The Body Scout

A Novel


By Lincoln Michel

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In this “timeless and original” sci-fi thriller (New York Times), a hardboiled baseball scout must solve the murder of his brother in a world transformed by body modification, perfect for readers of William Gibson and Max Barry.

An Esquire Pick for the Top 50 Sci-Fi Books of All Time

A New York Times Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novel of 2021

"A breathlessly paced techno-thriller characterized by stunning, spiky worldbuilding."  Esquire

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 He scouts the latest in gene-edited talent for Big Pharma-owned baseball teams, but his own cybernetics are a decade out of date and twin sister loan sharks are banging down his door.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.

Diamond-sharp and savagely wry, The Body Scout is a timely science fiction thriller debut set in an all-too-possible future.

"I devoured it." —Jonathan Lethem

"Completely weird and still completely real. Delightful—I couldn't put it down."—Shea Serrano




When I couldn’t fall asleep, I counted the parts of the body. I used the outdated numbers. What they’d taught me back in school when only the ultrarich upgraded. Two hundred and six bones. Seventy-eight organs. The separate pieces floated through the fog of my mind, one by one, like strange birds. If I was still awake by the end, I’d think about everything connecting. Miles of nerves and veins snaking through the pile, tying tibia to fibula, connecting heart to lung. Muscles, blood, hair, skin. Everything joining together into a person, into me.

Then I swapped in new parts. A second cybernetic arm or a fresh lung lining for the smog. Cutting-edge implants. This season’s latest organs. I mixed and matched, tweaked and twisted.

I didn’t know if I was really getting myself to sleep. I might have been keeping myself swimming in that liminal ooze between waking problems and troubled dreams. It was a state that reminded me of the anesthetic haze of the surgery table. Like my mattress was a slick metal slab and the passing headlights were the eyelamps of surgery drones. Outside, the world went by. Construction cranes hoisted buildings tall enough to stab the clouds. Cars cluttered the skies. But inside, my senses dulled, the world was gone. I was alone and waiting to wake up as something different, better, and new.

I’d been piecing myself together for years. With surgeries and grafts, with shots and pills. I kept lists of possible procedures. Files of future upgrades that would lead me to an updated life. My brother, JJ Zunz, always laughed about it. “One day I’m going to wake up, and none of you will be left,” he’d say. That would have been fine with me.

We’re all born with one body, and there’s no possibility of a refund. No way to test-drive a different form. So how could anyone not be willing to pay an arm and a leg for a better arm and a better leg?

Sure, we’re each greater than the sum of our parts. But surely greater parts couldn’t hurt.

Each time I upgraded it was wonderful, for a time. I had new sensations, new possibilities. I was getting closer to what I thought I was supposed to be. Then each time seemed to require another time. Another surgery and another loan to pay for it. Two decades of improvements and I still wanted more, but now I had six figures in medical debt crushing me like a beetle under a brick.

That night, as I was Frankensteining a new body for myself in my head, my brother called. The sound jostled me. My imaginary form collapsed, the parts scattering across the dim emptiness of my mind. I opened my eyes. Yawned. Slapped the receiver.

A massive Zunz appeared before me, legs sunk through the carpet to the knees, face severed at the ceiling. He was so large he could have swallowed my head as easily as a hard-boiled egg.

“Kang,” he said. He paused, then repeated the name with a question mark. “Jung Kang?”

I shrank his hologram to the proper size. He glowed at the end of my bed. For some reason, he was wearing his batting helmet. It was 3:00 a.m.

“Um, no. It’s me. Kobo. You dial the wrong address?”

Outside, the bright lights of the city illuminated the nighttime smog. A billboard floated past my window, flashing a Growth Cola ad. The Climate Has Changed, Your Body Should Too.

