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What Do You Mean It Wasnt Made On Drugs / Literature

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  • The Abarat series. Seems Clive Barker painted 300 oil paintings containing very weird characters and settings. Then he came up with a story for them to "live in".
  • There is a persistent belief (even on this very wiki page, see below) that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland while stoned out of his mind on opium or hallucinogens. The book contains scenes of mushrooms causing Alice to grow and shrink, talking animals, a caterpillar smoking a hookah, the list goes on. The argument is unfortunately pure fantasy, since Carroll was by all accounts an upstanding, devout, model Victorian of the upper-middle class and not the sort of person to experiment with mind-altering substances. He didn't even drink! All instances of "drug references" can be easily explained away by pointing out that Alice is both a children's book and a satire of Victorian society. Many of the characters are direct references to people Alice and Carroll knew personally.
    • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865. During this time heroin and cocaine were a common ingredient in cough medicine, coca-cola, and other things. It is possible for him to have used one of these substances during his writing of Alice.
    • For example, the caterpillar smokes a hookah because he is a satire of British generals of the day, many of whom lived in India and indulged in opium.
    • There are many MANY interpretations of those books. One says it's a satire of Victorian society, another says it's a Freudian tract disguised as a children's book. One says it was actually meant to be a horror story disguised as a children's book. The list goes on and on and on. That's how messed up it is.
    • There is a marvelous book titled The Annotated Alice that gives footnotes and references for all the analogies, allegories, and logic puzzles in the Alice stories, edited by famed mathematical puzzles dude Martin Gardner. Suffice to say, the annotations contain nearly as much text as the original stories.
    • Also 'Alice in Sunderland', which shows how merely growing up in the city of Sunderland could cover it all; local legend, people, and history.
    • Another theory is that it was making fun of the newfangled and confusing mathematical concepts being invented at the time. The theory is that Lewis created Wonderland to give an idea of the sheer insanity one would find in a world built on such patently ludicrous ideas. One of the hallmarks of the Alice books is taking things to their illogical conclusion. This also describes a standard mathematical technique - proof by contradiction. Carroll's actual job was lecturing in mathematics and logic.
    • One hypothesis concerning some of the odder characters is that they were inspired by hallucinations brought on by migraine headaches.
    • The scenes where Alice gets bigger/smaller are supposedly based off the author's own experiences; he reportedly suffered from what's now (colloquially) known as Lewis Carroll Syndrome, a mental disorder where an ordinary object, for example a tea cup, is seen as either much bigger (e.g., the size of a car) or much smaller (like in a child's tea set) than it actually is.
  • The short story "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard"... if it wasn't written while the author was high... The quest for the Abba Dingo on a floating highway surrounded by clouds and the machine at the end engraves messages in people's hands.
  • Several books in Animorphs pop this question into readers' minds. #36: The Mutation (Atlantis!) and #39: The Hidden (Buffalo!) come to mind.
  • Sections of American Psycho seem to delve into this trope. The protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is a massive consumer of drugs, which was heavily inspired by Bret Easton Ellis's own life.
  • Isaac Asimov's poem "I Just Make Them Up, See!" describes "Dr A" being accosted by someone who wants to know the secret of where he gets his wacky ideas, and who seems to have narrowed it down to drugs, booze or indigestion nightmares.
  • Chapter 3 of Brave New World starts out normally enough (as normal as Brave New World ever is), but quickly becomes so fragmented and random (cutting from one scene to another with increasing frequency, finally becoming a sequence of disjointed one-sentence paragraphs) that the reader gets the distinct impression that the author was indulging in some hallucinogenic substances while writing it. Considering that the author in question is Aldous Huxley, this is definitely a possibility.
    • Huxley claimed not to have used psychedelics before 1953 and Brave New World was written in 1931. For Island (which Huxley regarded as a follow-up to Brave New World), however, the inspiration by hallucinogens is definitely a possibility (especially as drug use for entheogenic purposes and self-knowledge is endorsed in this novel).
  • Averted by William S. Burroughs, who admitted that everything he wrote was in at least in some part autobiographical of his drug episodes and the times in between. He's the main character of Junkie, after all.
    • Parts of Naked Lunch, probably, were written while Burroughs was still an opiate addict (not by design, but as a matter of need). His preferred creative tool was majoun (highly-concentrated cannabis cooked into a sort of candy; think of it as pot brownies turned Up to Eleven). Even this drug use was primarily for imagination- and imagery-producing-enhancement; during sessions geared more toward production and editing, he was sober (mostly).
