by Naomi Alderman
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Pub Date 07 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2023
When Martha Einkorn fled her father’s isolated compound in Oregon, she never expected to find herself working for a powerful social media mogul hell-bent on controlling everything. Now, she’s surrounded by mega-rich companies designing private weather, predictive analytics, and covert weaponry, while spouting technological prophecy. Martha may have left the cult, but if the apocalyptic warnings in her father’s fox and rabbit sermon—once a parable to her—are starting to come true, how much future is actually left?
Across the world, in a mall in Singapore, Lai Zhen, a famous internet survivalist, flees from an assassin. She’s cornered, desperate and—worst of all—might die without ever knowing what's going on. Suddenly, a remarkable piece of software appears on her phone telling her exactly how to escape. Who made it? What is it really for? And if those behind it can save her from danger, what do they want from her, and what else do they know about the future?
Martha and Zhen’s worlds are about to collide. An explosive chain of events is set in motion. While a few billionaires assured of their own safety lead the world to destruction, Martha’s relentless drive and Zhen’s insatiable curiosity could lead to something beautiful or the cataclysmic end of civilization.
By turns thrilling, hilarious, tender, and always piercingly brilliant, The Future unfolds at a breakneck speed, highlighting how power corrupts the few who have it and what it means to stand up to them. The future is coming. The Future is here.
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Average rating from 7 members
This book is at once dystopian and utopian. Like the Power it suggests that power corrupts but unlike it, here good can reverse the destruction that uncaring billionaires inflicts on the world.
The sympathetic character of Zhen ties the various characters and time lines together. I throughly enjoyed reading the Future for its insights in the perils of big tech and cleverly constructed plot that is often surprising. This is sure to be one of the best of the year.
“The future calls on us one painful step at a time and the first rule of life is to survive.”
As a fan of The Power, I had high expectations and this book did not disappoint! I feel like The Power was so effective in highlighting the issue of power imbalances in gender. For me, The Future draws its strength from a web of storytelling, pulling threads of commercialization, social media, wealth inequality, climate change, over consumption, polarizing politics, etc into a tapestry that is the future. All of which is shown through characters striving to survive. How each of these characters choose to interpret survival reverberates into a philosophical parable of what survival means as individuals, as a society, as an ecosystem.
Alderman has become of my favorite contemporary authors. As a huge fan of sci-fi, this was the most realistic depiction of AI that I’ve read. I feel a lot of authors kind of run with the idea of artificial intelligence that exists solely in science fiction. The AI here is a terrifyingly accurate depiction of what’s around the corner.
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