“Yes. Kobo.” He shook his head. “My brother. How are you?” Zunz spoke haltingly, as if he either had a lot on his mind or nothing at all. He looked healthy at least. A lot of players in the league wanted the retro bodybuilder style, muscles stacked like bricks, but Zunz made sure the trainers kept him lean and taut. When he swung a baseball bat, his arms snapped like gigantic rubber bands.

“Shit, JJ. You sound like you got beaned in the head with a bowling ball. What do the Mets have you on?”

“Lots of things,” he said, looking around at something or someone I couldn’t see. He had several wires running from his limbs to something off feed. “Always lots of things.”

Zunz was a star slugger for the Monsanto Mets and my adopted brother. After the apartment cave-in killed my parents and mushed my right arm, his family took me in. Gave me a home. Technically, I was a few days older than him, but I never stopped thinking of him as my big brother.

“Kobo, I feel weird. Like my body isn’t mine. Like they put me in the wrong one.”

“They? You gotta sleep it off. Hydrate. Inject some vitamins.” I unplugged my bionic right arm, got out of bed. Tried to stretch myself awake. “Here, show me your form.”

Zunz didn’t have a bat on him, but he clicked into a batting stance.

“Fastball right down the middle.”

He swung his empty hands. Stared into the imaginary stands.

“Fourth floor. Home run,” I said. Although his movement was off. The swing sloppy and the follow-through cut short.

Zunz flashed me his lopsided smile. His dimples were the size of dugouts. He got back into his stance. “Another.”

When Zunz had first been called up to the Big Leagues, he used to phone me before every game to get my notes. I never had much to say. Zunz had always been a natural. But I was a scout and it was my job to evaluate players. Zunz needed my reassurance. Or maybe he just wanted to make me feel needed. As his career took off, he started calling me less and less. Once a series. Once a month. Once a season. These days, we barely talked. Still, I watched every game and cheered.

“Sinker,” I said. My arm creaked as I threw the pretend pitch.

I watched his holographic form swing at the empty air. It was strange how many ways I’d seen Zunz over the years. In person and in holograms, on screens and posters and blimps. I knew every curve of his bones, every freckle on his face. And I knew his body. Its shape and power. At the Monsanto Mets compound, he had all the best trainers and serums on the house. I’d never get molded like that, not on my income. But watching Zunz play made me want to construct the best version of myself that I could.

“You look good to me. ChicagoBio White Mice won’t know what hit them.”

Zunz pumped his fist. Smiled wide. He may have been in his thirties but he still grinned like a kid getting an extra scoop of ice cream. Except now he frowned and shook his head. “I feel stiff. Plastic. Unused. Do you know what I mean?”

I held up my cybernetic arm. “Hell, I’m practically half plastic already. But you look like a million bucks. Which is probably the cost of the drugs they’ve got pumping through you.”

I lit an eraser cigarette and sucked in the anesthetic smoke. After a few puffs, I felt as good and numb as I did before an operation.

Thanks to Zunz, the Mets had built a commanding lead in the Homeland League East and cruised through the division series against the California Human Potential Growth Corp Dodgers. As long as they could get past the ChicagoBio White Mice, the Mets were favored to win the whole thing.

“Give the White Mice hell,” I said, blowing out a dark cloud. “Show them a kid from the burrows can take the Mets all the way.”

“Will do, Kang,” Zunz said.

“Kobo,” I said.

“Kobo.” He cocked his head. I heard muffled yelling on his end of the line. I couldn’t see what was around him. Zunz’s hologram turned. He started to speak to the invisible figure.

He shrank to a white dot the size of an eyeball. The dot blinked. Disappeared.

The call had cut out.

I finished my eraser cigarette and went back to sleep. Didn’t think about the call too much. The biopharms always pumped players with new combinations of drugs in preparation for the playoffs. Hoping to get the chemical edge that would hand their team the title, which would lead to more retail sales that could purchase more scientists to concoct new upgrades and keep the whole operation going. Zunz was a high-priced investment. Monsanto would keep him together.