    • Burroughs and his biographers created a myth of the young outlaw junkie-poet gathering experiences (both mind-blowing and degrading) to be committed to paper during his later, more sensible years. In fact Burroughs—like so many "ex-junkies"—never entirely lost his desire for narcotics. Only now—after his death—are more complex truths becoming apparent: he had significant relapses into opiate use. Which was not an impairment to the degree one might expect.
  • Subverted with the novels of Wilkie Collins and the poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which actually were written on drugs.
    • The poem "Kubla Khan" might have been a lot longer had Samuel Coleridge not been interrupted from his writing of it by the infamous "person from Porlock". He had taken two grains of opium before he put pen to paper, and the vision faded while he was desperately trying to get said Porlock resident to leave.

  • Most books by Philip K. Dick. Some particularly notable examples include The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch and A Scanner Darkly, but it really applies to nearly all of his books. He reportedly never used LSD, but had hallucinations anyway (epilepsy or schizophrenia are possible causes). He wrote all of his books published before 1970 on amphetamines (ironically A Scanner Darkly was the first full novel NOT to be written on them), which enabled him to write incredibly quickly, sometimes towards 60 pages of finished copy per day. He was also got mixed up with the 1970s drug culture - the basis for A Scanner Darkly.
    Ah, well, my writing falls into two degrees, the writing done under the influence of drugs and the writing I've done when I'm not under the influence of drugs. But when I'm not under the influence of drugs I write about drugs. I took amphetamines for years in order to get energy to write. I had to write so much in order to make a living because our pay rates were so low. In five years I wrote sixteen novels, which is incredible. I mean, nobody, I don't think anybody's ever done it before. And without amphetamines I couldn't have written that much. But as soon as I began to earn enough money so that I didn't have to write so many books, I stopped taking amphetamines. So now I don't take anything like that. And I never wrote anything under the influence of psychedelics. For instance, Palmer Eldritch I wrote without ever having even seen psychedelic drugs.Philip K. Dick
    • His most famous novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and its movie adaptation, Blade Runner, is one of his LEAST messed up works, yet can still be hard for many people to follow. This lead to the studio forcing Harrison Ford to record rather horrible narration to explain what was going on. Except that half the time it explained something completely different, making the movie even trippier if you actually pay attention.
  • Frank Herbert was also no stranger to mind-expanding substances, and they're included in some form, usually as a central theme, in every one of his works.
  • One downright Mind Screwy Doctor Who – Expanded Universe novel was once described with the phrase "...when I read an 8DA [Eighth Doctor Adventure] and start believing that someone has stuck some LSD in my Evian bottle..." by someone who liked the book.
    • The Eighth Doctor Adventures novels Interference and The Adventuress of Henrietta Street were written by an author who once blogged about how the medication he was on was giving him bizarrely realistic dreams which seemed to take place over a matter of months, which, naturally, was making it difficult to tell what was really real. It kind of shows in his writing, at times. There are some flat-out trippy passages in Henrietta Street. And then there's almost a nested form of this trope; the Doctor tries writing a book, and what he writes is even trippier, to the point that a recipe reads as a description of an Eldritch Abomination. It's lampshaded:
    These ‘turn back!’-style warnings are common in the mystical texts of the period, though usually if there’s a reference to demons it’s code for the creatures of the reader’s own psyche, terrible things one can see if exposing oneself to too many poisonous vapours. In fact, there’s a sense in which the Doctor’s journey reads like a hallucinatory experience, at least partly brought on by the smoke.
    • Faction Paradox is this when combined with a large side of horror and pure distilled awesome.
  • Jason X: Death Moon. The author had a habit of going on nonsensical rants that have nothing to do with what little story there is. There's one part that's just pages and pages talking about nothing but Bride of Frankenstein star Elsa Lanchester in a disjointed fashion...
  • Thomas Pynchon reputedly wrote parts of Gravity's Rainbow while on acid, and afterward couldn't remember what his intentions had been. Even the less hallucinatory sections are still pretty weird.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy scene after Ford and Arthur are improbably rescued by the Heart of Gold and are suffering various side-effects of the Infinite Improbability Drive: Ford briefly turns into a penguin, Arthur's limbs start to detach from his body, and later the two encounter "an infinite number of monkeys" who want to show them their version of a William Shakespeare play. What do you mean, it's not a Mushroom Samba?
    "Hell, how am I going to operate my digital watch now?!
    • The monkeys can be explained (kind of) as it is a reference to an explanation of probability that states that an infinite number of monkeys typing randomly could come up with (given enough time) the Complete Works of Shakespeare
    • The Movie has so much fun with this; When the Heart of Gold picks them up, it turns Ford and Arthur into sofas. They maintain calm for exactly three seconds. When they use it again to go to Magrathea, they transform into knitted dolls. Arthur vomits yarn.
