Harrison mixes vignettes of the sex lives of rich people, mainly young and Eurasian, with journalistic pieces on economics, physics, and politics.
In the fictional portions of this book, members of a Shanghai sorority—an exclusive club for rich, politically well-connected young women—jockey for position as they enjoy luxurious lifestyles and explore their sexuality. Meanwhile, the young men in their circle work business deals, take drugs, pursue status, and chase women. In other chapters, a Creator called Taupin, living on a planet with three suns, tries to make sense of the Logos Simulation. There are also ghosts. In the nonfiction sections, journalist/entrepreneur Harrison, writing his debut work, sets forth his research and theories on such topics as hyperdimensionality, consciousness, authenticity, socioeconomics, bitcoin, and democracy. The author recommends his peripatetic, flitting style—or butterfly approach—to the reader as the best method for understanding coming change. Harrison draws some interesting connections, as when he compares the 1989 Tiananmen Square protestors to American hip-hop artists. He can be opaque (readers with “no inclination for a massively technical discussion” are invited to skip Chapter 3), but he explains the intricacies of, for example, digital-payment systems well: “Because bitcoin is all part of one great code, it is impossible for a single bitcoin to be counterfeit.” Alongside so much lesbian teenage sex, this could be a heady mix. But often, the book resembles nothing so much as dull 18th-century pornography in which sordid sex scenes alternate with treatises on political liberty: “ ‘Now personally,’ surmised Gina, waving her left finger, still wet with my white cum smear, ‘I don’t think that God is light or dark or maybe even anything.’ ” Also, while the work is breathlessly excited by all things cutting edge, its presentation of female sexuality is not well-informed fiction: “I came on my clit,” says a confused young lady.
Butterflies are pretty, light, and charming; this book, not so much.