And I had my own problems to worry about. Sunny Day Healthcare Loans was threatening to send collection agents after me again, and I had to skip town for a few days. I took the bullet train down to North Virginia, the latest break-off state, to scout a kid whose fastball was so accurate he could smack a mosquito out of the air. It was true. He showed me the blood splat on the ball.

The Yankees had authorized an offer. The number on the contract made the parents’ eyes pop like fly balls. But when I gave the kid a full workup, I realized they’d been juicing him with smuggled farm supplements. The kind they pump into headless cattle to get the limbs to swell. The kid’s elbow would blow out in a year. Maybe two.

The parents cried a lot. Denied. Begged for a second opinion. I gave them the same one a second time.

I was one of the few biopharm scouts left who specialized in players. Other scouts plugged the numbers into evaluation software and parroted the projections, but I’d spent my whole life desiring the parts of those around me. People like Zunz, who seemed to have success written into their genetic code. I watched them. Studied them. Imagined myself inside them, wearing their skin like a costume, while I sprinted after the ball or slid into third.

I still liked to think baseball was a game of technique and talent, not chemistry and cash. I guess I was a romantic. Now it was the minds that fetched the real money. That’s what most FLB scouts focused on. Scientists working on the latest designer drugs. Genetic surgeons with cutting-edge molecular scalpels. For biopharm teams, players were the blocks of marble. The drugs sculped them into stars.

By the time I got back to New York, the playoffs were in full swing. I got a rush assignment from the Yankees with a new target. I’d planned to go to the game, watch Zunz and the Mets play the White Mice from the front row with a beer in my hand and a basket of beef reeds in my lap. But the Yankees job was quick work and easy money. Which meant I could quickly use that money on another upgrade.

The prospect was a young nervous-system expert named Julia Arocha. Currently under contract at Columbia University. She was working on a stabilization treatment for zootech critters. Her charts were meaningless scribbles to me, but I was impressed with the surveillance footage. Arocha was a true natural. She glided around centrifuges as easily as an ice skater in the rink, holding vials and pipettes as if they were extensions of her limbs.

The next night, I grabbed a cab uptown to the pickup spot. The playoffs were on in the backseat.

“What the hell?” the driver shouted as a Pyramid Pharmaceuticals Sphinxes fielding error gave the BodyMore Inc. Orioles a runner on third. The man flung his arms wide. They shook like he was getting ready to give someone the world’s angriest hug. “You believe that shit?”

“Bad bounce,” I offered.

“Bad bounce? My ass. Hoffmann is a bum. We’d be better off with some Edenist who’d never been upgraded playing right field instead of that loser. Don’t you think?”

“If you say so. I’m a Mets fan.”

He scowled. “Mets,” he said, gagging on the word.

The taxi flew over the East River. Great gray barges cut blue paths through the filter algae below.

“Mets,” he said again. “Well, the customer is always right. Zunz is a good one, I have to admit. They don’t make many players like him anymore.”

“They’re trying. You see the homer he smacked on Friday?”

“Right off the Dove Hospital sign. The arms on that guy. Wish we had him on the Sphinxes.”

“He’s going to take us all the way,” I said.

We flew toward the giant towers of Manhattan with their countless squares of light pushing back the dark, both of us thinking about JJ Zunz. Imagining my brother’s hands gripping the bat, his legs rounding bases in our minds. His body perfect, solid, and, at that point, still alive.



The handoff was going down at an uptown sushi joint named Kamome. Their gimmick was having the sashimi delivered by seagulls. The gulls were only drones, but they squawked like the real thing.

I was in the back corner of the rooftop, spinning a glass of lukewarm shochu in my cold metal hand. My stomach felt sour and my nerves were tingling. After all these years, I still felt nervous on the job. I pulled out an eraser cigarette and sucked it down as quickly as I could. Let the anesthetic smoke numb me.

