313H: Monkey Brain Time Travel (Solved)

I’m haunted by a (probably YA) time travel book I read in the mid 70s. I believe it takes place in England, where relatives are visiting (maybe from America?) their professor/scientist Uncle (?) who has produced a time travel potion. I think one of its main ingredients is monkey brains, but I’m not 100% sure. The serum allows the imbiber to travel back to Middle Age Britain, not sure if it’s as an active participant or as a fly-on-the-wall. Whichever character it is that starts taking trips, soon gets caught up in the people and events of that past. He becomes addicted to it. The danger is that his body stays more-or-less in present day geographically, so when he comes out of the trip he may be standing in the middle of a super highway or some such that wasn’t there hundreds of years ago. I don’t remember the resolution. I just remember loving the imagery and concept. Anybody?

3 thoughts on “313H: Monkey Brain Time Travel (Solved)

  1. This sounds very similar to “”The House on the Strand” by Daphne du Maurier, published 1969. It’s not specifically YA but would probably have been considered fine for young-adult readers.

    The protagonist, Dick Young, has come to stay with his old friend Magnus before a planned move to America with his new wife and stepsons. The time-travel is mental only (so he is a fly on the wall) and done by taking a drug. I don’t think it’s mentioned that it has monkey brains in it, but I believe there’s a monkey foetus in a jar in the lab (along with other spooky-looking things). The drug is indeed addictive – or the experiences it produces are – and the dangers of moving around in the physical space are as you say.


  2. Thank you Kirsten! Just got a copy of “The House on the Strand”. That’s it. (On page 16 the protagonist worries about possible side effects from “this hell-brew of synthetic fungus and monkey’s brain cells or whatever…”) Consider this solved.

  3. That’s great! I read the book only last year after a friend sent it to me – never having read any du Maurier before at all. But I can imagine it’s the sort that would stick in the memory if you read it young.

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