Official Stranger Things novel on the way: Read Chapter One.

Something to soothe your thirst for the Hawkins story.

Titled Suspicious Minds, it is the first official Stranger Things novel, which is penned by YA author Gwenda Bond(Fallout, Double Down).
According to EW, the book is part of a new initiative between Netflix and Del Rey, an imprint of Penguin Random House, which will flesh out a collection of characters from the beloved series and dig deeper into its mythology.
The book is a prequel – set before the events of Stranger Things and will explore the life of Eleven’s mother and her time as a test subject in the MKUltra program.
EW exclusively released the first chapter of the book which will publish Feb. 5, 2019. You can read below.
Meanwhile the third season of the series is expected to be released in the Summer of 2019.
Excerpt from Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds , by Gwenda Bond
July 1969
Hawkins National Laboratory
Hawkins, Indiana
The man drove an immaculate black car
along a flat Indiana road, slowing when
he came to a chain link gate with a
Restricted Area sign. The guard
stationed there peered in the window for
the briefest moment, then checked his
license plate and waved him through.
The lab clearly anticipated his arrival.
Maybe they’d even followed the
directions and specifications he sent
ahead about preparing his new domain.
When he reached the next guard booth,
he cranked down the window to present
his identification to the soldier serving
as security officer. The soldier studied
his license and avoided looking him in
the eye. People often did.
He had nothing but attention for new
people, at least at first—an assessment
quick as a thought, cataloguing them:
sex, height, weight, ethnicity, and from
there a guess at intelligence, and then,
most important, a guess at potential.
Almost everyone was less interesting
after the last. But he never gave up.
Looking, assessing, was second nature,
a crucial element of his work. Most
people had nothing to interest him, but
those who did… They were why he was
This soldier was easy to size up: male,
5’8”, 180 pounds, white, average
intelligence, potential…fulfilled by sitting
in a guard booth checking IDs with a
sidearm he probably never used at his
“Welcome, Mr. Martin Brenner,” the
soldier said finally, squinting between
the man and the plastic card.
Funny that his ID contained some of the
information Brenner would have wanted
if he were looking at himself: male, 6’1”,
195 pounds, white. The rest: genius IQ,
“We were told to expect you,” the soldier
“Dr. Brenner,” he corrected the man, but
The narrowing of a gaze that still didn’t
quite look at Brenner but darted into the
backseat where five-year-old subject
Eight slept curled against the door. Her
hands were balled into fists under her
small chin. He’d preferred to oversee her
transport to the new facility himself.
“Yes, Dr. Brenner,” the guard said.
“Who’s the girl? Your daughter?”
The skepticism came through. Eight’s
skin was a rich shade of brown in
contrast to his own milky pale hue,
which Brenner could have told the man
meant nothing. But it was none of the
man’s business, and besides he wasn’t
wrong. Brenner was no one’s father.
Father figure, yes.
That was as far as it went.
“I’m sure they’re waiting for me inside.”
Brenner studied the man again. A soldier
back home from a past war, a war
they’d already won. Unlike Vietnam.
Unlike the quiet escalation with the
Soviets. They were already engaged in a
war for the future, but this man didn’t
know that. Brenner kept his tone friendly.
“I wouldn’t ask questions when the other
subjects arrive. Confidentiality.”
The guard’s jaw tightened, but he let it
go. His eyes flicked to the sprawling
multi-story complex beyond them. “Yes,
they’re waiting for you inside. Park
anywhere you like.”
Another thing that hadn’t needed saying.
He drove on.
A boring part of the federal bureaucracy
had paid for the construction and
general maintenance of this facility, but
more secretive arms of the government
had paid for its outfitting to Brenner’s
specifications. To be top secret, after all,
the research couldn’t be advertised. The
Agency understood greatness couldn’t
always follow standard operating
procedure. The Russians might be able
to have their labs acknowledged by their
government, but they were willing to
suppress all the voices who would speak
out in opposition. Somewhere right now
the communists’ scientists were doing
the same type of experiments this five-
story brown complex and its basement
levels had been created for. Brenner’s
employers would be reminded of this
whenever they forgot or had too many
questions. So his work remained a top
Eight continued to sleep as he got out
and walked around to her door. He
slowly opened it, pressing her back so
she wouldn’t tumble out into the parking
lot. He’d sedated her for safety while
traveling. She was too important an
asset to leave to other people. Thus far
the other subjects’ abilities had proven…
“Eight.” He crouched by the seat and
gave her shoulder a gentle shake.
