Psychedelic novel ‘Erin’ by Robert Dickins is now out
Genre: Fiction / Psychological
Author: Robert Dickins
When protagonist Elijah Baillie wakes up early one morning in the arms of a mysterious girl called Erin, he has no memory of who he is and how he got there. As the day unfolds, his memories start flooding back as he is forced to confront the spectre of an unconscious evil, as a plethora of psychedelics, and a festival on the verge of anarchy, lead him irrevocably toward a dark confrontation with his past – edgy and fast, Erin will suck you right into the mayhem.
Erin explores the strange interplay of memory and perception that have become the bedrock of theories understanding human consciousness and the efficacy of psychedelic substances. A non-linear, first person narrative places the reader in a confused and altered state that the protagonist – Elijah Baillie – finds himself consumed by at the outset, and slowly allows the story to emerge in their mind.
Since the rise of the free festivals in the 1970s, the British summer festival has become synonymous with hedonism, countercultural fervour, and being a rite a passage for young people. A place where some of the worst excesses of youth are enacted, Erin explores the strange nature of festivals representing temporary autonomous zones, but ones fenced in and policed.
Psychedelic substances have re-emerged in scientific research in the 21st century, including the first clinical trials with LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA in the UK. As they increasingly become mainstream medicines ones again, it is also important to understand the role they play in wider culture, and Erin taps into their theories within the festival arena – where the control of consciousness has left the laboratory for the politics of the everyday.
The author Robert Dickins is a published author, writer, and poet, based in Cornwall, UK. He has spent the last decade reviewing music and arts festivals for various publications, along with conducting a number of research projects on psychiatric approaches to hallucinogens in literature.
Cover artwork by Tantratek
Praise for Erin:
Leaf Fielding, author of ‘To Live Outside the Law” has said the following about Erin: “Erin, is a tour de force – a riot shot through with shafts of light and garbled mists of doom. I just sat down to have a look at the opening pages and read half of it at a gulp. Wow! It took me back, right back to my crazy, hazy festival days of the sixties and seventies… The trolls, the technology and the generations of festival-goers were different (we were all young in those days) but the substances, reality switches and the divine muddle were eminently recognisable. Rob’s handling of the levels of chaos is masterful. Only someone who’s been there and come out the other side could have come up with this disturbing mini-masterpiece. Read at your peril!”
“Erin… is no mere documentary record but a sophisticated multi-levelled psychodrama, where Lije’s battles with his inner demons, set against the richly hallucinated backdrop of Solpsycle, come to resemble some fin de siècle Technicolor Greek myth. It’s a psy-novel for the high-tech age, in which the wide array of substances available and the composite polymorphous nature of their effects reflect our zeitgeist, just as Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas encapsulated the souring of the hippy dream back in the early 1970s. Erin is a marvellous debut, and a book that anyone who wants to sample a slice of today’s psychedelic culture should read.” – Roger Keen, author of The Mad Artist