Julia Arocha was across the roof, dunking gyoza with Columbia deans in spiderwool suits. The deans had struck a trade deal with the Yankees in exchange for a sizable donation to the School of Business Ethics. I guess they wanted to give Arocha a final meal before they explained they’d sold her rights behind her back.

Between us were the usual assortment of customers rich enough to spend a month’s rent on chunks of petri dish tuna. You could tell how wealthy they were by looking at them. Idle rich venturing out from their cloud condos to show off their latest enhancements. Investment bankers built like linebackers. A pair of socialites clinking martini glasses, one elongated with curved bones like giant noodles and the other spilling over the seat with reinforced curves.

The only ones who looked out of place were a wide and knobby pair at the far table beside the seagull docking station. The woman was squat and muscular, stuffed into a crocodile skirt suit. She had thick arms and a brow you could have balanced a champagne glass on. The man was taller, wider, and paler. His suit was dark and sharp while his features were all smoothed out. You could have mistaken him for a human-sized bar of soap that had been used a few too many times.

Trogstoys, people called them. Neanderthals cloned and grown to work the Siberian mushroom farms. Rare in the Remaining States, where cloning sentient beings was illegal. I’d never seen one in person. The woman seemed to be looking at me, but it was hard to make out her eyes under that brow.

We were all on the 201st floor, which was a good thing because the lower part of the city was marinating in smog. It was the big cloud, the gunk that coalesced around the One China factories, thickened above the Pacific oil fires, and then floated across America like a dirty tongue licking the land.

But up here, the air was cool and crisp. Ion vacuums in the shape of lollipops ringed the building below us. The oxygen being pumped in felt like it was blowing straight from the last chunks of the Arctic. I took a sip of shochu, closed my eyes, and breathed in deep.

I liked being up high. Zunz and I had grown up in the burrows of SoCroHi, South Crown Heights, back when those underground apartments were touted as the solution to the housing crisis. Some Silicon Valley architecture firm pitched them as the way to provide low-income apartments without affecting the skyline. They were dirty, dark spaces with air so full of mold we might as well have been chewing on it. Ever since I’d escaped, I’d never been able to go underground without panicking.

A gull flew by me with a tray of shrimp tempura rolls in its beak. A red light beamed like a third eye in the center of the gull’s head. Congress had recently passed a law requiring warning lights since animal forms were the latest drone craze and most were covered in plastiflesh to seal the smog out of the circuitry. People didn’t like being tricked into thinking something fake was real.

I checked my screen. In the Patriot League, the Orioles and Sphinxes had gone to extra innings. I switched over to the Mets game. It was the middle of the fourth, still scoreless. Game four of the Homeland League Championship Series, Monsanto Mets looking for a sweep of the ChicagoBio White Mice. The fielders trotted to their positions.

The center of my plate erupted in static. The AI waiter appeared with a digital grin. “Have you decided on any sustenance this evening, sir?”

“I’m fine with the shochu.”

“May I suggest our dragon roll? It’s the chef’s latest specialty. The synthetic Komodo has ninety-nine point three percent accurate musculature.”

“Okay, sure. One dragon roll.”

“May I also suggest—”

“Nope.” I doused the plate with soy sauce until the waiter disappeared beneath the dark pond.

A gull dropped an orange glob of fluorescent uni on Arocha’s plate. She placed it on her tongue and smiled as it dissolved. As she talked to the three deans, she stabbed the air with her chopsticks. She was describing some big plans, about changing the world or some other beautiful horseshit dream. I wondered how many years it would be before the biopharms figured out how to slice off a prospect’s head and preserve it in a jar. Cut out the middleman, call it efficiency.

Baseball was a nasty business. I told myself all the usual things. How it would be some other asshole doing the job if it wasn’t me. How this was just how the modern world worked. It didn’t help. But dreaming of what the money could buy me did. A down payment on the shoulder tune-up, I thought, or maybe a new module for my eye. At least if I could buy some time from Sunny Day Healthcare Loans.

