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The Futurist | [James P. Othmer]

The Futurist

Yates is a Futurist. Which is to say he makes a very good living flying around the world dispensing premonitory wisdom, a.k.a. prepackaged bull, to world governments, corporations, and global leadership conferences. He is an optimist by trade and a cynic by choice. He's the kind of man who can give a lecture on successive days to a leading pesticide manufacturer and the Organic Farmers of America, and receive standing ovations at both.
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Publisher's Summary

Yates is a Futurist. Which is to say he makes a very good living flying around the world dispensing premonitory wisdom, a.k.a. prepackaged bull, to world governments, corporations, and global leadership conferences. He is an optimist by trade and a cynic by choice. He's the kind of man who can give a lecture on successive days to a leading pesticide manufacturer and the Organic Farmers of America, and receive standing ovations at both.

But just as the American Empire is beginning to fray around the edges, so too is Yates' carefully scripted existence. On the way to the Futureworld Conference in Johannesburg, he opens a handwritten note from his girlfriend, saying she's left him for a sixth-grade history teacher. Then he witnesses a soccer riot in which a number of South Africans are killed, to the chagrin of the South African PR people at Futureworld. Sparked by a heroic devastation of his minibar and inspired by the rookie hooker sent to his hotel room courtesy of his hosts, Yates delivers a spectacularly career-ending speech at Futureworld, which leads to a sound beating, a meeting with some quasi-governmental creeps, and a hazy mission to go around the world answering the question: Why does everyone hate us?

Thus begins an absolutely original novel that is fueled by equal parts subversive satire, genuine physical fear, and heartfelt moral anguish. From the hideously ugly Greenlander nymphomaniacal artist to the gay male model spy to the British corporate magnate with a taste for South Pacific virgin sacrifice rituals, The Futurist manages to be wildly entertaining and deadly serious at the same time.

©2006 James P. Othmer; (P)2006 Tantor Media Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An impressive foray into satirical ficton." (The New York Times)
"A stylish winner in its own intelligently weird right." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (28 )
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  •  
    Alan COOKEVILLE, TN, United States 10-21-07
    Alan COOKEVILLE, TN, United States 10-21-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "missed the mark"

    Some clever wordplay and a few bits of interesting (if not novel) commentary. But the story wasn't funny enough to be a comedy, harrowing enough to be a thriller or interesting enough to be thought-provoking.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 01-10-07
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 01-10-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Only if the future is flip"

    With this book, you take the good with the annoying. What is good? The general plot, which whirls you across the globe while making you think about how this world really operates. It keep you engaged with is exotic places and fast pace.

    What is annoying? The narrator, who often uses voices that are more fit for a muppet. Anything else? Yes. There is good flippancy, like Jon Stewart, and there is bad, like that kid in school that mocks everything you do, even if you are just standing still and breathing. The author is closer to being like that kid.

    And one more bit of annoyance that is out fo the author's hands: the fact that people are calling this satire. Sparing you the lecture, it is not. Not everything that is humorous and political is satire.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cor Irvine, CA, United States 01-06-07
    Cor Irvine, CA, United States 01-06-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "Blah, blah"

    Another story about a person who is lost, disillusioned, bored and boring. Another story about a guy who drinks too much, has lots of money and is "trying to find himself". I did not care for him or anyone else in this story. And the end of the story is lame as well. The reader did not help, his characters were whiney and indistinguishable from each other.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Lexington, MA, USA 11-12-08
    Peter Lexington, MA, USA 11-12-08 Member Since 2008
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    "past its freshness date"

    Unsurprising, flippant, middle-road semi-satire. Worst aspect is the snarky preciousness of the narrator who oversells the material, putting every word in sarcastic vocal quotation marks. This is why I often find the best audiobook narrators are authors who read their own work. They don't try to "act" so hard, they just communicate.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-02-09
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 01-02-09 Member Since 2007

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "not bad, but not a masterpiece"

    The author sustains humour, pacing, and social commetary through the novel. I was looking only for a light listen to pass time, so this actually surpassed my expectations in terms of entertainment and witty social observation.

    Listener reviews often fascinate me because of the range of preferences expressed for narration style. I did not like the narration in "Futurist." Although Dufris was consistent (for most voices) and professional, I don't like his style. He delivered the same pace and, in some cases, the same odd voices as in his narration of the office comedy "The Company." Had I not listened to the latter, I may have enjoyed "Futurist" more; but I found myself transferring the characters from "The Company" to the oddly voiced inhabitants of the present novel. In "Futurist," I disliked particularly the narrator's attempt at a faint (and inconsistent) Afrikaner accent for Margaret - but others may like him - He is at least not dull.

    I would download other novels by Othmer, but I will listen carefully to audiobook samples before acquiring more of narrator Dufris.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Houston, TX, United States 08-18-06
    Bruce Houston, TX, United States 08-18-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This book is a masterpiece of satire"

    What a hoot!!! Such a attractive character. Kinda of Forest Gumpish. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Aurora, IL, United States 08-11-06
    Jason Aurora, IL, United States 08-11-06 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "An utterly enjoyable book"

    I have friends that are Futurists and this book is true to their spirit and just a fun listen! It's the best recorded book I've ever heard on audible and I wholeheartedly recommend it. If you are a fan of Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson or the like then you MUST pick this up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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