Stranger Things has basically been an instant hit for Netflix, gathering countless fans. The world itself has a lot of potential, as evidenced by the multiple seasons already approved. And of course fans of Stranger Things are probably well aware of the fact that the series has officially transitioned into comic book and a book series.
The first novel in the series is titled Suspicious Minds, and it follows the events leading up to the first season. This novel is a great read for any fan looking to learn more about those events. But not all of us have time to read every book we’d like…so here’s a quick rundown of some of the noteworthy facts revealed.
10 Early Success in the Program
Dr. Brenner’s program was showing signs of success even before Eleven came into the picture. He had Kali, for one thing, as well as four encouraging adult specimens. Terry Ives, Eleven’s mother. Each of the four adults seemed to be getting studied and tested in different ways, from drug use to isolation and even electroshock. The adults were aware enough of the situation to hide a lot of what they were seeing from the doctors, but Dr. Brenner is too sharp to miss out on some of the clues that were dropped along the way.
We already knew that Dr. Brenner had access to at least ten other children, not counting Eleven. However it seems like Kali – Eight – was his shining star. She was kept isolated from the others, because she was significantly more talented than the others, and Brenner feared the other children would be a bad influence.
9 There’s a Leak in Hawkins Laboratory
One of the adult subjects, Ken, was there with full awareness that he was needed. You see, Ken was a psychic before the program even started. Granted, he wasn’t a terribly strong psychic. He would get a feeling about things – an idea that he had to be somewhere or do something. So he knew that he needed to join the study going on in Hawkins lab.
At the end of the novel Ken decided to stay in Hawkins – another feeling of his. He knew that the man he would one day fall in love with was somewhere in Hawkins, so he needed to stay. It turns out that the man he was waiting for works in the laboratory itself…and is the reason that Terry was able to confirm that Jane/Eleven was alive despite being told that she wasn’t. One has to wonder if that leak is still a possibility – or if he didn’t survive the events in the most recent season.
8 Eleven’s Father
Eleven’s father, Andrew, went to the same school as Terry – that’s how they met. While they hadn’t made any formal arrangements amongst themselves…it was clear that they were in the relationship for the long run. That is, until Terry started the research program and Dr. Brenner started meddling in her life.
Andrew had been previously safe from draft due to his school deferment…but once he was kicked out of the school (he did something reckless, but the other students involved were not removed from the school) that all changed. Dr. Brenner was the mastermind behind getting NAME a more severe punishment, of course. He also arranged for Andrew’s numbers to be calling during the draft lottery.
All of Dr. Banner’s toying directly resulted in Andrew being sent to Vietnam. We could also argue that this all led to his death, since he never did make it home. He died on the field before ever having a chance to find out that Terry was pregnant.
7 Kali’s Origin (Sort of)
Admittedly not a whole lot is revealed about where Kali came from. Hopefully later novels will touch on this a bit more. The book opens with Kali and Dr. Brenner arriving in Hawkins lab together – Dr. Brenner didn’t trust anybody else to transport her. Their relationship at this point implies that while she is new to the lab, she and Brenner are well acquainted by this point. It’s hard to say for certain how long she had been in his ‘care.’
One thing we know about Kali is that she was desperately lonely. She kept begging Dr. Brenner to bring her a friend – since she wasn’t allowed to play with the other children in the facility (assuming she even knew about them). This loneliness is the cause of some of her adventures later in the novel, and is the reason why she was so attached to Eleven.
6 Terry and Kali Knew Each Other
As mentioned above, Kali was painfully lonely. So it’s no surprise that she jumped at the opportunity to make friends. Even if those friends were adults instead of children. One day Terry escaped her room and stumbled across Kali. Their friendship was instantaneous.
Kali just wanted a friend after all, and by that point Terry knew enough of what was going on to be concerned about a child being in the facility. Together they tried to hide their friendship, while also getting into other mischief.
It’s hard to believe that Terry and Kali knew each other. During this time, Terry became pregnant with Eleven, though neither Terry nor Kali knew that at this point.
5 Project MKULtra Almost Got Shut Down
The project that Terry was involved with was known as codename MKUltra. During Terry’s time there, the project very nearly got shut down. Had it not been for Kali and her extraordinary gifts, the project very likely would not have survived to present day (well, present as far as the Netflix series is concerned).
Kali tricked the men that were considering shutting down the program into thinking they were trapped in a room of fire. It was Terry who walked through the flames and calmed the girl down – thus proving to the men that the fire truly was an illusion.
It’s doubtful that the young woman and child knew what part they were playing in this whole mess. Had they known, they may very well have acted differently.
4 Dr. Brenner Concealed the Truth of Terry’s Condition
Being that this was an actual scientific experiment, blood draws were a standard procedure. Every week when Terry and the others showed up, they had their vital checked and blood drawn. This resulted with Dr. Banner and his assistant immediately knowing when Terry became pregnant.
Dr. Banner opted not to tell Terry – knowing that she would stop taking the drugs they were giving her. Instead he warned her that there were side effects to the medication she was taking – such as weight gain and appetite increase. He then instructed his team to begin increasing her doses.
It’s clear that Banner wanted to keep Terry in the dark for as long as possible. Hence why he not only didn’t tell her the truth, but gave her reasons to ignore common pregnancy symptoms. This is arguably one of the lowest things that the man has done.
3 Her Friends Had A Feeling About What Was to Happen
One of Terry’s friends, Alice Johnson, from the very same program she was in…was getting visions, though not very accurate. She was having trouble seeing what was going to happen in the future, because something else kept overriding her visions.One thing she did know though, was that something very bad was going to happen to Terry. Again, she didn’t know what exactly…but she knew it was going to be something. It’s unlikely that she foresaw Terry getting the electroshock, but she did know that Terry kept fighting despite the odds.
She offered to tell Terry what little she knew, but Terry opted not to hear the vague prediction. All she wanted to know was if she kept going, and of course the answer to that is an affirmative.
2 Terry Had a Chance to Run
By the end of the novel Terry was fully aware of two very important things. One, she was pregnant. And two, she needed to get away from Dr. Brenner, and fast. She knew these facts, yet when push came to shove, she made a different decision.
We can all agree that Dr. Brenner is evil incarnate, right? So it’s no surprise that he used one of Terry’s friends (Alice), to force her hand. And Terry, being a good person, couldn’t very well let her friend stay in his clutches. Her plan to free her friend did in fact work…but it came at a price. Terry was free, but Brenner induced her pregnancy while she was there. And we all know where that eventually leads to.
1 They Were Warned About the Demogorgon
Remember how we said that one of the test subjects, NAME, was seeing visions? Well, this is completely true. But her visions were set in a future date – the timing of the first season, in fact. And she kept seeing this…monster in her visions. She even told Dr. Brenner about them.
Naturally Dr. Brenner brushed these visions of monsters off as side effects and hallucinations thanks to the drugs he had her on. Later on he did start to wonder if she was actually seeing them, since Kali believed Alice so earnestly. Regardless of if he believed in the monsters or not, it’s clear that he didn’t take the warning seriously.