Bottom of the fourth, Lex Dash at the plate doing a curtsy after dodging a curveball that cut behind her knees. Dash was the Mets’ leadoff hitter and was built like a kangaroo. The Mets lab team had her on a strict lower-leg regimen that had her halfway to first base the moment her bat cracked the ball.

The ChicagoBio pitcher wound up. Flung. The pitch dropped low, bounced off the dirt. The floating strike zone flashed red. Fourth ball. A walk. Dash pranced mockingly to first and the pitcher threw his glove at the ground. The White Mice were one of the only all-male teams left, and still hadn’t gotten used to women in the league, much less other genders, and a switcher like Dash was good at getting under their skin.

“Line them up,” I mumbled. Walking batters was never a smart idea with Zunz in wait.

My sushi came, and I threw a piece into my mouth, almost choking. Over a decade having a bionic arm and I still hadn’t mastered chopsticks. As I chewed, I thought I noticed the Neanderthal woman watching me. She had an odd smile on her face. The kind that wanted to creep up behind you in the dark. I shifted my chair around to obstruct her view.

Sam Tzu struck out without much of a fight. Henry “Hologram” Graham was on deck and Zunz was waiting in the hole. I could see the brown smudge at the corner of Zunz’s smile, a small birthmark he’d declined to laser off because he thought it was shaped like a baseball glove. “The game is etched in my skin,” he liked to say.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the woman in the crocodile suit stroll toward me. She walked with an odd mix of power and grace. Her legs put tree trunks to shame.

“Mr. Kobo, I’m afraid I have bad news.” Her voice was higher pitched than I’d expected. A little nasal on the vowels. She had freckles as faint as ghosts on her skin and a nose the shape of a baby’s fist.

“Oh yeah?” I pulled out an eraser, offered her one from the pack.

“I only smoke naturals,” she said.

“Wouldn’t have guessed there was anything natural about you.”

Her lips made a crevice of a smile. “If you’re referring to my laboratory origins, I’ll remind you we Neanderthals evolved before you sapiens. Perhaps that makes us the truly natural ones. The archaeological evidence suggests we were quite happy before your ancestors murdered us all. May I sit?”

“Sure, and my apologies,” I said. I figured she was a Sunny Day officer here to haggle over money I didn’t have. There was no point in pissing her off with a debate about prehistory. “I’m glad we brought you back.”

“It was the least your kind could have done.” She tossed one leg on top of the other. Her eyes were large and green. “You can call me Natasha, Mr. Kobo. I know you sapiens prefer to be on a first-name basis. It establishes a sense of friendship, a closeness. Yes?”

I glanced at the screen. Graham had two strikes. Zunz was taking practice swings.

“I don’t get close with loan sharks. But you can tell Sunny Day they don’t have to worry. I’m on a job tonight and will have a nice payout when I deliver.”

“See, that’s the bad news I was referring to.” Her long lips frowned affably. “I’m not a loan officer. I’m here representing the interests of Dereck T. Mouth. Owner, CEO, and president of the Monsanto Mets.”

“You’re a scout? I haven’t seen you at the conferences.”

“Let’s call me an executive assistant. I’m afraid Julia Arocha is no longer on the market. My employer heard the Yankees wanted her and so he decided he wanted her more. You know how these owners get.”

My breath came out hot and slow. If I didn’t bring Arocha in, I didn’t get paid. And then Sunny Day didn’t get paid and someone a lot less friendly than this Neanderthal paid me a visit.

“The deal is already worked out,” I said, standing up a little too quickly. “There’s a contract.”

Natasha laid an upturned hand on the table next to the wad of wasabi. “Oh, everyone has contracts. But only one can have possession. At least until we get the kinks of duplication cloning worked out.”

I saw her mean-looking friend amble toward the Columbia table.

I needed to get there first, talk to the deans, figure out what rotten stunt they were pulling. Or simply nab Arocha and get her in the van, haggle over the details from the sealed Yankees compound. Possession was nine-tenths of the law in contract negotiations.

