A brilliant sci-fi novel from one of the last century's most influential pop culture figures Substance D - otherwise known as Death - is the most dangerous drug ever to find its way on to the black market. It destroys the links between the brain's two hemispheres, leading first to disorentation and then to complete and irreversible brain damage. Bob Arctor, undercover narcotics agent, is trying to find a lead to the source of supply, but to pass as an addict he must become a user, and soon, without knowing what is happening to him, he is as dependent as any of the addicts he is monitoring.
In the overcrowded world and cramped space colonies of the late twenty-first century, tedium can be endured through the use of the drug Can-D, which enables the user to inhabit a shared illusory world. But when industrialist Palmer Eldritch returns from an interstellar trip, he brings with him a new drug, Chew-Z, which is far more potent than Can-D. But could the permanent state of drugged illusion it induces be part of something much more sinister?
Jason Taverner has a glittering TV career, millions of fans, great wealth and something close to eternal youth. He is one of a handful of brilliant, beautiful people, the product of top-secret government experiments forty years earlier. But suddenly, all records of him vanish. He becomes a man with no identity, in a police state where everyone us closely monitored. Can he ever be rich and famous again? Or was that life just an illusion?