Last Tango in Cyberspace

Last Tango in Cyberspace

New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler crafts a near-future thriller about the evolution of empathy. Hard to say when the human species fractured exactly. Harder to say when this new talent arrived. But Lion Zorn is the first of his kind--an empathy tracker, an emotional soothsayer, with a felt sense for the future of the we. In simpler terms, he can spot cultural...

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Title:Last Tango in Cyberspace
Author:Steven Kotler
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Edition Language:English

Last Tango in Cyberspace Reviews

  • Tonstant Weader

    Last Tango in Cyberspace is a sort “the day after tomorrow” science fiction, taking us just enough into the future to disconcert us and put us off balance, while retaining so much that is familiar. Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Virgin Air, and many other corporations retain their power and influence in this step into the future. The most unfamiliar element of the future is the degree with which bio-hacking has become commonplace. This is not just implanting a credit card chip in your forearm, but

    Last Tango in Cyberspace is a sort “the day after tomorrow” science fiction, taking us just enough into the future to disconcert us and put us off balance, while retaining so much that is familiar. Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Virgin Air, and many other corporations retain their power and influence in this step into the future. The most unfamiliar element of the future is the degree with which bio-hacking has become commonplace. This is not just implanting a credit card chip in your forearm, but more like hacking your brain to potentiate your natural talents.

    Lion Zorn has developed his naturally empathic traits and become an em-tracker, a career as a trend spotter, but on a cultural level. He consults for various people and industries, identifying the next new thing, or more consequentially, the next new movement. He is hired by one of the world’s richest men, the CEO of Arctic Pharmaceuticals, to find someone, a quest that takes him around the globe. Along the way, he also tries to solve the bizarre murder of a big game hunter. “They are hunting the hunters,” he realizes and his past as an animal rights activist informs and fuels his search.

    Steven Kotler drops us right in the story without long explication of how society has changed so the first chapter or two can be a bit disconcerting as readers acclimate, but after that, it’s an exciting thriller with plenty of intriguing characters and potential for a continuing series. Except that is not the point, the point is exploring the power of empathy and its value in saving us, as a species, if we can be saved. Much of the story is concerned obliquely with the rapid extinction of species and our role in it, encouraging greater empathy with nonhuman life on this planet we share. This is important and it’s encouraging to see it become a central theme in a sci-fi thriller.

    The story is weakest when the conversation is used to educate, for example, on how humans became human, why we have values that other primates lack. It’s interesting, but the story is better showing rather than telling. Kotler tries to do this with dialogue, but it’s still telling and becomes a bit didactic, but then Zorn’s favorite book is “Dune” so what do you expect?

    Last Tango in Cyberspace is thought-provoking and well-written. I found myself highlighting so much that was worthy of coming back to think about again. Because of this the reader often confronts opposing needs, wanting to stop and think about what Kotler just wrote and equally wanting to race through the propulsive plot. I generally chose the latter.

    Last Tango in Cyberspace will be released on May 14th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.

    Last Tango in Cyberspace at St. Martin’s Press | Macmillan

    Steven Kotler author site

    ★★★★

  • Lou

    Steven Kotler returns with another unique cyberpunk sci-fi adventure set about five years into our future and explores the intersections of psychology, technology, neuroscience, and ecology with an eye toward realism and the breathless pace of a thriller. Main protagonist Lion Zorn is what makes this enjoyable and kept me reading despite the disjointed and slightly convoluted narrative. He resonated with me in particular because of his quiet, introverted nature. The plot concept is solid and ori

    Steven Kotler returns with another unique cyberpunk sci-fi adventure set about five years into our future and explores the intersections of psychology, technology, neuroscience, and ecology with an eye toward realism and the breathless pace of a thriller. Main protagonist Lion Zorn is what makes this enjoyable and kept me reading despite the disjointed and slightly convoluted narrative. He resonated with me in particular because of his quiet, introverted nature. The plot concept is solid and original with the idea being that Zorn predicts future cultural trends through empathy.

    Much of the technology featured in the book is either in use widely today, in use to some extent or rumoured to be in existence, so this is speculative fiction that isn't so, well, speculative. I know quite a few people have commented on how dense and almost heavy this is to read; I think that's due to the fact that this is a merging of the science fiction and non-fiction genres in the sense that the story is interspersed with tidbits of information on technology and advancement and warnings about it being best to move forward at a slower pace rather than taking one giant leap - it's difficult to disagree with this.

    Last Tango in Cyberspace will not be for every sci-fi nut, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will reread at a canter rather than a gallop in the not too distant future. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for an ARC.