The girl shook her head, keeping her
eyes shut. “Kali,” she mumbled.
Her real name. She insisted on it.
Usually he didn’t humor her, but today
was special.
“Kali, wake up,” he said. “You’re home.”
She blinked, a spark lighting in her eyes.
She had misunderstood.
“Your new home,” he added.
The spark dimmed.
“You’ll like it here.” He helped her sit
upright and coaxed her forward. He
extended his hand. “Now Papa needs
you to walk in like a big girl and then
you can go back to sleep.”
At last, she reached out and slid her
small hand into his.
As they approached the front doors, he
put the most pleasant smile in his
arsenal on his lips. He expected the
current acting administrator to greet him,
but instead found a long line of lab-
coated men and one woman waiting.
The professional staff of his group, he
supposed, and all of them radiating a
queasy case of nerves.
A tanned man with a lined face—too
much time out of doors—stepped
forward and offered his hand. He looked
at Eight, then back at Dr. Brenner. His
rimmed glasses were smudged. “Dr.
Brenner, I’m Dr. Richard Moses, acting
principal investigator. We’re so excited
to have you here, someone of your
caliber… We wanted you to meet the
entire team right away. And this must be
“I’m Kali,” the girl said with drowsy
“A very sleepy young lady who would
like to see her new room.” Dr. Brenner
sidestepped the man’s hand. “I believe I
asked for one set apart? And then I’d like
to meet the subjects you’ve brought on
Brenner spotted the doors off the lobby
that looked the most secure and headed
in their direction with Eight. Silence
trailed him for a long moment. His smile
became almost real before disappearing.
Dr. Moses of the smudged glasses
scrambled and caught up with him, the
others a clattering rush right behind.
Moses lunged ahead to buzz an
intercom and gave his name.
There was an unsettled hum of
conversation among the other doctors
and lab associates who followed them.
“Of course, the subjects haven’t been
prepared,” Dr. Moses said as the double
doors swung open. He kept glancing at
Kali, who was getting more alert by the
second, taking in their surroundings. No
time to waste getting her settled in.
Two armed soldiers stood matchstick
straight just inside the doors, an
optimistic sign that at least the security
wasn’t subpar. They checked Dr. Moses’
badge and he waved them away from a
similar check of Dr. Brenner. “He hasn’t
gotten his ID yet,” he said.
The men moved as if they might
challenge Dr. Moses, and Brenner’s
approval raised another notch. “I’ll have
it next time I come through,” he said.
“And we’ll get you copies of the subjects’
paperwork.” He nodded discreetly to
indicate Eight.
The soldier inclined his head and the
entire group passed.
“I specified I wanted to meet the new
subjects when I arrived,” Dr. Brenner
said. “So it shouldn’t come as a
“We thought you’d just be observing,”
Dr. Moses said. “Should we set some
parameters? Prepare them for your visit?
It might disrupt the work we’ve been
doing. The psychedelics make some of
them paranoid.”
Dr. Brenner held up his free hand. “No, I
don’t think that or I’d have said it. Now
where are we going?”
Light fixtures dangled above the long
hallway, emitting the ghastly glow that
so often illuminated scientific discovery
in this shadow world. For the first time
that morning, Dr. Brenner felt like he
could make this a home.
“This way,” Dr. Moses said. He found
the lone woman on the professional staff
in the herd and addressed her. “Dr.
Parks, can you arrange for one of the
orderlies to bring the girl some food?”
