The Future Second by Second

Book One of The Shelter Trilogy

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 02 May 2022 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2022

Talking about this book? Use #sheltertrilogy #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


In a new America where civilization as we know it has ended, every hour counts. Everything is ticking along perfectly in the sanctuary community of Osto until a band of raiders arrives intent on violence. Vasha has led her people through the worst the world has to offer for years, but this new threat could destroy her hope for the future. She’s forced to strike a bargain with the leader of the raiders as tensions rise among the survivors and refugees who call Osto home. Old rivalries and prejudices put everything they’ve worked for at risk. But if Vasha plays this right, she just might forge a new future for Osto.

The Future Second by Second is the first in a series of novellas showcasing a different kind of post-apocalyptic world—one dependent on community and cooperative living. Flipping the genre of dystopia on its head, Newton understands the power of hope and collaboration in the face of an uncertain future. 

In a new America where civilization as we know it has ended, every hour counts. Everything is ticking along perfectly in the sanctuary community of Osto until a band of raiders arrives intent on...

Advance Praise

"Newton has a knack for storytelling that is incredibly engaging, as well as a prodigious vocabulary that lends it lyricism." —Amazon Reviewer

"Newton has a knack for storytelling that is incredibly engaging, as well as a prodigious vocabulary that lends it lyricism." —Amazon Reviewer

Marketing Plan

If you would like to receive a physical copy of this book, please email 

If you would like to receive a physical copy of this book, please email 

Available Editions

ISBN 9781953736123
PRICE $9.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 51 members

Featured Reviews

I loved the voice of this novella right away. It mostly follows Vasha, the aging leader of a cooperative post-apocalyptic community as she navigates a single day, from 8am to 12am, from the little worries of a random day to the big worry when a troop of raiders threatens to destroy the community. Though the story was short, Newton manages to convey how different the world is compared to our time and the complex relationships between characters. Everyone was well rounded and complex, the plot moved along, and I was thoroughly invested in what was going to happen. Though the message is about how cooperation will be the salvation of the human race, The Future Second By Second didn't paint a rosy, fluffy picture. There are still difficulties within the community and without and difficult personalities. It was refreshing to read a realistic, hopeful take on the post-apocalyptic trend.

Was this review helpful?

The Future Second By Second is a thought provoking dystopian novella exploring what life and strong leadership should look like in a post-apocalyptic world. Ideologies collide as the future of the Osto community is decided over 15 hours. I did not find anything too surprising in the overall plot, but the setting and use of multiple perspectives make this a rich experience. This book is a solid read if you are looking for an interesting thought experiment set in a dystopian world.

The first chills of winter have begun to set in as the village of Osto scrambles to bring in the last of the harvest. A storm is brewing and whatever is not brought in by the end of the day will almost certainly be lost in the onslaught. Meanwhile, two of the village teens have run off together in their own rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Just another demanding day for village leader Vasha, but nothing she can’t handle. Then the raiders show up. Not just any raiders, but “Esteben’s Men”; the most ruthless and well-armed group around. Vasha knows that they can outlast the raiders with the added protection of the village walls, but at what cost? And for how long? Then an idea hits her. Vasha approaches the leader of the raiders and offers to hand over the reins to the village for the day. At midnight, there will be a vote amongst the villagers and raiders to determine who will lead Osto into the future.

Even though this story only provides a snapshot, Newton has developed a robust world that creates high stakes for her social experiment and sets the stage for a shift in mindset. As life in Osto plays out hour by hour, we get snippets of the village’s three-generation history from survival shelter to vibrant community. Despite the calamity and Osto’s mission of peace, old prejudices still linger and old problems haunt this new age. Meanwhile, “Esteben’s Men” have their own problematic history of survival and violence that has shaped leader Drake and ultimately informed his decision to seek Osto out in the first place. Neither group has everything figured out and that allows the conflict to evolve in interesting ways.

The focus of this story is definitely on the journey to find an equilibrium between the raiders and the villagers of Osto. As a result, there is a little less focus on character development. There is a large cast of characters fit into a small story, so that should come as no surprise. Even though I wouldn’t call most characters unique, you still get a general sense of who they are and their varying perspectives help highlight just how complex a small community can be. That being said, there are a handful of key characters that are developed a little more and that you will still grow attached to as the story progresses.