  • Tomislav

    I read Steven Kotler’s 2019 near-future thriller “Last Tango in Cyberspace” in trade paperback, which I received as an Advance Reader Copy in the mail, from St. Martin's Press, in a goodreads giveaway. I also received an ebook copy from them through netgalley, in exchange for publishing an honest review on social media platforms (goodreads, bookcrossing, etc.) and on my book review blog. The novel's publication date is expected to be 14 May 2019. It is not part of any form of series, but there a

    I read Steven Kotler’s 2019 near-future thriller “Last Tango in Cyberspace” in trade paperback, which I received as an Advance Reader Copy in the mail, from St. Martin's Press, in a goodreads giveaway. I also received an ebook copy from them through netgalley, in exchange for publishing an honest review on social media platforms (goodreads, bookcrossing, etc.) and on my book review blog. The novel's publication date is expected to be 14 May 2019. It is not part of any form of series, but there are numerous references to Frank Herbert’s

    , which I recommend readers to have previously read, or at least be familiar with. Really, if you haven’t read Dune, you ought to, regardless of this.

    Steven Kotler is an American writer, the author of a number of non-fiction books – futurism, human potential, culture, health – as well as articles in well-respected magazines. This is actually his second novel, the first to be categorized as science fiction. As a reviewer of primarily science and science fiction, I have to report that almost none of the concepts in this book are speculation. Only the synthesized drug known as Sietch Tabor, an extreme empathy enhancer, is total creation. The cover blurbs and even the title imply that this novel is of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction, but I think that is misleading. The setting is not even partially in a cybernetic virtual reality, but rather fully in a real reality - albeit one where a lot of psychedelic drugs are used. Thematically, it may even be anti-cyberpunk. What the novel is, is a very stylistic thriller.

    There are aspects of the writing style which I personally find irritating. Numerous sentences and paragraphs which are not actually even sentences. Like this one. Contemporary product and cultural references which surely are transitory and will be obsolete in 5 years. Hits the drugs, sex, and punk rock scene pretty hard. Rasta talk. Take those stylistic trappings away, and what we have is private investigator Lion Zorn chasing down rival conspiracies surrounding a newly designed drug. One of those conspiracies, and the more obvious one, is motivated by the immense profit potential of the drug, and lavish amounts of cash are expended to leverage Lion’s empathy skills to track its formulation down. The other conspiracy is from a unique and innovative perspective, which I will not discuss further to protect from spoilers.

    In the end, while I enjoyed some aspects of the novel, I felt it is probably written for a more cinematic and pop culture audience than myself. More the edgy stepchild of Philip K. Dick, than a William Gibson or Neal Stephenson.

  • Kitten Kisser

    This book rambles on & on about a lot of everything & nothing. It's like the author was determined to fit every technology that exists in labs or is rumored to exist into the story. The first three quarters of the story was incredibly boring & felt like going in a circle. Lion our main character & empathy tracker seems unable to track much of anything. All he seems to be good at is doing drugs. The character is to high to perceive depth, so high he cannot remember the passage of

    This book rambles on & on about a lot of everything & nothing. It's like the author was determined to fit every technology that exists in labs or is rumored to exist into the story. The first three quarters of the story was incredibly boring & felt like going in a circle. Lion our main character & empathy tracker seems unable to track much of anything. All he seems to be good at is doing drugs. The character is to high to perceive depth, so high he cannot remember the passage of time, so high he cannot remember falling asleep, so high he's not sure if what he is seeing is a hallucination or if it's real, so high... whatever. It seems everyone is an addict in this future.

    There is also a lot to do about animals & how humans are evil meanies to animals. How we shouldn't use animal anything when everything can be made fake. Fake, great, so I guess in the near future we have totally solved our trash problem? 'Last Tango in Cyberspace for Vegans'. BTW, I'm not knocking Vegan's. I have zero issues with anyone who chooses a Vegan lifestyle. My issue is with this awful book.

    How about the details. If you are familiar with Dean Koontz you are then all too familiar with how he will drone on excessively about the sky or weather or some such thing. There are many passages like that in this book, the problem with the majority of them is they make absolutely no sense. They feel completely pointless. Kind of like this book.

    The last quarter of the book is when things finally started to look like they may pick up. References to Temple Gandin & potentially the answers this idiot Lion is supposed to be so good at figuring out. For a tiny bit there it held me, but then back to the drugs & the descriptions. Then the climax or a should say lack of.

    I will never be able to read all the books I want in my lifetime. To think I wasted several days slogging through this mess when I could have been reading something, anything else.

  • Jypsy

    Last Tango in Cyberspace was an unfortunate let down for me. I do like sci fi but not hard sci fi, so this story felt overwhelming and heavy. I was confused and bogged down in the plot. The characters failed to capture my intrest. And, I was bothered and surprised by the frequent drug use. It's a good story for the right reader, but it's not for me. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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