey (eds.)
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by free agent .rez
7/5/2005

Zig Zag Zen explores the intricate relationship between Buddhism and psychedelics in the West. There are several ways to approach reviewing a book like Zig Zag Zen, because books affect people for different reasons at different points in their lives. There was a time when I would have read this book as a metaprogrammer, experimenting with psychedelics and ... [ read more ]

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The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs
by Marcus Boon
Publisher:
Harvard Univ. Press 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Ashley Crawford
6/30/2005

There is something a little bit scary about reading The Road of Excess -– this meticulous exploration of the influence of narcotics on literature is like a late night literary overdose.

The author, Marcus Boon, is Assistant Professor of English at York University in Toronto, and his academic background shines through without bogging down this intriguing subject.

Where it becomes scary ... [ read more ]

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Towards an Archaeology of the Soul: A Paratheatrical Workbook
by Antero Alli & Friends
Publisher:
Vertical Pool 
Year:
2003 
Reviewed by Scotto
6/27/2005

Antero Alli’s Towards an Archaeology of the Soul is not an easy book to read, and this is perhaps best explained by the book’s subtitle: A Paratheatrical Workbook. Every page of this book asks you to get up and do, which can be quite a challenge to take sitting down.

Inspired by the groundbreaking laboratory theatre approach of Jerzy Grotowski, ... [ read more ]

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The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place
by Ian Baker
Publisher:
Penguin Press 
Year:
2004 
Reviewed by Corrie
6/24/2005

In his recent book, The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place, Buddhist seeker and explorer Ian Baker delivers 500+ pages of well-researched background and detailed travelogues recounting his quest for Shangri-La. We follow Baker and his companions on three separate journeys into Pemako, a perilous and isolated region of Tibet. Baker’s major geographical discovery ... [ read more ]

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Drugs and the Brain
by Solomon H. Snyder
Publisher:
Scientific American Books 
Year:
1986, 1996 
Reviewed by La Malice
6/20/2005

Did you know that heroin was once legally sold as a cough syrup, that lithium (the same thing I put in my watch?) is the magical drug for bi-polar disorders though no one can explain how it works? That cocaine, after being advocated by Freud, was as popular then in the pharmacies as Valium is today? That the ... [ read more ]

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Digital Mantras: The Languages of Abstract and Virtual Worlds
by Steven R. Holtzman
Publisher:
MIT Press 
Year:
1994 
Reviewed by moonchilde
6/16/2005

The first half of Digital Mantras creates an historical backdrop upon which the author splashes his vision of the next wave of art and knowledge and, in the end, of reality. It weaves together discussions of language, philosophy, music, and visual art, both in theory and in practice. The second half of the book delves into the present ... [ read more ]

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Emperors Of Dreams: Drugs in the Nineteenth Century
by Mike Jay
Publisher:
Dedalus 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Erik Davis
6/13/2005

There are two dominant attitudes toward modernity inside contemporary drug culture, and both of them, in almost diametrically opposed ways, attempt to slip outside of our history, that engulfing tsunami of politics and commodities, technology and cultural memes that make up the West. On the one hand you have the romantic turn ... [ read more ]

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Seven Experiments That Could Change the World (A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Revolutionary Science)
by Rupert Sheldrake
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Tonx
6/9/2005

A cursory glance at the areas of inquiry of researcher Rupert Sheldrake might set off some skepticism alarms: paranormal events, morphogenetic fields, psychic phenomenon involving pets. But Sheldrake is careful to not sound like a quack in a book that asks to be taken seriously by both scientists and inquisitive laymen. In Seven Experiments That Could Change the World, ... [ read more ]

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A Long Strange Trip
by Dennis McNally
Publisher:
Broadway 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Donut
6/6/2005

I remember being surprised when I first encountered resistance after bringing up the Grateful Dead in conversation among younger members of the psychedelic community. Even in light of some annoying public perceptions shaped by the embarrassing behavior of part of their audience and their own personal disintegration towards the end, I always assumed that their crucial contributions to the tapestry ... [ read more ]

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The Heroin User’s Handbook
by Francis Moraes
Publisher:
Loompanics Unlimited 
Year:
2001 
Reviewed by Llew
6/2/2005

The Heroin User’s Handbook, by Francis Moraes, bills itself as neither “glorifying nor demonizing the drug.” The words “Don’t Try Heroin” are printed in bold across the middle of the very first page. But the last page of the book lists the “Ten Commandments of Responsible Heroin Use” and the pages in between are completely crammed with ... [ read more ]