Ecstacy Club

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"A darkly comic contemporary fable: a brave, very funny, very knowing trip through the neo-psychedelic substrate of the wired world." ?William Gibson, bestselling author of Neuromancer and Idoru

Douglas Rushkoff?the foremost authority on cyberculture and author of Cyberia, Media Virus and Playing the Future?has penned the ultimate novel for our fast and furious times. A wired-in thrill ride into the here and now of tripping, raving, ...

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"A darkly comic contemporary fable: a brave, very funny, very knowing trip through the neo-psychedelic substrate of the wired world."William Gibson, bestselling author of Neuromancer and Idoru

Douglas Rushkoff—the foremost authority on cyberculture and author of Cyberia, Media Virus and Playing the Future—has penned the ultimate novel for our fast and furious times. A wired-in thrill ride into the here and now of tripping, raving, net-surfing...and beyond.

"An eerie tale of 20-somethings caught up in an increasingly trippy world of homegrown religion. Set in an abandoned piano factory in Oakland, CA., Rushkoff's novel drops several characters—hackster, hipster, hustler, hippie—into a pop-culture Cuisinart along with a nice Jewish boy, and then spins them off into an intricate plot that leads to a showdown with the leader of a rival cultlike group." —New York Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
Club kids and new technologies potentiate like drugs and alcohol in a thriller that's the first novel from media critic Rushkoff (Media Virus) as well as the first fiction to come from HarperEdge.

Rushkoff draws on his knowledge of cyberculture and the rave scene (and its use of the eponymous drug, ecstasy) to explore the weirdness that could result when alternative culture turns on, drops out and logs on. Led by Duncan, a charismatic young Brit with hypnotic powers, a group of educated, disenfranchised 20-somethings take over an abandoned piano factory in Oakland, Calif., envisioning a space where the party never stops and where they might possibly tap into another dimension. A modern variation of Ken Kesey's 1960s Bay Area "Acid Tests," the Ecstasy Club sponsors computer experiments fueled by mountains of hallucinogenic drugs. There is high-tech method to its madness, and there are forces working against it. As malevolent coincidences begin to mount, it becomes clear that a remarkable number of people are involved in a conspiracy involving government mind-control-the police, the feds, Plugged magazine, Hollywood actors and a 1960s drug guru. At the root of it all is the ultra-paranoid E.T. Harmon, founder of the powerful, mind-controlling "Cosmotology" cult.

Narrated by Zach Levi, a sensitive tech wiz who is second in command to Duncan, the novel has enough immediacy and plausibility to make it magnetically readable. But as Zach's suspicions about Duncan's motivations grow, and as he finds himself increasingly drawn to Duncan's girlfriend Lauren, the conspiracy plot gets dumber and dumber. It's hard to reconcile Rushkoff's sharp-edged journalistic observations with the lumbering super-conspiracy idea he comes up with. His creaky plot undoes him in the end, but his writing talent indicates better novels ahead; meanwhile, this will be a hot item among the Gen-Xers.

Kirkus Reviews
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573227025
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Edition description: LST RIVERH
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.21 (w) x 8.03 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Ruskoff's previous books—including Cyberia and Media Virus—have been translated into thirteen languages. He is the Technology and Culture Consultant to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and a regular consultant to Fortune 500 companies, and he writes a bi-weekly column for the New York Times syndicate. He teaches at the Esalen Institute and Banff Center for the Arts, and will be adjunct professor of Media Sociology at New York University in 1999. He lives in New York City.

Douglas Rushkoff is currently featured on ZDTV's "Big Thinkers" series. Check out the site at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2005

    For Ravers

    This book definitely shows what it's like to throw a warehouse rave. Although, Rushkoff doesn't use lingo he uses technical terms. That's kind of weird since ravers use really bad English.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2004


    This book was not what I expected. It started off pretty good, but towards the end it was a little confusing and I thought the idea was just dumb.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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