From the New York Times

The Prankster's Death
Some names come trailing behind them not a sense of the person but an idea of something larger, a time, a possibility, an actual shift in the ways of being. Ken Kesey's is a name like that. The man it belonged to died Saturday at 66, after complications following liver surgery. Mr. Kesey was only 27 when his first novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," was published, a book that began the making of his reputation. People will be arguing about the meaning of that reputation for years to come, even as it grows more and more elusive.

Mr. Kesey's creativity was never limited to the written page. His other muse was collaborative, committed to the swift transformations of the moment. For a time a drug - LSD - seemed to give those transformations a kinetic reality. The story of Mr. Kesey's first encounter with LSD in 1959, as a volunteer in an experiment, has acquired the aura of legend. Depending on your point of view, he was a guinea pig, a trickster or a criminal. He was, in any case, one of the figures responsible for bringing LSD out of the realm of national security, where it was being studied by the C.I.A. and the Army, and into the realm of the public. In the "acid tests" he held at La Honda, Calif., in the hills above Palo Alto, he and his friends created much of the aesthetic context that came to define the LSD experience as that generation knew it - a mix of music, lights, nature, the surprises of consciousness, and the trip-long drift of interpersonal connections.

To think back to 1964, the year that he and Neal Cassady and the Merry Pranksters drove across America and back in a Day-Glo bus, is to remember a far-off country. It was one of those transcendent moments that ultimately seemed to conspire with the time, just as the time was changing.

Jack Kerouac went on the road, but that was a private trip. Mr. Kesey mapped the road out for the rest of us, whether we took it or not, whether we found him merry or not, whether we liked his kind of pranks or not. The Kesey road began in La Honda, where for years afterward you could still feel the echo of the acid tests, and it eventually led everywhere.