Carousel takes place in the Benito Juarez market of Oaxaca Mexico and a small hotel room where a bunch of psychonaut adventurers take an obscure, little known drug to experience the surprise of their lives. If Oaxaca City isn't psychedelic enough with its multi-cultural indigenous groups, delicious foods, and extraordinary art and design, the drug pushes on the limits of known reality. More
Much the way a historical novel offers a rich panoply of history as backdrop to the story and characters, Carousel (which has expanded into the novel, Psychonauts, coming soon to Smashwords), seeks to educate the reader on the nuances of drug taking from the earliest times to the present - from tribal societies to the popularity of drug usage in the 60s, onto the next generation of ravers and the 80s and 90s new wave designer drugs. This engaging narrative, told in the first person, takes place at a gathering in Oaxaca Mexico. The protagonist, Magellan, is struggling with life long fears inherited from his father relating to existential angst and mortality. These fears are the main focus and central theme which are worked out through the action of the story. Magellan also continually reflects upon his younger brother who has been fighting an illness and dearly misses him. While at the conference, Magellan meets a young woman with whom a romantic intrigue developes. But this is complicated by the fact that he is a happily married man whose wife of many years is traveling with him and plays an important part in the story. The plot is episodic, held together by the subject matter and the mini-adventures, beginning with a conference in Oaxaca City and ending with a road trip into the back-roads of Mexico. The main characters are artists, scientists and professionals, not your usual gang of tie-dyed-in-the-wool stoners. The dialogue is as entertaining as Plato: humorous, lively, existential, and informative. The author describes experiences with these powerful therapeutic agents as tools for transformation used by cultures for millennia with no history of two-headed babies or rehab clinics. Drugs in America are all thrown into one basket by the Puritanical policy makers beginning with Nixon in the 60s and Reagan and William Bennett in the 80s. The first non-medical Drug Czar, William Bennett said, "The problem with drugs isn't the drugs themselves, but the debate. There are no hard drugs or soft drugs. There are only drugs. And those who take them are criminals." This book re-introduces color and nuance to the black and white weave, and dispels urban myth, not with emotional knee-jerk reactions but with scientific facts. Drugs are not a criminal activity but a health concern. Users need to be treated not locked up. Taking peyote with the Huichole Indians in a ritualistic native setting with context is not the same as doing crack or heroin in the 'hood.
Over the past few years, after a political tug of war with the DEA, some remarkable breakthroughs have allowed certain study groups to have the green light for clinical trials using these neuro-transmitter drugs. Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) at Johns Hopkins, DMT at the University of New Mexico, MDMA (Ecstasy) in Switzerland, IBOGAIN in Canada.
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