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January 28, 2012 12:30 PM   Subscribe


 
I hadn't really thought of Inherent Vice as a pothead novel, but on reflection, it really is.

It's also a great in-door to Pynchon. Beware the Golden Fang!
posted by hippybear at 12:36 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never heard of The Fan Man. Anyone read it?
posted by mannequito at 1:02 PM on January 28, 2012


Daily Beast: The Best Stoner Novels
posted by stinkycheese at 1:03 PM on January 28, 2012


I was looking to see if The Fan Man was on there.

It's - how much do you like stream of consciousness stories?
posted by The Whelk at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Inherent Vice is great, I was so excited when I heard he had a new book out.
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 1:08 PM on January 28, 2012


I have never read stoned. I'm not sure I'd have the attention span. I'd probably re-read the same sentence thirty times.
posted by Malice at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Biblioklept: Six More Stoner Novels
posted by stinkycheese at 1:12 PM on January 28, 2012


Vineland is the real Pynchon pothead novel.

Is what I would say, but every Pynchon novel is a pothead novel. Even Mason & Dixon. Especially Mason & Dixon.
posted by lewedswiver at 1:15 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cannabis Culture: Summer Reading For Stoners
posted by stinkycheese at 1:16 PM on January 28, 2012


I'd probably re-read the same sentence thirty times.

ts;cr

(too stoned; can't read)
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:20 PM on January 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was also looking for the Fan Man, and was surprised to see it's inclusion. It's a very funny novel - it wouldn't take long to read (at least if you were straight).
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2012


I tried to read a Grisham novel once while I was doing my laundry, high. All the text on the first page kept hovering a few centimeters above of where they should have been. And while my rational mind realized that a book is very much two-dimensional, the black on white type just kept hovering, absurdly defying my grip on reality.

I did the natural thing and tried to see if there was any substance to be found between the lines but I found nothing underneath of the text, just cheap pulp.
posted by dubusadus at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Budding Prospects by TC Boyle?
posted by OmieWise at 1:28 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


For SOME people for whom some small doses of THC calm down a raging overclocked mind then THOSE PEOPLE can usually concentrate on dense texts and follow them better when slightly under the influence.
posted by The Whelk at 1:34 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Reading while stoned is a waste of time that could have been spent listening to music.
posted by Trurl at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


reading stone is not unlike driving stoned.
you move a little slower than normal, but tend to get where you're going with little incident. often as not, you have no clear memory of any of it.
posted by philip-random at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


No Illuminatus Trilogy? Just reading it gets you a contact high.
posted by Garm at 1:49 PM on January 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


Infinite Jest? Really? That's an anti-pothead novel if ever there was one. See the "Ken Erdedy waiting for his dealer" scene, not to mention what happens to Hal when he quits, and Kate Gompert's account of herself to the doctor. Sheesh. Wallace would've been annoyed by its inclusion here, I think.
posted by FrauMaschine at 2:09 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


No Illuminatus Trilogy? Just reading it gets you a contact high.

The closest you're allowed to get, I'm afraid, is the KLF's Chill Out.
posted by mykescipark at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is a po thead?
posted by wierdo at 2:23 PM on January 28, 2012


something something pink cloud
posted by The Whelk at 2:24 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Never heard of The Fan Man. Anyone read it?

William Kotzwinkle is a fascinating writer who has done fiction in almost any different genre imaginable. Most of his books have a pretty quirky individual point of view.

The Fan Man is not my favourite of his, but it does have some interesting moments, and it does have a stoner groove to it. An excerpt of it is in an Esquire's Best Short Stories Collection.

I have a fondness for his illustrated fantasy Herr Nightingale and The Satin Woman.
posted by ovvl at 2:33 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The greatest pot head novel is 'The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge' by Carlos Castaneda.
posted by bukvich at 3:24 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can White Light by Rudy Rucker not be included?
posted by Splunge at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2012


The greatest pot head novel is 'The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge' by Carlos Castaneda.

Is that really marijuana being used in that book? I had always thought it was psychedelic plants like mushrooms and peyote, not much pot at all.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on January 28, 2012


The drugs in the book are peyote and jimson weed. Castaneda and his readers were all potheads.

