America in 1963 is a country at a crossroads: Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis, the sexual revolution, FBI, CIA, LSD - and a promise of change offered by a new President, John F Kennedy. Some people believe in the future. Other conspire to control it. Chandler Forrestal is a man whose life is changed forever when he is unwittingly dragged into a CIA mind-control experiment. After being given a massive dose of LSD, Chandler develops a frightening array of mental powers. With his heightened perception he uncovers a plot to assassinate President Kennedy. Chased by the dark powers of world government, will Chandler be able to harness his 'shift' and rewrite history?
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Max Brooks Reviews Shift
Max Brooks, bestselling author of Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, reviews Shift:
Did LSD kill JFK?
That's the seemingly strange question Heroes creator Tim Kring asks in Shift, the first volume of The Gate of Orpheus trilogy, which made headlines in New York and Hollywood when it was announced in early 2008.
The half century since John F. Kennedy died in Dallas have seen a lot of strange theories about how the 35th president of the United States was killed--plots by the CIA, the Mafia, the Cubans, the Russians, and even LBJ--but this has to be a first.
The CIA's experiments with LSD as part of its Cold War MK-Ultra program have been well documented (Acid Dreams; Storming Heaven). The spy agency's scientists were looking for drugs that could be used as incapacitants, truth serums, and mind control agents. Some people say their inspiration was another novel--The Manchurian Candidate--and the program was obviously a big influence on Robert Ludlum's immensely popular Jason Bourne series. Now Kring pushes it one step further, proposing a successor to MK-Ultra, Project Orpheus, whose goal was the creation, not of a sleeper agent, but a super agent.
Enter Chandler Forrestal, a perfectly normal, even slightly boring guy (he's a graduate student in Harvard's religious studies program) whose life is forever changed when he goes home with a beautiful, exotic woman, Naz Haverman. Little does Chandler know that Naz is working for Project Orpheus. She slips some LSD into Chandler's drink, and the next thing we know Chandler is not just seeing things, but seeing things he's pulled out of Naz's mind. Confused and scared, the pair run to Millbrook, New York, where Timothy Leary has just set up his now-infamous "research colony" to explore LSD's potential. But CIA agents track them down, take Chandler into custody, and begin a set of harrowing experiments that set Chandler on a course that eventually--inevitably, it seems--culminates in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Fans of the Jason Bourne series, as well as Heroes' sci-fi angle, will be drawn to Kring's fiction debut, co-written with literary critic and sometime thriller writer Dale Peck (Hatchet Jobs; Body Surfing). With colorful cameos from the likes of J. Edgar Hoover, Timothy Leary, and Sam Giancana, Shift is definitely a "trip" worth taking.
Tim Kring is an acclaimed screenwriter and television producer. He is the creator and executive producer of Heroes. Dale Peck is the author of nine books, including most recently the novels Body Surfing and Sprout.
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