Paddy Chayefsky Lois Gould - Essay

Lois Gould

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[What] is a successful, much-admired dramatist doing here, in a wild-eyed, exclamation-pointed science fiction?…

"Altered States" is Mr. Chayefsky's first novel. It reads, however, more like a screen treatment that someone rashly advised him to "novelize"—a process that may itself be biologically impossible. Instead of camera close-ups of mild-mannered endocrinologists registering horror at the brink of the Dread Unknown, instead of stunning cinematography and eerie sound effects to accompany a man's regression into prehuman form (and then reconstituting him, like freeze-dried coffee), the book rains heavy Star-Treknology at us; a steady downpour of exotic, often incomprehensible scientific...

(The entire section is 429 words.)