Writers like drugs. That is to say, we like writing about them. Many a gallon of ink has been spilled talking about the allure, risks, and dangers of everything from alcohol and marijuana to cocaine and LSD (I'm looking at you Hunter S. Thompson).
The only thing writers like more than real drugs is making stuff up. That's why many of us have invented a mind-boggling array of fictional narcotics to enhance our fictional worlds. For example, in my new Prospero's War series, dirty magic is a drug. Covens of wizards cook addictive potions using bathtub alchemy that they sell in a magical slum called the Cauldron in fictional Babylon, Ohio. But I'm just one in a long line of writers who invented their own drugs.
1. Milk Plus from A Clockwork Orange
Alex and his three droogs, Pete, George, and Drim enjoyed going to the Korova Milk Bar for a drink or three of Milk Plus before a night of the old ultra violence. Only instead of normal mixers like strawberry powder or chocolate syrup, this milk-based cocktail contained a variety of fictional narcotics, such as vellocet, synthernesc, or drencrom. To really add a touch of class, the drink is served in a woman-shaped glass with convenient nipple spouts. Even better? You can give it to your kids because the narcotics in Milk Plus weren't controlled.
Milk Plus does a body good--unless you're the hapless victim of someone who just came from the Korova Milk Bar.
2. Pipe-weed from The Lord of the Rings
Can we be real here? Tolkien purists will argue that pipe-weed is just a Shire colloquialism for mundane tobacco, but anyone who's seen the movies can see those hobbits want second breakfast because they have the munchies.
According to the books, pipe-weed is an herb with sweet-scented flowers, which is smoked using long wooden pipes. The hobbits made it popular, but use spread to the dwarves, rangers, and wizards. Gandalf is even called out by Saruman for smoking it a little too much. And who could blame him? Fighting the Balrog had to be a major buzz kill.
3. V from True Blood
In the Sookie Stackhouse-verse, a couple of drops of vampire blood, aka V, can cause rather violent arousal. Users also experience hallucinations and increased strength. V also has healing properties, which is good considering all the sex-related injuries it causes.
The problem is vampires are really strong and fast, so it's tough to get your hands on their blood. Probably better off sticking with the other V--Viagra.
4. Clarity (Neuroin) from Minority Report
Clarity wins the award for coolest delivery system of all the drugs on this list. The illegal heroin-like drug is drawn into the lungs using a special inhaler. In the movie, which is based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same title, John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) takes a toot of the old inhaler whenever he's feeling blue. Oddly, the three precogs the police rely on to predict crimes fail to predict that one of their main detectives is addicted to an illegal narcotic. Once again proving the old Monty Python dictum that you should ever trust strange women lying in ponds.
5. NZT-48 from Limitless
While it's hard to believe a man who looks like Bradley Cooper needs a drug to feel more confident, that's exactly what happens in Limitless. A writer struggling with a massive case of writer's block, he takes the tiny clear pill that allows him to access one hundred percent of his brain capacity. Suddenly he's able to complete his entire novel in one night. Unfortunately, he soon finds out that the drug does have a few downsides. For example, going cold turkey is fatal, and withdrawals can cause insomnia, vomiting, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts--sort of like real writer's block.
6. Spice Melange from Dune
In the Dune-iverse, spice is the most valuable commodity in existence. The Fremen mix it with food or beverages, like coffee or beer, and it is often an aphrodisiac refreshment at the sietch orgies. Reverend Mothers had to go through a ritual called "spice agony," which doesn't sound nearly as fun as the Fremen orgies.
Using spice causes expanded sensory perception and even precognition, along with the ability to warp time. Spice's narcotic properties create a physical dependency and withdrawal is fatal. Plus, it is easy to spot a spice user because their entire eye turns blue. But before you start wishing spice was real, take a gander at Baron Harkonnen, who was a spice addict.
Actually, the cystic acne and obesity were caused by a curse from one of the Reverend Mothers, but still--say no to spice, kids.
7. Blue Meth from Breaking Bad
Sure, Meth is a real drug, but the Blue Meth created by chemistry teacher Walter White and his trusty sidekick Jesse "Bitch" Pinkman is fictional (although the show reportedly has inspired real meth cooks to try their hand at the recipe). Real meth is clear or faintly yellow, but the blue color of Walter White's meth is a signifier of the drug's impressive purity. What's more, apparently White is the only one who is able to cook such a pure product. Even Jesse, who learned all of Walter's secrets, is only able to create a passably pure product. Just goes to show, if you really want to succeed in the drug gang, it pays to graduate college.
8. Sour Milk from Alien Nation
Alien Nation was both a film and a TV show in the 1980s. In both versions, the Newcomers are aliens who settled on our planet, and we having trouble fitting in. In addition to having two hearts, a preference for raw food, and an odd vulnerability to salt water, the Newcomers are also incredibly cheap dates. A glass or two of sour milk and they become drunker than a frat boy at a kegger. Which is probably how a lot of the males of the species end up pregnant. Still, one has to wonder what kind of trouble Sam Francisco from Alien Nation would get into at the Korova Milk Bar.