Peyote makes you puke and jimson weed can kill you dead. Have you ever heard of a peyote head or a jimson weed head?
posted by bukvich at 3:33 PM on January 28, 2012


Peyote does make you puke, but it's a groovy puke.
posted by hippybear at 3:35 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I was in high school (about 1970) a classmate lent me a strange book about a new psychedelic drug, which when taken allowed people to materialize the strange things they saw. There was some sort of battle at the climax where the stoners all took extra big doses of the stuff so they could use their hallucinations to fight against someone, I no longer remember who, and after the battle was over they were sitting around waiting for it all to end.

One of them looked at another and said, "I don't think we're going to come down."

It wasn't a very good book.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Correction: not all his readers, just all the ones I knew.
posted by bukvich at 3:37 PM on January 28, 2012


Anyway, it's pretty obvious from the link above that this particular definition of "pothead novel" involves depictions of people actually smoking marijuana as part of the story. If Don Juan isn't actually smoking pot in the book, it doesn't qualify.
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on January 28, 2012


That's pretty prescriptivist logic for a hippy, man.
posted by bukvich at 3:44 PM on January 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I collect vintage paperbacks, mostly sex books. There are about a million hippie books, which of course feature lots of drug use. Usually the drug themed books are about acid, but there are, like, ten that I know of exclusively about pot. None of them turn up very often, but I have four of them (NSFW). All of these are fake case histories, which was the most popular format for adult fiction at the time. I haven't read through any of them but Pot & Pleasure has a chapter about an interracial couple who smoke pot before having sex to calm their anxieties about miscegenation.
posted by vathek at 3:49 PM on January 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's obvious from the link in the FPP what the author of the linked piece is getting at with his selections.

If you can't see that, then I don't know what to tell you. I didn't write the piece linked at the top of this thread, and I'm not going to try to make a list of pothead books of my own, because it's not really a genre I care about.

If you have a passage you can quote from Castaneda's book which shows that it falls neatly in line with the rest of the list provided by the dankland blog post, I'll happily change my stance on the issue.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on January 28, 2012


Chocolate Pickle: "When I was in high school (about 1970) a classmate lent me a strange book about a new psychedelic drug, which when taken allowed people to materialize the strange things they saw. There was some sort of battle at the climax where the stoners all took extra big doses of the stuff so they could use their hallucinations to fight against someone, I no longer remember who, and after the battle was over they were sitting around waiting for it all to end.

One of them looked at another and said, "I don't think we're going to come down."

It wasn't a very good book.
"

The Butterfly Kid?
posted by Splunge at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love how much mefi loves the herb. it's saturday night and I'm smokin you all out.
posted by ninjew at 4:43 PM on January 28, 2012


I am making soup and I feel like a wizard
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on January 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


be warned, the amount of jimson weed it takes to stone you is almost the same amount it takes to kill you. my wife and i drank a cup of jimson tea once and wandered off to the neighborhood bar. the barkeep put a can of beer in front of me. i managed to get my hand around it, but after an hour had gone by i still hadn't managed to lift it to my lips. we stumbled home and the wife went to bed. i sat on the front porch talking to my irish wolfhound, who, at one point put his paw on the back of my hand and told me a number of things that seemed urgent and important to him, but in the morning i couldn't remember what they were.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


And then there's stoner noir: The Big Fix and the other Moses Wine novels by Roger L. Simon.
posted by ubiquity at 6:27 PM on January 28, 2012


Goats by Mark Poirier could be on that list. The first chapter is available at NYT, if you are prepared to log in
posted by Fat Buddha at 6:28 PM on January 28, 2012


It would seem there's three different areas here that could be called "stoner lit."

1. Stuff that was written by the author while he was stoned.

2. Stuff meant to be read while stoned.

3. Stuff that has stoner's being stoned and has stoner culture in it. (Those vintage hippy-sex novel covers are a trip and a hoot.)

There's also subgroups in there, I mean what if you're reading a book written by an author who was stoned when s/he wrote the book, and the reader's stoned and it's about stoned culture?

Oh no. That hurt-y my head.

