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The future : a novel
2023
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Genre
Fiction
Science fiction
Thriller
Suspense
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Trade Reviews
Publishers Weekly Review
In the kinetic latest from bestseller Alderman (The Power), activists attempt to wrest power from three CEOs after a near-future apocalypse. The executives are Lenk Sketlish, the survivalist founder of the Fantail social network; Zimri Nommik, a serial cheater who runs the logistics and purchasing giant Anvil; and Ellen Bywater, who heads Medlar Technologies, a leading PC company, and often carries on imaginary conversations with her dead husband. When the trio receive an early warning about a pandemic said to be worse than Covid, they board a private jet to a secret doomsday bunker. A parallel narrative follows a group that's been fighting for ecological and social change, among them Lenk's assistant, Martha Einkorn, who grew up in her father's survivalist cult; Albert Dabrowski, the ousted founder of Medlar; Zimri's wife, Selah, who wrote some of the code for Anvil; and Badger, Ellen Bywater's politically radical youngest child, who takes umbrage with a private early warning system for the über-rich. While Alderman's erratic chronological jumps can be hard to follow, the narrative is eminently quotable ("The only way to know the future is to control it," goes one line ready-made for a movie poster). The endless intrigue and surprising twists keep the pages turning. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Nov.)
Booklist Review
Alderman follows her global, breakthrough hit, The Power (2017), with a high-tech drama involving an eclectic group of characters, including a survivalist influencer, the daughter of a cult leader, and three tech moguls as the world undergoes a drastic change. Lai Zhen, famous for her savvy survivalist instruction videos, is captivated when she meets Martha Einkorn, who fled her father's cult and eventually became the personal assistant to a tech guru whose social media network revolutionized the way people communicate with each other. Despite their chemistry and several passionate nights together, Martha ghosts Zhen, or at least that's what Zhen assumes until she finds herself targeted by an assassin from Martha's father's cult, and her life is saved by AUGR, a program Martha secretly installed on her phone. Zhen goes underground and resolves to track Martha down, something that proves easier said than done. Massively ambitious in scope, Alderman's latest novel takes some wild turns as it tackles themes as heady as wealth inequality, social media manipulation, technological advancements, and human nature itself, managing to be both critical and hopeful in equal measure.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Alderman's fans and readers who relish provocative, headline-hot adventures will be ready to pounce.
Kirkus Review
Another vision of the not-too-distant future from the author of The Power (2017). "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." Readers who appreciate everything that's going on in the opening sentence of this novel are likely to enjoy the whole thing. This is a story about the wealthiest people in the world and how they live. Other readers might like to know that this story is set in the very near future in a world that is divided between tech billionaires, preppers, and pretty much everybody else. Where these categories overlap is where it starts to get interesting. Lai Zhen lived through the Fall of Hong Kong to become a survivalism influencer. Martha Einkorn escaped her father's cult to become Lenk Sketlish's right hand. Badger Bywater is ready to use their access to Medlar--the network their mother oversees--to help their friends try to save the world. And Selah Nommik is best known as the wife of Zimri Nommik, but she's also a kickass coder. Alderman begins with the end of the world and moves back and forth in time from that moment, which sometimes makes it difficult for readers to understand where they are relative to end times and sometimes makes it difficult to understand characters' relationships to each other at any given moment. That said, Alderman has crafted characters readers will want to follow wherever they go--even to the end of the world. A smart, engrossing fable about digital technology and human community. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
A Most Anticipated Book of Fall at Associated Press, Booklist , Chicago Tribune , Goodreads , Good Housekeeping , Literary Hub , Time , The Week , and W Magazine

The bestselling, award-winning author of The Power delivers a dazzling tour de force where a handful of friends plot a daring heist to save the world from the tech giants whose greed threatens life as we know it.

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, an internet-famous 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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