Sheckley background left background Sheckley background middle content
We got on a plane to London without revealing my condition to the airline, which would never have flown me in that condition.  In London, a friend met us with an ambulance, and took me off to a private clinic.  There, once again, they didn't operate.  Instead they put me on a mixture of (I think) phenergyl and Valium, and basically knocked me out for a week.  During that time I had terrible dreams of fighting with Abby, and once or twice I thought she was there to kill me.  When I got out, we completed our breakup.  I moved to a flat in Highgate.  A month or so later I began my trip to the Far East.  It seemed a good idea at the time...

I left for the Far East with a minimum of clothing and a maximum of manuscripts.  Also a portable typewriter.  The only thing I did not have was a portable sound system, and I determined to get this at the first opportunity.  My plane made a fuel stop in Calcutta and then went on to Singapore.  I stayed only a day or so -- the extreme cleanliness and neatness of the place put me off, especially since I had heard stories of people being arrested for throwing away an empty cigarette pack.  I had no intention of doing this, of course, but it set me on edge anyhow.

My next stop, Kuala Lumpur, was not much better.  I was suddenly in an unruly Moslem world.  Some sense of terrorists-to-come might have infected me.  I did my obligatory sightseeing tour to the great mosque, which I had heard was the largest in the world, spent one night, and flew on to Penang.

I liked Penang at once.  It is an island home to at least three different groups -- Moslem, Hindu, and Chinese.   Each with their separate religions and holidays.  I stayed at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel, with its memories of Queen Victoria -- and there dropped my first acid in the Far East.  My psychedelic trip was not a happy one, however.  On the lawn below me, couples were dining and dancing.  I was desperately lonely.  I played Pink Floyd on the boombox I had bought earlier, and wondered, not for the first time, what I was doing with my life.

Penang was good eating.  I found a market area outside of the city where there were dozens of individual food stalls, each serving just one dish.  It was the style of eating I most enjoy, little dishes, each specially flavored.  A sort of spread-out far eastern smorgasbord, or an 'al fresco rijstafel.  And it was a lovely walk from the E & O along the channel to this place.

Sheckley background right content
Sheckley background head

Robert Sheckley's Autobiography

Bio | Chronology | The Work | Tales of Sheckley | Gallery | Contact | Book Shop