Thursday, June 13, 2019

Tie-In Novel: "Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds" by Gwenda Bond

Tie-In Novel: Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond, 2019, 9781984817433.

You don't need to have seen the TV show to read this. But, don't bother reading it if you've not seen the show.

I enjoyed the novel enough. I had recently re-watched Season 1 and when I saw this in the catalog I figured to try it out. This is a prequel with Dr. Brenner and 11's mother and aunt. 11's mother, Terry Ives, is at IU-Bloomington when a pal of hers talks about a science experiment she had volunteered for. The friend did not like the experience and bails. But, the experiments pay and Terry needs money. So Terry steps in for her pal.

Terry goes to a campus building, does some interviews, meets other test subjects, and meets Dr. Brenner. The tests are secretive and involve doses of hallucinogens. One of the other test subjects says, "This is bullshit. There is no scientific method behind this crap." Brenner has put on the charm but when the test subjects want to bail on the experiments he threatens them with expulsion from campus.

Brenner lets his mask of civility drop and Terry and the rest are not happy. Things happen as the tests grow weirder. Terry starts seeing things. One of subjects gets electroshocks. The meet Number 8 who is about 5 years old and stuck in the Hawkins lab.

Hell, I forgot most of the second season and this story pulls information draws from both seasons. A decent read. Bond does well in drawing both new and established characters but sometimes when reading a tie-in it just feels like supplementary material. As comparison: I enjoyed Christa Faust's tie-ins for Fringe and Supernatural. But, I never watched those shows until after I read the novels.

EDIT: I just reread this and want to clarify that I think the book and enjoyed Bond's character creations within the Stranger Things world. It's just my own thing with tie-ins.

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