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?
Alderman...keeps her authorial plate full and our minds zipping along. This heady, propulsive, and cannily constructed thriller easily doubles as an ecologically focused, end-of-the-world howdunnit ... Alderman’s futuristic world is both captivating and corrupt, and she delineates it with her trademark smarts and humor ... With a compelling love story at its center, and the possible end of the world truly nigh, The Future takes on the corruptive power of unmitigated authority and posits another option.
Less grim; instead, it harbors a stubborn sense of optimism, theorizing that if only people of conscience helmed the richest and most powerful companies, they might be able to steer the ship of humanity to safety ... I could nitpick the details in Alderman’s approach...but I’d rather not. The Future is so pleasing and page-turning a read, so full of intrigue, emotional depth and a delicious conclusion that I didn’t want it to end.
No...fever pitch is reached in Alderman’s new novel, whose outlook is decidedly more reformist than revolutionary. Instead of a bottom-up social movement led by young women, change in The Future comes from the top down ... What follows is a dubious effort to dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools. Alderman has an undeniable talent for concocting a twisty, rollicking narrative, replete with assassination attempts, desert island bunkers and machine-learning prophets. Yet for all its conspiratorial thrills, The Future mostly reads like a manifesto for technocracy wrapped up in a genre-fiction bow ... The book suffers not just from its dogmatism but also from its homogeneity ... The book’s most impressive quality is its vivid, tactile imagination of our ultra-computerized future ... Though it purports to affirm the human capacity for empathy and curiosity, The Future is built like a machine: calculating, doctrinaire and hollow on the inside.