“Please, Mr. Kobo,” Natasha said. She placed her warm hand on top of mine. “I’m telling you as a professional courtesy.”

I called my backup, told him to fly the van over for a quick evacuation job. But my legs got wobbly. Like someone had swapped out my bones for rubber tubes. I fell down beside a pair of slender, engineered legs attached to one of the socialites. “Ew,” the owner said. Pushed me away with one of her elongated heels.

Natasha strolled over and grabbed the metal of my forearm, pulled me up as easily as a bag of feathers, and flopped me back into my chair. She waved over a seagull and ordered an espresso and a glass of water.

“You Americans have always been unsuspicious of your restaurant food,” Natasha said. “Dereck Mouth owns this restaurant, among many other fine establishments in the city. Although I’m not sure how I feel about it myself. Raw flesh? Even synthetic, I don’t understand the appeal. When my people discovered fire, we never looked back.”

Natasha put two white pills beside my soy sauce dish. They looked like two moons about to be sucked into a black hole. “When you’re able to move again, take these. They’ll help with the headache. You’ll want help.”

“Fuck you,” I tried to say, but it came out half a syllable. I wanted to grab her throat and squeeze. My arm only twitched.

“You have what they call heart, Mr. Kobo. Perhaps we can work together at a future juncture.”

I watched Natasha walk away, turning as blurry as a bigfoot photo. I blinked. Looked to where the Columbia table had been. A big, wide figure was lifting an unformed shape.

My head throbbed. The restaurant seemed to be dissolving into thick mist. The waiter reappeared in my plate, his face faint beneath the puddle. I couldn’t hear what he said. Something about dessert options. I couldn’t move, yet I felt at peace. As if I was evolving, or devolving, into a human jellyfish. A clear hunk of skin drifting in vast waters without struggle.

The figures left. The other customers seemed disturbingly unperturbed. They’d stopped looking at me, began looking at their screens.

I could only move my eyes. I looked down at the screen where the game was still playing. I thought I was starting to hallucinate. Zunz was at the plate, but he wasn’t swinging. Not exactly. His body was shaking, glitching almost. His skin seemed to be turning blue. A drop of blood dripped out of his ear. Another from his nose. Then red strings were streaming down his face.

I closed my eyes. Opened them.

I saw Zunz drop his bat, collapse. My best friend, my idol, my brother. Knees and face in the dirt.

“He’s dying,” someone said.

Zunz looked up. His eyes and mouth were wide open. Three big circles.

I tried to move.

The sound was off, but a man at the table next to me screamed “No.” I couldn’t make out any of the other words. Only “No.” Then again, and louder. “No. No. No!”



It wasn’t a hallucination and it wasn’t only Zunz’s face. Whatever poison they’d slipped inside him traveled through his system, turning the skin strange colors. Blues and greens blotched with red. Chunks of liquifying matter had dripped out of his nostrils alongside the blood. Splattered on the plate.

His teammates ran toward him, then stopped. Backed away. Zunz was on the ground, a red puddle expanding under his face.

I learned all this from the replays when I got home. I was shaking all over. I dropped Natasha’s painkillers on the kitchen counter and forced myself to see what happened to Zunz with undrugged eyes.


