ECSTASY CLUB by Douglas Rushkoff

ECSTASY CLUB

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Rushkoff, author of such books on the emerging cyberculture as Playing the Future (1996), etc., applies his Faith Popcornlike sense of the zeitgeist to his first fiction: a high-tech conspiracy tale that ends up as a conventional melodrama despite its next-wave flair. In an abandoned factory in Oakland, a group of drug-munching techno-nerds and cyber-geeks, along with a guru wannabe, set up their experiment in communal living: a huge, fully wired environment for moneymaking parties and performances. With their virtual reality toys and visionquest drugs, the motley group of eight or so full-time residents hope to discover a higher level of consciousness and evolve as a select group of psychic travelers. Duncan, the leader of the rave cult, is a master of situational psychology, capable of bending his minions to his will--except for the narrator. Zack Levi, an Ivy League grad, seems to know that he's just slumming on his way to becoming a suburban shrink. Zack, after all, recognizes the cultic dimensions of the group's experiment as some sort of Zen nazism, a yin-yang adventure in tribe-think. Lauren, Duncan's lover, is also Zack's true love, despite his cohabitation with a hippie chick named Kirsten. When things go haywire, Lauren helps Zack pull out and retreat to domestic bliss in Ohio. Along the way, Duncan focuses his paranoia on one E.T. Harmon, the leader of Cosmotology, a kind of cross between L. Ron Hubbard and Bill Gates. And, like many paranoids, Duncan has real enemies: All the troubles that befall the naive space-trippers are in fact engineered by a grand conspiracy involving Cosmotology, the government, and some characters who resemble such famed space cadets as Timothy Leary and John Lilly. Full of the buzzwords valued by advertisers and marketers, this hyped-up fiction proudly proclaims: ``This demographic belongs to us.'' Enough cyberpop sociology to keep the Internet chatting; others will log off.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-06-017309-2
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997




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