Slade Steadman has become wealthy from the proceeds of a single book he wrote more than 20 years ago, his account of his travels without passport, without luggage and with little money has inspired lines of luggage, fancy travel gear and travel clothing. A film and television program based on the book have a large cult following.
But Steadman's 20-year writer's block leaves him unhappy and hungering for another travel book. A trip into the jungle of Ecuador to take drugs and hallucinations seems to be the basis for the next work. Steadman and his girlfriend, Ava, join a tour that turns out to include a crowd of the kind of tourists Steadman hates gear-toting, wealthy thrill seekers. However, Manfred Steiger, a serious student of botany, introduces Steadman to a more powerful drug, one that opens an inner eye while blinding the outer eyes.
On returning to the United States, Steadman begins his new novel, a journey through his inner erotic fantasies, acted out each night with Ava. During the day, Ava serves as his note-taker, operator of his recording machine and transcriber. Steadman awakens each morning with his normal vision working, then takes the drug to open his inner vision while becoming outwardly blind.
As Steadman becomes addicted to the drug and the insights it brings, he begins to lose touch with normal reality. However, like many drugs, this special potion stops bringing on the inner vision, but leaves Steadman blind.
This report prepared by David Gordon