The Future by Naomi Alderman
In the best tradition of predictive science fiction this frightening tale about the unintended consequences of real-time world-wide electronic media coupled with the selfish motives of filthy rich electronics executives hoping to survive the apocalypse with surely keep any reader pinned to their seat.
This futuristic fantasy/sci-fi tale crafted with frightening predictive skill will give the reader goosebumps with its recognition of current trends taken to their logical extreme. This has always been the strength of good science fiction and the tradition holds here. Clearly this author has the chops to make predictions about social media and its effects for good or ill.
Is the world coming to an end? Several executives of social media companies think so. They have prepared bunkers in remote parts of the world stocked with all the food, water, ammo, diversions (books, music, games) to survive the apocalypse and thrive while the rest of humanity perishes and/or suffers. Selfish? Yes. Smart? Maybe. Maybe not. When their networks predict the onset of the last days they put into motion long- made plans to preserve their precious selves and a few cohorts who will, they think, provide the basis for the resurgence of the human race.
A few renegades from their ranks array themselves, secretly, against this plot and go about foiling it, or at best, altering the outcome in better and more benevolent ways. How this plays out becomes an increasingly suspenseful and engaging endeavor, carrying the reader along with a young media influencer steeped in survivalist lore and skills who unwittingly becomes part of the revolutionary plan. The tension mounts as betrayals, pitfalls and unforeseen consequences pile up, or at least appear to do so. Romance and action take turns propelling this character-driven story that will surely keep anyone’s attention riveted on the pages of this superior effort.
“Well – written” seems a weak phrase to describe this finely crafted tale. This is clearly a work of brilliance utilizing social/cultural/political/technical awareness and forward – looking thought. If you loved the works of the classical sci-fi writers (Clarke, Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein) this is your meat. No fear that this strays into the realm of what this reader has called “cowboys in space”. No death rays, no rockets to other planets, no outlandish alien creatures, just some really frightening future augury.