Coward’s Paradise by the late Christopher Hodder-Williams, is his standalone 1970s-era contemporary science fiction proto-technothriller which was an early precursor to the modern mainstream bestselling blockbuster variety of such, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press’ Venture imprint.
This was originally published in 1974 by United Writers Publications and later picked up by the New English Library, and the story involves a man undergoing treatment at a mental institute, who uncovers disturbing medical experiments being performed on himself and other patients.
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‘Suddenly I don’t feel my brain belongs to me anymore. It’s the property of the Institute.’
With increasing conviction and horror, writer Michael Adams realises the terrifying truth of this statement.
Struggling to cope with a failed relationship and a seemingly doomed career, he is admitted to the mental institute known locally as Coward’s Paradise. Initially he is put under observation and is hopeful that he will recover from what appears to be an acute anxiety condition.
As treatment commences, Adams records his experiences in a startlingly revealing diary. As his mental state slowly deteriorates, the diary divulges how the symptoms of his illness are used against him as he becomes a pawn in the hands of the psychologists.
Nothing is confidential and nothing is impartial. A patient becomes trapped in the system.
Soon, Adams’ treatment turns from bad to worse. He learns that the residents of Coward’s Paradise Extortionate are guinea pigs in ghastly prefrontal lobotomy experiments.
Suddenly Adams has no one left to trust. Should he try to confirm his suspicions? Or are these whispers of knowledge proof of his increasing paranoia?
The institute claims to know how to ‘fix’ Adams’ problem. But what happens to patients behind the closed doors of Coward’s Paradise, no one knows for certain.
At least until it’s too late.
Coward’s Paradise is a spine-chilling and enthralling science fiction novel. Christopher Hodder-Williams’ powerful insight into the human mind is counterbalanced by the horrifying realisation that technology is taking over our lives.