Cover Image: The Future

The Future

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[Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

	This is possibly one of the most disturbing near-future SF novels I've read in a long time, although it's also one of the more didactic.  At times, I felt as though I was reading something by the late lamented Sheri S. Tepper.  Like Tepper, Alderman has a gift for tight plotting and three-dimensional characterization.   Like her, she also has the occasional tendency to tell rather than show.  How much this may bother the individual reader depends on how much the reader agrees with Alderman -- or, perhaps, how willing a reader is to ignore this & keep following the relentlessly twisty plot all the way to the end.

	Although the first part of the novel is structured around three tech billionaires -- in charge of companies I kept trying to link to real-world tech empires  -- the real viewpoint characters are one level down.  Most of these are female, gay, nonbinary, or some combination.  These are the people doing the real work (or possibly undoing someone else's work) of changing the future.  Some of their detailed backstories are not pretty, and they are interspersed with the ongoing action of the main plot in ways it took me a while to get used to.  Few details are extraneous, however.  As the apocalyptic story line plays out, most prove to be essential to the reader's understanding.

	There are plenty of Big Ideas in this one (sometimes too many), but most examine what happens when people start trusting their technology more than they trust themselves.  Alderman offers plenty of quotable observations about this, without slowing the plot down much.  She also has a good bit to say about the uses & abuses of social media, and the ways people still manage to create strong relationships within it.  There is also quite a lot of religion -- one of the viewpoint characters grew up in a fundamentalist cult -- handled in an unexpectedly balanced way.  Religion, like technology, may have its uses as well as its flaws. 

	There's no quick way to summarize the plot of this one without committing spoiler, so I won't.   Readers looking for a multilayered SF thriller with compelling characters won't be disappointed, but the plot's not entirely linear &  first few chapters are a slow burn.  Recommended for those who don't mind a lecture or two with their thrills, & aren't afraid of thinking
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Truthfully, I picked this because I liked the cover and then the concept sounded cool. I am not in the right mindset to enjoy this book. The characters were just awful enough to not hold my interest and the timeline confused me
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This is definitely not something to pick up casually, much like Alderman's previous work. She delves into some heavy stuff, tying together cults, the influence of technology companies, internet security, plagues/viruses, and more. It also will suit reader who have longer reading opportunities - especially the beginning jumps around in time and between characters not super obviously, and it was a bit difficult to track when read in shorter spurts. Overall, I thought the ideas were amazing and I enjoy that Alderman isn't afraid to suggest some extreme options for...well, the Future. I think this would make a great book club choice, as there is so much to discuss. 3.5 stars, rounded down.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm not the biggest fan for dystopian reads but this one sucked me right in and I could not stop reading it.  It was utterly fantastic.  The detail is excellent and the development of AI portrayed in this book is terrifying.  There are a multitude of lessons found within this book and I wish everyone had the chance to read it.  I am definitely interested in reading other books from this author. I am so impressed.
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I loved The Power, so I had high expectations for The Future.  The structure of this book will feel familiar to readers of The Power.  Characters are spread out around the globe and interact infrequently with one another.  The ultra wealthy are preparing to retreat to their "end of the world" islands and bunkers to wait out the worst of coming breakdown of society.  Survivalist  Lai Zhen, finds herself mixed up in a conspiracy she can't quite figure out and doesn't seem to be unfolding according to anyone's plan.

Ultimately this book did not wow me as The Power did.  There are some great moments and some wonderfully despicable characters, but I felt that the conclusion was rushed and the reader didn't have enough time to absorb the subtleties before the book ended.

The Future is a good read, just not a great one.
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Did I read this book in basically a day and a half? I sure did. Did I stop doing other things to read this book? Damn right. This book was so compelling, so engaging, so pertinent and of our time that to stop reading it probably would have driven me crazy. The story follows a world not unlike ours - run by a very few tech company billionaires who have contingency plans in place for the end of the world, and ways of knowing ahead of time when that will occur. The story was so well thought out and so completely feasible that I could not put it down - no joke. I recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about Earth's future, about the state of the world today, and about what social media and the power of most of the world being in the hands of very few people who only have the bottom line and profit in their sights - not the world's best interest. So many lessons can be found in this book, and I highly recommend you read it and find out. 

This ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed The Power but not as much as I loved The Future. I found the Future more realistic of what could happen as technology advances. The stories of everyone weaves together so nicely with rich detail. The explanation of AI and so many other topics are simplified to a clear understanding that makes you feel engaged in how it will work. The creativity of what the future could be, both positive and negative, is beautifully written. 

I think those that also liked The Goldfinch or Cloud Cuckcoo Land will love this book.

