The Body Scout (Orbit, September 2021). Cover by Lauren Panepinto
I rejoined the Science Fiction Book Club over fifteen years ago, because it was the only way to get Jonathan Strahan’s fabulous Best Short Novels anthologies. After a corporate shake-up in 2007 led to the retirement of editor Ellen Asher — who’d been at the helm since 1973 — and Andrew Wheeler was laid off, the SFBC sadly stopped producing original anthologies and those delicious omnibus volumes. I miss them.
I’m still a member, even though their Things to Come newsletter isn’t as interested as it used to be. Partly it’s because they choose my novel The Robots of Gotham as a Feature Selection back in 2018 (a dream I’d had since I was a kid). But also because I still discover interesting books through the club that I don’t find anywhere else. Like Lincoln Michel’s debut novel The Body Scout, a near-future SF noir that looks very intriguing indeed. Here’s the description.
In the future you can have any body you want — as long as you can afford it.
But in a New York ravaged by climate change and repeat pandemics, Kobo is barely scraping by. He scouts the latest in gene-edited talent for Big Pharma-owned baseball teams, but his own cybernetics are a decade out of date and twin sister loan sharks are banging down his door. Things couldn’t get much worse.
Then his brother — Monsanto Mets slugger J.J. Zunz — is murdered at home plate.
Determined to find the killer, Kobo plunges into a world of genetically modified CEOs, philosophical Neanderthals, and back-alley body modification, only to quickly find he’s in a game far bigger and more corrupt than he imagined. To keep himself together while the world is falling apart, he’ll have to navigate a time where both body and soul are sold to the highest bidder.
The Body Scout was the Featured Selection for the Club last month (alongside Kylie Lee Baker’s fantasy The Keeper of Night), and I ordered them both. I guess I’m just a sucker for good marketing copy (and those club discounts). Check out the SFBC here.
The Body Scout was published by Orbit on September 21, 2021. It is 356 pages, priced at $27 in hardcover and $13.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Lauren Panepinto. Read the complete first chapter at Lithub.
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