  • "Blends noir, cyberpunk, and sports into something at once timeless and original...Michel's writing is beautiful, too, breathing sophisticated life into stock genre types, and illuminating vast tracks of story with casual wrist-flicks of world building. The Body Scout is a wild ride, sad and funny, surreal and intelligent."—Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times
  • “Lincoln Michel’s debut is a darkly comic, propulsive science fiction thriller.  We are all cyborgs now, so the connections here are clear and on point.  Play ball!”—Kim Stanley Robinson, New York Times bestselling author of The Ministry of the Future
  • This novel is delightful in its brio and sharp as a tack in its inventiveness—and yet its greatest, most poignant gift is in asking: What does it mean to inhabit a body? A superb read.—Esmé Weijun Wang, Whiting-Award-winning author of The Collected Schizophrenias
  • The Body Scout is the kind of wild, inventive adventure that i’d been searching for. It scratched a special itch: sly and smart, weird and wonderful, all in one package. A little bit Philip K. Dick, and I detect hints of Julio Cortazar too. Lincoln Michel is a wildly talented author and this novel is something special indeed.”—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling
  • The Body Scout is a fizzy and brilliant confabulation, an anticorporate extrapolative throwdown that is equal parts Pohl-and-Kornbluth and George Saunders, with loads of heart, a skewed and hilarious language all its own, and the audacity to propose that the New York Mets could win a World Series by competent skullduggery. I devoured it.”
     —Jonathan Lethem, award-winning author of Motherless Brooklyn
  • "A classing cyberpunk noir with a twist of fresh modern relevance."—BoingBoing
    “Completely weird and still completely real. Delightful—I couldn't put it down."
     —Shea Serrano, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Basketball (And Other Things)
  • "A delirious, thrilling ride. I loved Kobo and his bad habits and broken heart, and his world is so weird and wonderful and packed with eye-popping tech that it's easy to miss how much it has to say about our own."
     —Sam J Miller, Nebula-Award-winning author of Blackfish City
  • “The Body Scout is like a sci-fi detective novel that a sci-fi detective would write. Like the hybrids and cyborgs who fill this book, Lincoln Michel has the restless brain of Philip K. Dick, the bloodshot eyes of David Cronenberg, the tongue of William Gibson, and a beating heart ripped straight from Raymond Chandler's chest.”
     —Tony Tulathimutte, Whiting-Award-winning author of Private Citizen
  • The Body Scout is the best kind of cautionary tale, with urgent things to say about evolution, health care, and human nature. This is a story populated by fantastic characters and worldbuilding, but most importantly: it's a hell of a lot of fun to read.”
     —Rob Hart, author of The Warehouse
  • "A wonderfully entertaining and disquieting jaunt through a world both old and new."—Alice Sola Kim, Whiting-Award-winner
  • "A mashup of cyberpunk, noir detective novel, and literary fiction centered on the premise of what it means to be human, and well worth the advance buzz it has already received."—Brooklyn Rail
  • "Mesmerizing..offers a compelling vision of tomorrow along with a haunting question: where would you find yourself if you lived in this world?"—
  • "Interweaves world building with plot so seamlessly that the rapid-fire pace never feels bogged down by exposition...Michel is having an enormous amount of fun in his sandbox, creating worlds with an equal measure of hard-won skill and a sense of spirited, mischievous play."—Chicago Review of Books
  • "A sci-fi noir with rich, earnest character development..a refreshing and assuredly unique work...As in many great noir and literary stories alike, The Body Scout’s perspective is world-weary, and yet the book betrays Michel’s essential optimism: books can still be odd, adventure can still be smart, and, in a culture that has trained us toward the familiar, there are still readers out there hoping for something new."—BOMB Magazine

On Sale
Sep 21, 2021
Page Count
368 pages

Lincoln Michel

About the Author

Lincoln Michel is the author of the story collection Upright Beasts (Coffee House Press, 2015), which was named a best book of the year by Buzzfeed and reviewed in the New York Times; Vanity Fair; O, The Oprah Magazine; and elsewhere. His fiction and poetry appear in The Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, Strange Horizons, Vice's Motherboard, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. His essays and criticism have been published by The New York Times, GQ, Rolling Stone, and The Guardian. He is the former editor-in-chief of Electric Literature. He is the co-editor of the science fiction anthology Gigantic Worlds (Gigantic Books 2015), the flash noir anthology Tiny Crimes (Catapult, 2018), and the forthcoming horror anthology Tiny Nightmares (Catapult, 2020). He teaches speculative fiction writing in the MFA programs at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.

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