This has been posted to Goodreads.
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This apocalyptic book made for a very interesting read. It’s a book that I could see initiating many great conversations. I felt the ending was a bit too neat and over explained, but the book as a whole was super engaging.
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Oh man, I really wanted this to be a 5-star read for me, but I had a few issues with the plot and the characters. The story is told through multiple viewpoints and through the posts on a Reddit-like website. Essentially, the tech billionaires in Alderman's world know that the end of the world is coming. It might be a war or another pandemic. It doesn't really matter what it is, they want to escape it.

There are three main tech billionaires who have pretty recognizable counterparts in our world (think Musk, etc.). The three main billionaires are working on secret safe zones hidden in the name of nature preserves. Each billionaire is pretty much a narcissist. Instead of saving the world they helped damn, they're willing to take the golden ticket and escape. The book very much outlines how tech companies take our data and use it not just for ads but to shape all the media we consume and how driving hateful comments increases engagement.

Lai Zhen is our every person in this situation who is a dedicated survivalist that also happens to be a refugee. She runs a successful video channel with merch and speaking engagements focusing on how to survive in the wilderness or other life and death situations. When she is giving a talk at a survivalist's expo, she meets Martha (the personal assistant to one of the aforementioned billionaires). Sparks fly, but they also pull Zhen into an international conspiracy.

I liked the bones of this story, especially because it really reflects how tech companies take advantage of consumers and how the algorithm can push negativity in the name of engagement. The idea of rich people abandoning the world we live in until it "ends" so they can build back better seems very real to me. There was so much of this story that just seemed like yep, this could happen, and I enjoyed reading through that.

However, the whole story seemed very wooden to me. Whole sections seemed just stunted and like the story could have been developed better. Also, and this may have just been my copy since it was an advanced copy, but there were several places where the online forum excerpt repeated whole sections on the next page. That drove me nuts and seemed like such a weird editing error.

I didn't like the way the author described Martha. Martha was meant to be a plus-sized queer character, but the way she's described is borderline offensive. I'm a fat woman, and I don't think I would ever want my partner to describe my beauty or attractiveness in terms of my rolls. It just seemed almost fetishistic.

If you want to read what could be a book featuring our own future and biblical parables, this might be the book for you.
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Hold on to your seats. The future, in Naomi Alderman’s “The Future,” may be uncomfortably close to our present.
    Assume you’re a powerful technology billionaire, like Musk or Bezos, and AI alerts you that society, as you know it, is disturbingly close to the end. Would you allow your world to be destroyed, while you flee to safety in the comfort of a remote bunker?
    Given all that is happening today (e.g., global warming, pandemics, political discord, etc.), this scenario isn’t that far-fetched—despite how blatantly selfish and immoral it is. But money is power and “The Future” has three such billionaires whose greed distorts reason.
    Can society in “The Future” be saved before it’s too late and, if so, will the efforts of an ex-cult member and an internet-survivalist help lead the way? If you think you can easily predict the ending, not so fast. A twist awaits and saving the day—if that happens—may differ from what you think.
    When you start reading, be patient. The early chapters introduce many characters and provide much description (perhaps overly so at times). This helps to sufficiently setup the story. However, once this setup is provided, the pace quickens and the story grabs hold. Numerous instances of switching back and forth in time also helps to delay gratification and build suspense.
    “The Future,” as with Alderman’s “The Power,” contains richly-developed and capable female characters in a futuristic world. So many who previously read and liked “The Power” may also enjoy “The Future.”
    Enjoy the ride!

[Many thanks to Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley, for an advance reading copy of this book.]
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With real "Birnam Wood" billionaire vibes, Alderman returns in "The Future" – where a friend group plans a heist to save the world from greedy tech giants.
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One of the more creative takes on our current life situation....the one whereby social media and online shopping website billionaires are basically running the world, The Future is, in a word, terrifying. But it's also laugh-out-loud, tongue-lodged-firmly-in-cheek, hilarious. Not to mention fun to read and well worth the time spent. 
Don't expect too much in the way of redemption arcs as the thinly veiled representations of our current set of tech oligarchs are truly are as awful as they must be in real life. But with an opening line like: “On the day the world ended, Lenk Sketlish—CEO and founder of the Fantail social network—sat at dawn beneath the redwoods in a designated location of natural beauty and attempted to inhale from his navel." how can you go wrong?

Warning: there is some chronological messiness that made me have to re-read some parts to ensure I was in the right place, right time in the narrative. But Ms. Alderman's outsized, wealthy main characters who're seeking to survive a pandemic worse than COVID, along with their alter-ego set of characters who want to save the word instead of just themselves will make you giggle plenty while you come to terms with the weight of her story's warning.
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This is incredibly propulsive; I tore through it in less than 24 hours. It has grand aspirations towards profound meaning, and while I'm not convinced that it gets them all, it certainly doesn't totally fail at them. It's not quite as well thought out in it's arguments about technological solutions, but as an imagination of the near future it's comprehensive and consistent, and as a portrayal of tech companies it's scathing. Strong recommend on this one.