Anyhow, I can't read when I'm stoned cos, each sentence becomes a world I get stuck in, and I can't write while I'm stoned cos I don't trust my instincts or criteria. Reading about stoner culture is okay, if I'm not stoned and neither was the writer when he wrote it.
posted by Skygazer at 6:44 PM on January 28, 2012


Genres are tags, okay? So there's stoner literary fiction and stoner porn and stoner daytime soap operas.
posted by LogicalDash at 7:06 PM on January 28, 2012


the amount of jimson weed it takes to stone you is almost the same amount it takes to kill you

I've heard the same thing about GHB. Side note, this crap chart puts GHB and Khat (which causes mouth cancer) at a lower level of physical harm than cannabis.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:07 PM on January 28, 2012


the amount of jimson weed it takes to stone you is almost the same amount it takes to kill you

Actually, the thing about jimson weed is that the active ingredients aren't evenly distributed throughout the plant, so two people can be dosing off the exact same plant and one will get basically none of the interesting stuff while the other person gets WAY too much of it. That is why it is dangerous -- it's nearly impossible to control dosage because of its inconsistency.

Anyway, from what I understand, it's one of the least pleasant highs one can experience. You're better off with some boiled San Pedro cactus or something -- at least that will give you a peyote-like experience and is a lot more predictable overall, and generally doesn't have an LD50 which one can approach easily.
posted by hippybear at 7:19 PM on January 28, 2012


My favorite stoner book is in Spanish, by Jose Agustin. It is a laugh out loud book set in a beach during the Mexican counterculture of the early 70s. The action takes place in 24 hours. If one smokes a joint every time the protagonist does, the book takes about 24 hours to read. It is my favorite sunny weekend in the park book.

I will have to read something from thus list.

You can get floripiondios at any nursery here. I also know a few patches of Am Anita mushroom in San Francisco by the Cathedral and in San Bruno in an office park. The produce pounds of fruit every year. Those too become nasty at doses very close to the recreational ones. Scary stuff.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 9:01 PM on January 28, 2012


....stoner porn and stoner daytime soap operas.

Stoner daytime porn soap operas sounds good.
posted by Skygazer at 9:07 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Splunge, I think that's the one. I'll be damned if I know why it was nominated for a Hugo, though; my memory is that it was really stupid.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:13 PM on January 28, 2012


I like this thread, it is like the metafilter take on /r/trees. Just waiting for someone to post a pic of their bong.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:40 PM on January 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, books in which people smoke pot aren't for stoners. Those are for the straight people.
posted by telstar at 10:17 PM on January 28, 2012


Bongs are so 20th century, here, have a lollipop.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 PM on January 28, 2012


Yeah I guess edibles and vaporizers are the done thing now.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:24 PM on January 28, 2012


You can get floripiondios at any nursery here.

Here's a description of a floripondio trip from Wikipedia, by a naturalist observing shamanic use in the native growing region (Andes):

"Soon after drinking the Tonga, the man fell into a dull brooding, he stared vacantly at the ground, his mouth was closed firmly, almost convulsively and his nostrils were flared. Cold sweat covered his forehead. He was deathly pale. The jugular veins on his throat were swollen as large as a finger and he was wheezing as his chest rose and sank slowly. His arms hung down stiffly by his body. Then his eyes misted over and filled with huge tears and his lips twitched convulsively for a brief moment. His carotids were visibly beating, his respiration increased and his extremities twitched and shuddered of their own accord. This condition would have lasted about a quarter of an hour, then all these actions increased in intensity. His eyes were now dry but had become bright red and rolled about wildly in their sockets and all his facial muscles were horribly distorted. A thick white foam leaked out between his half open lips. The pulses on his forehead and throat were beating too fast to be counted. His breathing was short, extraordinarily fast and did not seem to lift the chest, which was visibly fibrillating. A mass of sticky sweat covered his whole body which continued to be shaken by the most dreadful convulsions. His limbs were hideously contorted. He alternated between murmuring quietly and incomprehensibly and uttering loud, heart-rending shrieks, howling dully and moaning and groaning."
posted by msalt at 10:59 PM on January 28, 2012


I came to see if this was on the list.
It was not.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:25 AM on January 29, 2012


I know this is an obvious pick, but I think A Scanner Darkly had some smoking in it. And like most of PKD's novels, it's pretty great.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:59 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


From 'A Scanner Darkly':
"Barris had his other way to smuggle dope across the border. You know how the customs guys, they ask you to declare what you have? And you can't say dope because--"

"Okay, how?"

