"I read Libidan and thought it was a very clever plot...most enjoyable."
BBC Today Programme
What readers of Libidan think of it
"I was surprised to be sent this novel out of the blue, and had reservations about reading it. However, as soon as I started to read, my doubts evaporated. This is a highly entertaining novel in the Tom Sharpe vein, but it is also a sensible discussion of, amongst other things, the morality of psychopharmacology, the ethics of
business, and "the way we live now". To do all this in 286 pages, in an accessible and humorous way, without descending too far into the use of comic stock characters, and keeping the plot supple, is a fine achievement. I shall certainly be recommending it to colleagues and students of mine."
Imperial College, London
September 2001 - Featured Book of the Month at Curled Up
Visit http://www.curledup.com/libidan.htm to read culredup.com review of Libidan.
Review at human-nature.com
"Libidan is a challenge. As the story unfolds it improves with every chapter, and becomes more enjoyable with each twist. Read it: you will never think or perceive the same way again."
To read the full review by John Morrison, please click here.
Bill Kennedy is a researcher at a chemical lab in an anonymous New Town called Harledge. Asper Pharmaceuticals are not a particularly nice company to work for, indeed they have surveillance cameras in all the labs. Bill
has rested on his laurels after a discovery some years previously and is currently going nowhere fast with his hormone research. He has an assistant called Angela, a beautiful young woman, who everybody lusts after. Bill, a bachelor with no luck with the ladies lives with his sister Gail. Things change when a routine experiment goes wrong. Angela jumps Bill's bones, but later doesn't want anything to do with him, and he is fired by the boss who has just seen the videotape from the lab.
Gradually Bill puts two and two together, and realises that Angela couldn't control her hormones after being subjected to the drug. In other words he has a great aphrodisiac on his hands. Since he has been fired, Bill doesn't see any qualms in purloining the rest of the stock and wiping his records clean. Since the industrious are to be rewarded he goes into production at home.
This is where the book really takes off. Can Bill turn from nerd to drug lord and lady killer. Well no
actually, but there is a trail of disaster before the ultimate failure and then Bill's ascension into a normal bloke with hopes that may, or may not be realised. There is the attractive Louise, a friend of his sister to woo, a real drug baron to evade and of course the law. This witches brew of characters are as complex as any formula that Bill might work with and it is to Goddard's credit that he doesn't turn Bill into a sex monster, but more of a naive, vaugely well intentioned man who goes
off the rails a bit.
It might be some teenagers fantasy to have a love drug, but of course this is just what Libidan doesn't contain - love, just the key to sex, which is a technical kind of rape. The author has realised this and woven a faintly black comedy approach into Bill's surreal journey, and held back on the possible abuses of the drug, and concentrated on building up characters such as the animal rights activists and the particularly nasty Snod. Don't read this if you want
titillation, but do if you want to see a finely crafted comedy of errors.
By P J Goddard
This enjoyable book works at two levels: the first a bawdy and hilarious tale of how a run-of-the-mill scientist
stumbles across a discovery that promises great power and wealth, but ultimately delivers corruption and ruin. Secondly and more seriously, it explores how the commercialisation of scientific insight can have wild and unforeseen consequences, both for the discoverer and hapless customers. If you think that science is always done by cold-hearted and calculating men in white coats, then read Libidan - it is closer to the truth than you might think!
Dr Brian Johnson
Head of Biotechnology Advisory Unit
Taunton TA1 5AA
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20 October, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Los Angeles, California, USA
Heads up... this book will reveal your ethical core whether you like it or not.
Suppose a drug were invented which produced instant sexual passion in women... but afterwards left them confused, embarrassed and humiliated. Would you use it? If you discovered the drug, would you sell it?
P.J. Goddard's "Libidan" is a
fast-paced intellectual thriller based on the accidental discovery of just such a drug by a young chemical researcher whose early landmark discovery of a lucrative antibiotic has landed him in a dead-end, unchallenging job with a research company.
Bill Kennedy stumbles upon the drug, just as his prospects with the company seem to be taking a turn for the worst-- but when he is fired after being caught on videotape participating in acts in his laboratory brought on by an unanticipated
airborne release of the sex drug, he decides to develop it on his own, dubbing the compound "Libidan".
In a moment of weakness, Bill tests out Libidan on his sister's best friend Louise, who is overcome by its effects and spends the night with Bill, only to wake up in the morning confused and humiliated by her loss of control, and feeling she has betrayed her best friend. Seeing the psychological effect that his chemical coercion has had on Louise, Bill realizes the potential
harm his drug could do as a "rape" drug and vows to destroy it and all information that led to its discovery.
Unfortunately, destroying Libidan isn't that easy, and what ensues is a bizarrely twisted series of events that seem all the more real because they reveal how universal are human desires and weaknesses.
Ultimately, Bill is faced with ethical questions that seem particularly pertinent in the present biotechnological and political climate: if nature really
operates on the principle of the survival of the fittest, then is it really wrong for us to maximize any advantage we have over one another? Is compassion simply a luxury, or a waste of time?
I sat down to read this book on a flight from New York to Los Angeles and didn't put it down until I finished it. "Libidan" has everything which makes for a good book... a love story, humor, suspense, and characters that behave like real people: but it also has something that most books
don't have these days-- a heart.
I recommend Libidan highly!