cover image Last Tango in Cyberspace

Last Tango in Cyberspace

Steven Kotler. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-20207-9

This near-future technothriller is a breezy around-the-world romp for ex-journalist and “empathy-tracker” Lion Zorn. Lion is hired by British billionaire Sir Richard, head of the high-tech corporation Arctic, to find the mysterious leader of a cult built around the existential mysticism of poet Rainer Maria Rilke. He dodges dragonfly-size surveillance drones while fortifying himself with expensive whiskey, legendary marijuana, and an even more legendary Amex card. Lion is able to recognize the clues that Arctic’s operatives miss, leading him to connect the cult with a new drug, Sietch Tabr, that boosts empathy and that Arctic wants to market. Racing from a spaceport in Truth or Consequences, N.M., to Kuala Lumpur and then to Manhattan, Lion pieces together the truth from clues offered by reclusive Jamaican reggae superstars, Malaysian gangster-artists, and the philosophy of the classic SF novel Dune. Kotler (Stealing Fire) clearly hopes that humans will compassionately open their minds and hearts to the wider world rather than heedlessly destroying it, but Lion’s easy ability to bond with wild creatures and TSA agents may be overly optimistic. Still, it’s a fun story with plenty of SF media references for fans to enjoy. Agent: Paul Bresnick, Bresnick Weil Literary. (May)