Philosophically, this book is much more interested in the mentalities of survival and of the theology of Genesis than it is interested in what it takes to motivate societal change. This is not a bad thing: you do not expect all books to have opinions on all things, and the opinions that this book has on those things are genuinely interesting and kept me going even when their discussion interrupted the plot.

Structurally, this book handles a non-linear narrative with aplomb, jumping between characters and times in a way that feels thematically consistent and doles out information exactly as you need it. There were definitely places where I could get sense of what information I was meant to pick up on, but I didn't get any of the big pieces of information earlier than Alderman wanted me to have them.

I appreciated the casual queerness of this book. I appreciated the arguments for taking a stand and not relying on forces of history to improve things. I loved that it didn't shy away from making its heroes messy and sometimes just wrong. I loved that, unlike The Power, it didn't leave me despairing about the nature of humanity.
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If you enjoyed The Power you’ll probably enjoy this new stand alone by the same author. I will say none of the main characters lend themselves to a certain allegiance by the reader although the storyline is interesting
and complex. The book is lacking a main protagonist that carries you through the large number of characters and changing view points. By the end of the book you’re not really rooting for anyone specific except maybe for the planet and the book to be over. The ending seems almost like an afterthought in the last two chapters; a bit of a throwaway to the one romantic couple. Also the epilogue/“many many years in the future” Was very odd and I was just kind of ready to be done and didn’t have the investment to figure out the authors purpose there.

The chat board chapters also had a really wired layout on my kindle, and I always kind of skimmed them.

***I was provided an advance copy for kindle via Netgalley in exchange for my review.
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I mistakenly thought I had loved The Power so I requested this one. But as I started The Future, I felt lost and confused and had a really hard time following what was happening. I then looked up my review from The Power and so many of the feelings I had about it, I was feeling for The Future. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Alderman is an author for me.
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“The only way to predict the future is to control it.” Naomi Alderman is so good at near-future speculative fiction and proves it once again with The Future. 

This is less of a heist and more of an exploration of anxiety for the future and the ways we all get trapped within trying to be prepared, the difference between survival and society, of community and individualism, of the ways we are and are really not at all prepared for the future.

Through jumping POVs and time points, Alderman explores a future that looks very much like our own - the tech billionaires are easily traceable to companies we have now, disasters mentioned are familiar (the COVID pandemic gets a lot of play, understandably), and while no specific year is mentioned, it’s clear it’s the next twenty or thirty years, not some far-flung future. Some of it feels a little parable-y - there’s a comparison Alderman has that a lot of Western history gets passed through - but it fits together well enough and without any taking away from the energy of the story, which grabs you from the first page. While there’s not a lot of action to the plot, there’s always plenty happening that makes you think about where the past has been and where the future is going. I especially enjoyed the treatment of the uses of the internet, social media, and to my own surprise, AI.

Endings are usually the problem with speculative fiction, and this does falter a little towards the end - it’s such a sweeping generalization of an ending after such a lot of speculation and specific solutions, but it does leave you thinking and hoping for a better future, which is the appeal of speculative fiction for me.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC of this novel.  

Wow, that was a lot.  Biblical philosophy, tech overlords, strategies for avoiding and/or surviving the apocalypse, the nature of humanity, and a thriller and a romance to boot.  This is an incredibly ambitious novel that Naomi Alderman has managed to pull off.  I am not sure I agree with all of the philosophy, but that is kind of besides the point.  The forces of entropy are strong with or without the internet.  The tech lords are certainly destructive, but not by that much.  And the idea that 4 good people would be adjacent to them is highly questionable, but. . . Still.  It made me think about many different things in a new way.  The one nit I have is that the nature of the pandemic was given away early.  That is frustrating and took away a major twist.  But I was so entertained by this powerful, propulsive novel by Ms Alderman.
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Adventure/thriller that drew me in.  Character development was solid.  Author is masterful at identifying the myriad forces and the complex systems that define civilization and humanity and weaves them into a version of the future that feels almost hopeful.
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I loved "The Future", which is no surprise since Naomi Alderman is probably my favorite author. I found myself absorbed by the story immediately.

This all seemed a bit like an alternate timeline, where people and circumstances were almost recognizable but slightly tweaked from our current reality. It seemed clear for the most part who the billionaires were based on and which of the top global companies were being mirrored in this story, and the inclusion of a religious cult story and a survivalist conspiracy community felt so timely. I had no idea where the story was going as it unfolded and definitely could not have predicted the end, although it was everything I wanted it to be. (Although I admit that the epilogue didn't make much sense to me… Or maybe I just didn't want to entertain the implications that it held.)

In short, from the first word to the last, I was absorbed by the story. I didn't want it to end. I'm so glad I was able to read this ahead of publication and I look forward to buying a hard copy once it's available. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for access to a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I selected this book based on its dystopian premise..however I think I really only enjoy a fast paced dystopian novel. This was not for me, although from other reviews ,people have really enjoyed it.
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