Title: The Future is Yours
Author: Dan Frey
Rating: 4/5 stars
If you had the chance to look one year into the future, would you?
For Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry, the answer is unequivocally yes. And they’re betting everything that you’ll say yes, too. Welcome to The Future: a computer that connects to the internet one year from now, so you can see who you’ll be dating, where you’ll be working, even whether or not you’ll be alive in the year to come. By forming a startup to deliver this revolutionary technology to the world, Ben and Adhi have made their wildest, most impossible dream a reality. Once Silicon Valley outsiders, they’re now its hottest commodity.
The device can predict everything perfectly—from stock market spikes and sports scores to political scandals and corporate takeovers—allowing them to chase down success and fame while staying one step ahead of the competition. But the future their device foretells is not the bright one they imagined.
Ambition. Greed. Jealousy. And, perhaps, an apocalypse. The question is . . . can they stop it?
Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the costs of innovation and asks how far you’d go to protect the ones you love—even from themselves.
I read this book in less than 24 hours, and if that’s not a recommendation I don’t know what is!
In all seriousness though, I thought this was a really clever critique of the power technology companies have in the modern world. The premise is that the two main characters, Adi and Ben, develop a technology that allows you to transmit information from the future and read it in the past. This leads to the classic time-travel exploration of cause and effect, free will, and ethical dilemmas. Despite the well-worn themes, I felt like this book did a good job of portraying the social responsibility of scientists/sellers of technology and calling out the ways technological companies have been largely skirting responsibility in the real world. I did find some of the present day references to Theranos, Cambridge Analytica, TikTok and Tr*mp’s tweets a little tacky (although very timely), but that’s a minor annoyance and just something that bugs me personally.
Another plus is that both the main characters are people of color, and it was really great to see Black and Desi men as leaders in their field and protagonists of a story instead of pigeon-holed into the sidekick/best friend role. I liked that both characters had some deep flaws but remained sympathetic characters, and I especially liked the emphasis placed on their friendship. Both Adi and Ben are also described as neurodivergent (Adi is said to be “on the spectrum”, while Ben has ADHD), but I can’t really speak to how well these characters captured the experiences of neurodivergent folks. Since this novel is told almost entirely in transcripts, text messages, and news articles, I think it’s difficult to capture those nuances. I also caught a minor cultural error (at some point, Adi says something about “goddess Shiva” but Shiva is a Hindu god – not goddess – and a very quick google search will tell you that), so I’m not totally sold on the research that went into creating these characters.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and would definitely recommend it for people who enjoy Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants series. The characters in Sleeping Giants were more compelling, but this book is similarly fast-paced and tackles social ills through science fiction.
A free e-ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.