Special thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC!

Was this review helpful?

Three words. I am obsessed. Phenomenal writing that instantly hooked me. Really awesome character development. Another thing that the author did well was show the dimensions to characters. Not everyone is all good or all bad. This is definite must read and I’m excited to read the other books in the series.

Was this review helpful?

It was the book cover that initially drew my attention to this book, first of all the bright colours and then on closer inspection, the clock face with the bright orangey-red flowers in front of it. It’s only when you have read the book that you realise the relevance of the cover to the story. This book cover would certainly encourage me to click on it online or pick it up in a bookstore to learn more about it by reading the blurb. I do enjoy the genres of Sci-Fi & Fantasy genres with some mystery & thriller elements thrown in and recently discovered that I really enjoy reading books that are also categorised as literary fiction. As this book has all that together I was looking forward to a great read.

The main characters live together in what was once a decent sized warehouse in the “before.” Without going into much detail, as I do not want to give away very much with this being only novella length. The world has gone through an event that means there is no electricity, in fact, living is pretty primitive and is a rather back to basics way of life. This area where the main characters are based is called Osto. The leader of Osto is a woman called Vasha who walks with a cane due to being born with a club foot. Vasha inherited the job of leader from her father and she has led the people of Osto ever since. Vasha does not look like a “typical leader” to those who do not really know her. It is that very mistake that the leader, Drake of the gang of raiders known as the “Men of Esteben” makes. When his men gather to take what they want from Osto as they have done in other areas, Vasha and her people initially hid in the old fortified warehouse. When it becomes apparent neither side is willing to back down, Vasha offers Drake and the Men of Esteben a deal. Drake may rule Osto for the next 15 hours, at the end of this time there will be a vote to see who the people of Osto want to be their leader. Everyone in Osto and all the Men of Esteben will be able to cast a vote. Drake laughs and thinks that he can easily lead the people of Osto as he leads his band of rough, tough men. Drake feels confident that he will do a much better job than this old disabled women in front of him. Drake soon realises that leading Osto is not as easy as he thought it would be, in fact, its much more difficult than leading his men. The people of Osto each have their own strengths and skills which are put to good use in relevant jobs. Drake is used to his men doing whatever he says, when the people of Osto try to explain to him that they have their own skills/jobs Drake demands that they just do as they are told or they will suffer the consequences.

One of my favourite characters was of course Vasha, who turned out to be a very wise woman, though she certainly takes a risk allowing Drake to lead her people. In fact, there are a few occasions during his leadership that she seriously regrets her offer. Another resident of Osto I became quickly attached to was Ben who worked in the kitchen, making food for the people of Osto to eat in between their working.

Although Drake is the leader of the raiders known as the cruel, unyielding Men of Esteben who take what they want and kill anyone who stands in their way, I honestly did end up sort of warming to him. I seriously wanted to grab him and roughly shake him or knock some sense into him whilst he was ruling Osto.

The novella is really well written, it felt like it was really fast paced as there is always either some action or drama going on. Despite the people living in a world without electricity and “old world” modern comforts, there are still the frictions from before, with certain families having their feuds and arguments between them. The reasoning behind the title is revealed whilst reading the book. Each chapter has a time, ie the first chapter is labelled at 8am, and the last chapter heading is 12am. Basically the chapters being like this fits really well with the concept of Drake being trialled as a leader of Osto for 15 hours.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the novella were that I had truly enjoyed it, and was disappointed it had ended. I wished it had been longer. So, it is fair to say I am genuinely looking forward to reading more of The Shelter Trilogy.

Summing up I feel I should point out that this is a novella length book, so is quite short. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and am looking forward to reading the other two parts of The Shelter Trilogy. I am wondering whether to wait and hope all three novellas will be combined into one book or not. This book has great characters you easily become attached to, even some of the “bad” guys! It also has a well developed plot and clever world building. I honestly loved it and would seriously like to read a lot more about this world, the setting of Osto and its characters.

Was this review helpful?

I read this collection of dystopin short stories really quickly. they were well written with great stories and well developed characters. What I loved most is that even the most awful of places the spirit and voice fo community shone through. A really great collection.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely the kind of survival story I'm always looking for and hardly ever find. Can't wait to read more in this universe.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: