A WIRED "BOOK YOU NEED TO READ" • For fans of the worlds of Philip K. Dick, Squid Game, and Severance: An absorbing tale of corporate intrigue, political unrest, unsolved mysteries, and the havoc wreaked by one company’s monomaniacal endeavor to build the world’s first space elevator.
From one of South Korea's most revered science fiction writers, whose identity remains unknown, "an antic, madcap noir with flair" (Wired).
On the fictional island of Patusan—and much to the ire of the Patusan natives—the Korean conglomerate LK is constructing an elevator into Earth’s orbit, gradually turning this one-time tropical resort town into a teeming travel hub: a gateway to and from our planet. Up in space, holding the elevator’s “spider cable” taut, is a mass of space junk known as the counterweight. And stashed within that junk is a trove of crucial data: a memory fragment left by LK’s former CEO, the control of which will determine the company’s—and humanity’s—future.
Racing up the elevator to retrieve the data is a host of rival forces: Mac, the novel’s narrator and LK’s Chief of External Affairs, increasingly disillusioned with his employer; the everyman Choi Gangwu, unwittingly at the center of Mac’s investigations; the former CEO’s brilliant niece and power-hungry son; and Rex Tamaki, a violent officer in LK’s Security Division. They’re all caught in a labyrinth of fake identities, neuro-implant “Worms,” and old political grievances held by the Patusan Liberation Front, the army of island natives determined to protect Patusan’s sovereignty.
Conceived by Djuna as a low-budget science fiction film, with literary references as wide-ranging as Joseph Conrad and the Marquis de Sade, Counterweight is part cyberpunk, part hardboiled detective fiction, and part parable of South Korea’s neocolonial ambition and its rippling effects.