In The Space (Empyreal Press, 160 pages, $14.95 paper), Patrick Borden describes a not-so-distant future world (Vancouver, specifically), in which drug use is not only acceptable, but encouraged. Heroin is doled out to addicts by the government, and "designer drugs" are used by most people under thirty. It is a world of excessive consumerism (I buy, therefore I am) but of very little crime; drugs are no longer the enemy. In fact, they are the government's greatest ally: true opiates of the people. They keep the population in line, prevent it from thinking.
The story revolves around three characters: Danny, a junkie who insists on heroin as his drug of choice because it isn't a designer drug; Michael, an intellectual who has resisted both drugs and consumerism in an attempt to rebel against the system; and Angie, a beautiful but vacuous member of the crowd, addicted to the designer drug Hyperbliss. Angie and Michael meet first, then eventually Michael and Danny, and finally Angie and Danny. Their interaction and subsequent influence on each other is what drives the book and infuses it with hard-hitting irony. The result is not only an indictment of political forces (which by their very nature care about nothing but power and its maintenance), but a warning to those foolish enough to turn off their brains in the futile hope that what they don't know won't hurt them.