Muzic Inc had become a music industry giant by staying one step ahead of the game, but for some reason APs (totally cybernetic rock stars) had failed to ship gold.
That was where Glorianna O'Toole came in. The Crazy Old Lady of Rock and Roll was well into her sixties, but with her producer they hoped to synthesize an AP that would really take off.
Glorianna hated everything Muzic Inc had done to the rebel music of her youth, but for the sake of a steady supply of designer dust she was prepared to try and rekindle the revolutionary music spirit of the 1960s.
Meanwhile, at street level, the wire wizards had come up with a new piece of technology: a portable trip machine that made Owsley acid look like a vitamin supplement...
Spinrad mined media hype and manipulation to fine effect in his early novel, Bug Jack Barron. Now 18 years later, he has another go with this near future story of the conglomerate MUZIK's desire to substitute APs (artificial personalities) for its troublesome rock stars. Voxbox artist Sally Genaro and graphics whiz Bobby Rubin create a sensation called Red Jack, thanks to prodding from Glorianna O'Toole, "The Crazy Old Lady of Rock and Roll'' and to the stimulation of the zap, a small electric device that mimics the effects of hallucinogens. What they don't anticipate is the co-opting of Jack's rebel stance by the Reality Liberation Front, an anarchist computer commune churning out programs to bilk money machines, fix tax records, etc. As with much of Spinrad's work, the strong initial impact is vitiated by the excessive length, repetition and crudeness of the novel as a whole.