    • Douglas Adams, the author, in the foreword of the omnibus edition, says that he originally came up with the idea while he was lying, drunk, in a field in Innsbruck, Austria. Played straight here.
  • Parts of the Illuminatus! trilogy almost certainly were made on drugs, considering that its authors were major proponents of drug-legalization in real life. There are many scenes in which the protagonists indulge in cannabis and LSD, with detailed descriptions of the effects. The extremely non-linear narrative along with sudden jumps to surreal imagery that has little to no bearing to the plot probably reflects the points where the authors themselves decided to indulge some.
  • Imajica, a fantasy/horror novel and Radical Feminist tract by British author Clive Barker. Features drugs, sex, violence, more sex, magic, making people's heads explode by magic, creepy disturbing sex, torture, speaking in tongues, and messianic prophecies... and that's just what happens to the main character.
  • The works of H.P. Lovecraft seem so twisted and surreal, and often even involve drug use by the characters themselves, that the Cthulhu Mythos experienced a huge surge in popularity throughout the drug culture of the 1960s and '70s, whose members assumed he must've written his stories under the influence of something. Lovecraft himself, however, was a neurotically strict and sheltered intellectual who never touched drugs or alcohol, and dismissed sex as a distraction for "lesser minds".
  • According to Tom Wolfe in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Ken Kesey subverted this trope, writing several passages of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on LSD and/or peyote.
  • Stephen King wrote that he was so plastered while working on Cujo that he's unable to remember writing it. However, this is an inversion - he actually was on drugs, but despite this, the novel is not surreal or incomprehensible.
    • He has also admitted to being very big into hallucinogens in the late '60s, which was also about the time he started piecing together the premise of The Dark Tower.
    • He also wrote Dreamcatcher after a car accident, being on painkillers all the time. The story is written in coherent style, but the sole idea behind it...
  • Michael Moorcock admits to having written much of his more throwaway 1960s and 1970s work on amphetamines, purely in order to work fast and make money. Although he has described his working method at the time as involving planning the plots carefully over several days sober, then taking lots of speed and writing the book in 24 hours or so.
  • Neuromancer reads like a junkie travelogue: Case and his group rob people, "jack in", move to a new place to evade capture, all while really surreal shit is thrown in our faces. The amount of drugs Gibson did in his youth would corroborate this.
    • The lengths Case goes to to get drugs that he can actually get high from, and Rivera's drug-fueled holographic craziness.
  • Robert Rankin's work sometimes borders on this. Sometimes, as in The Dance Of The Voodoo Handbag, he has publicly admitted to using drugs while writing it. And it shows.
  • Dr. Seuss qualifies too, though it's not so hard to believe he wasn't writing while on drugs when you consider that he would have needed a clear head to write about:
    1. The more oppressive a dictator becomes, the less it eventually takes to topple him (Yertle the Turtle)
    2. People who are racist should chill out and accept people as equals without discrimination (The Sneetches)
    3. Trashing the environment is a bad thing and restoring it is a good thing (The Lorax)
  • So that nobody has any doubts, Hunter S. Thompson's books and articles were made on drugs. All the drugs. He was also probably armed at the same time. And with his lawyer who was also on drugs.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien faced much the same assumptions about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings from the exact same hippie/stoner fans, particularly a widespread belief that Gandalf's pipeweed is really pot. That's in spite of the prologue to The Fellowship of the Rings saying that "it was a variety, probably, of Nicotiana" and Bilbo himself calling it "tobacco" at the end of The Hobbit.
    • "Your love of the halflings' leaf has surely slowed your mind."
      • "Finest weed in the South Farthing!"
  • Anthony Trollope has a passage whose obvious interpretation has changed in the last century in The Small House at Allington: on being pressed for information about a lady-love with the initials "L. D.", Johnny Eames insists that his true love is "L. S. D.", a slang term not for acid (which hadn't been invented yet), but money (pounds, shillings, pence).
  • Most of Kurt Vonnegut's books are hard to summarize simply because their plots really do sound like something only a crackhead could think up.
  • In a review, Steven Erikson, author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, compared Glen Cook's The Black Company series to "Vietnam War fiction on peyote."
  • Final Fantasy X-2.5: Price of Eternity earned this reaction due to Tidas kicking a bomb and dying again, Sin and all the dead people coming back to life, and the NSFW content.
  • Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories are a collection of fairytales intended to be genuinely American and avoiding standard fairytale tropes. Especially the latter result bordering on this trope.
  • In-Universe invocation in the Honorverse novel A Rising Thunder. Yet another Solarian fleet has been ordered to face the Manticoran Missile Massacre. One character comments that if Solarian intelligence genuinely thinks their navy has a chance of winning, "I'd like to distribute a few kilos of whatever they're snorting at my next fundraiser!"