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Common Senses

New York Times bestseller Steven-Elliot Altman starts his own personal plague with his Deprivers novel

By Chris Wyatt     May 01, 2004

DEPRIVERS by Steven-Elliot Altman.
© Ace Books

After a real life bout with temporary blindness, Steven-Elliot Altman, author of the cult hit ZEN IN THE ART OF SLAYING VAMPIRES, began to imagine a fictional disease called Sensory Deprivation Syndrome, or SDS.

"The carriers [of] SDS are called 'Deprivers' because when they make skin contact with another person, they deprive that person of one of their senses, like sight," Altman explains.

The author believed that by writing about SDS he could open a forum for discussing social and political problems through abstract metaphors.

"The continuing AIDS epidemic, inappropriate internment by the US government, modern day racism, these are all issues that are difficult to confront," he says. "But, through the veil of science fiction we can talk about things calmly. That's what Rod Serling did with THE TWILIGHT ZONE."



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