"Well, see, you take a huge block of hash and carve it in the shape of a man. Then you hollow out a section and put a wind-up motor like a clockworks in it, and a little cassette tape, and you stand in line with it, and then just before it goes through customs you wind up the key and it walks up to the customs man, who says to it, 'Do you have anything to declare?' and the block of hash says, 'No, I don't,' and keeps on walking. Until it runs down on the other side of the border."

"You could put a solar-type battery in it instead of a spring and it could keep walking for years. Forever."

"What's the use of that? It'd finally reach either the Pacific or the Atlantic. In fact, it'd walk off the edge of the Earth, like--"

"Imagine an Eskimo village, and a six-foot-high block of hash worth about--how much would that be worth?"

"About a billion dollars."

"More. Two billion."

"These Eskimos are chewing hides and carving bone spears, and this block of hash worth two billion dollars comes walking through the snow saying over and over, 'No, I don't.'"

"They'd wonder what it meant by that."

"They'd be puzzled forever. There'd be legends."

"Can you imagine telling your grandkids, 'I saw with my own eyes the six-foot-high block of hash appear out of the blinding fog and walk past, that way, worth two billion do!lars, saying, "No, I don't." 'His grandchildren would have him committed."

"No, see, legends build. After a few centuries they'd be saying, 'In my forefathers' time one day a ninety-foot-high block of extremely good quality Afghanistan hash worth eight trillion dollars came at us dripping fire and screaming, "Die, Eskimo dogs!" and we fought and fought with it, using our spears, and finally killed it.'

"The kids wouldn't believe that either."

"Kids never believe anything any more."
---------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah, I'd say that qualifies.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:26 AM on January 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have completely lost track of the amount of time I have spent describing the walking-block-of-hash scene to stoners. Partially because I am generally quite stoned when it comes up, but also because it comes up a lot.
posted by brennen at 6:22 AM on January 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll be damned if I know why it was nominated for a Hugo, though; my memory is that it was really stupid.

I read Butterfly Kid way back in the day and did not find it stupid.

As I recall, it was very much written from within the hippie subculture and was mostly a lighthearted stoner romp through what amounted to a psychedelic war. And then, as things climaxed, it got quite twisted/unsettling indeed.

SPOILER ALERT

Imagine a hallucination where you're suddenly being viciously attacked by a horde of beautiful pre-teen children, and the only way to counter them is via a hallucination of your own (specifically, a machine gun).
posted by philip-random at 9:17 AM on January 29, 2012


Red Dirt Marijuana is not a pothead novel. It is a collection of short storied and essays, some of which feature some pot smoking and one of which (quoted in TFA ) is all about the ganj.

Terry Southern's pothead novel is Blue Movie.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:10 PM on January 29, 2012


Yeah, 'A Scanner Darkly' definitely belongs on that list.

Also, possibly:
'Hylozoic' by Rudy Rucker (as mentioned)
'Vurt' by Jeff Noon
'A Time of Changes' by Robert Silverberg
'The Futurological Congress' by Stanislaw Lem

If the short story 'No Direction Home' by Norman Spinrad was adapted into a novel, it would be on this list.
posted by ovvl at 1:48 PM on January 29, 2012


With Paul Bowles is on the list, it can't hurt to add Brion Gysin's The Process.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 4:53 PM on January 29, 2012


I can't believe this post has been up over 24 hours and no one has mentioned Cosmic Banditos; Google Books excerpt. It ranks up there with Confederacy of Dunces as one of the most hilarious books I have read.

Also, this AskMe isn't limited to pot, but has a bunch of books with a similar theme.
posted by TedW at 5:17 PM on January 29, 2012


Reading high can be done, and is quite enjoyable with some soft music in the background. I would know, its how I got my BS and am working on my Masters.

Good post btw.
posted by handbanana at 7:40 AM on January 30, 2012


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