Her lips tightened at being sent to do the
equivalent of woman’s work, but she
To his relief, Eight stayed quiet and they
soon came to a small room with a child-
sized bunk bed and drawing table. He’d
asked for the bed to reassure Eight he
was searching for appropriate
companions for her.
She spotted it immediately. “For a
“Sooner or later, yes,” he said. “Now,
someone’s going to bring you some
food. Can you wait here alone?”
She nodded. Whatever perkiness she’d
gained from the excitement of arriving
was fading—the sedative had been a
strong dose—and she sank onto the
edge of the bed.
Dr. Brenner turned to leave and ran into
an orderly and the one female staffer. Dr.
Moses raised his eyebrows. “She’ll be
okay on her own?” he asked.
“For now,” Dr. Brenner said. And to the
orderly, “I know she looks like a child,
but follow your security protocols. She
might surprise you.”
The orderly shifted uncertainly, but kept
“Take me to the first room,” Dr. Brenner
said. “Everyone else can go wait with
your subjects, but there’s no need to
prep any of them.”
The rest of the assembled team waited
for Dr. Moses to concur and he gave a
pained shrug. “As Dr. Brenner says.”
They dispersed. They were learning.
The first room housed a subject
ineligible for the draft due to a club foot.
He had the permanently fried look of
someone whose disengagement tool of
choice was marijuana. Average in every
“Do you want us to dose the next
patient?” Dr. Moses asked. He plainly
didn’t understand Dr. Brenner’s
“I will tell you when I need something.”
Dr. Moses nodded and they proceeded
through five more rooms. It was as he
expected. Two women, neither
exceptional in any way, three more men,
completely unexceptional. Except
perhaps in their lackluster quality.
“Gather everyone in a room so we can
talk,” Dr. Brenner said.
He was left to wait in a conference room,
with a last nervous glance from Dr.
Moses. Soon enough, the group from
before entered and arranged themselves
around the table. A couple of men tried
to make conversation in order to pretend
none of the morning’s events were
unusual. Dr. Moses shushed them.
“That’s all of us,” he said.
Dr. Brenner gave his staff a closer look.
They would need work, but there was
potential in their quiet attention. Fear
and authority went hand in hand.
“All the test subjects I met this morning
can be dismissed.” He waved a hand.
“Pay them whatever they were promised
and ensure they remember their
nondisclosure agreements.”
The room absorbed this. One of the
conversationalists from before raised his
hand. “Doctor?”
“My name is Chad and I’m new to this,
but… why? How will we do our
“Why is always a question that moves
science forward,” Dr. Brenner said. Chad
the newbie nodded, and Brenner added,
“Although one should be careful about
asking it of your superiors. But I will tell
you why. It’s important we all
understand what we’re here to do. Does
anyone have a guess?”
His treatment of Chad kept them quiet.
He thought for a moment the woman
might speak up, but she simply folded
her hands in front of her.
“Good,” he said. “I don’t like guesswork.
We’re here to advance the frontiers of
human capability. I don’t want the
common Mus musculus of humans.
They are not going to give us
extraordinary results.” He swept a gaze
around the room. Everyone was intent.
“I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the
foibles elsewhere and your own lack of
results are why I’m here. There have
been embarrassments, and a great
many of them can be sourced to
inadequate subjects. Whoever thought
prisoners and the asylum-bound would
tell us anything we need to know were
fooling themselves. Draft dodgers and
potheads aren’t any better. I have a few
more young patients transferring here for
a related program, but I’d like a range of
ages. There is every reason to believe
that a combination of chemical
psychedelics, people with high potential,
and the right inducements can unlock
the secrets we need. Think of the
intelligence advantages alone if we can
persuade our enemies to talk, if we can
make them suggestible and exert
control… But we can’t get the results we
want without the right people, period. We
need those with potential.”
“But…where will we get them?” Chad
Brenner made a mental note to have him
dismissed at the end of the day. He
leaned forward.
“I will set forth a new screening protocol
for identification of better candidates
from our feeder universities, and then
select the subjects we use going forward
myself. Soon, your real work here
No one objected. Yes, they were

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