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After On

A Novel of Silicon Valley
By: Rob Reid
Length: 22 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,024 ratings)
Regular price: $35.00
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Publisher's Summary

The definitive novel of today's Silicon Valley, After On flash-captures our cultural and technological moment with up-to-the-instant savvy. Matters of privacy and government intrusion, post-Tinder romance, nihilistic terrorism, artificial consciousness, synthetic biology, and much more are tackled with authority and brash playfulness by New York Times best-selling author Rob Reid.

Meet Phluttr - a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers - and they don't even know the tenth of it.

But what's the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming "The UberX of Sex"? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will?

Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it's not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her.

After On achieves the literary singularity - fusing speculative satire and astonishing reality into a sharp-witted, ferociously believable, IMAX-wide view of our digital age.

Narrated by Sean Kenin and January LaVoy, with:
Felicia Day: NETGRRRL.COM
Patrick Rothfuss: Special Field Operative Brock Hogan
John Hodgman: Charles Henry Higgensworth III
Tom Merritt: voice of The New York Times
Jesse Cox: Whistle Blowings Blog
Leo Laporte: voice of The San Francisco Chronicle

©2017 Rob Reid (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Enter a near-future Silicon Valley that is hilariously, creepily, mind-bogglingly fantastic, yet at the same time all too believable. It might turn out this way. No, really, it might! Along with After On's diabolically ingenious plot, there are crazy-plausible web startups, delicious parodies of social media, and a surprisingly convincing theory of human consciousness." (Chris Anderson, head of TED)
" After On is smart, hilarious, and properly cynical about our connected world. The story unfolds in surprising and fiendish ways, and while you're laughing you'll learn enough to confound a wily MBA, manipulate a board of directors, and maybe even outfox a superintelligence." (Ken Fisher, founder and editor in chief, Ars Technica)
"Rob Reid doesn't write science fiction; he writes future history. After On is the best account I've read of how superintelligence will arrive and what it will mean for all of us. Hilarious, frightening, believable, and marvelously constructed - After On has it all." (Hugh Howey, New York Times best-selling author of Wool)
"Reading After On is like attending a master class in nearly every major issue haunting not only the tech industry but society itself. Only the professor is also a stand-up comic with a perfect ear for the foibles of Silicon Valley's most sacred cows. Part AI thriller, part arch social commentary, and part rollicking farce, After On will leave you smarter about just about everything the human species needs to work on if we're going to outlive our own creations - and our obsessions with them." (John Battelle, co-founder, NewCo, Federated Media, and Wired)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book with great performances!

What did you love best about After On?

Rob shows us the near future in a very thought provoking novel...leavened with humour and wit.

What did you like best about this story?

Extrapolating current trends into future history is always the goal of Science Fiction, and this book does that very, very well.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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be patient

Very good story and some brilliant ideas shared here. But, be patient. There are some very odd storylines early in the book that if you don't know that they are going somewhere can be a serious turn-off. Just roll with it and after a while it makes sense and is justified- but don't dump it (as I almost did) because of the distractions. It is worth it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Wow!

You need to listen to this. I just finished the book. More capable people will write better reviews soon. I want to do what I can to help this story get heard. Story, production, and performances were among the best I've heard and I've listened to more than 350 audible titles. Awesome job!

37 of 42 people found this review helpful

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All-too-real commentary on web culture

If you could sum up After On in three words, what would they be?

Irreverent, Confident, (wildly) Entertaining

What was one of the most memorable moments of After On?

Rob Reid grabs you from page 1...inviting you on a ride that's both sobering and laugh-out-loud funny

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but sadly, I couldn't do it in one sitting, but it is a remarkably engaging read

Any additional comments?

I was fortunate to read Mr. Reid's achingly funny and charming Year Zero last year, so I've been anxiously awaiting this one. What I found was a more confident, patient story teller who wasn't just about entertaining, but leading the reader on a journey...the irreverent humor is still there, and I laughed audibly and often, but I felt that I had witnessed an amazing maturation...I think this will thrust Mr. Reid more firmly into the national (and international) consciousness!

23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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great story - unbelievable cast of narrators

I wasn't sure about this at first having never read the author and it turned out to be a fantastic find! unique plot, well developed characters (over the top at times but I think it adds to the satirical nature of the novel) and a truly exceptional cast of narrators (Especially Ms La Voy but that is to be expected). The interwoven time line was a little confusing for me at first but that's me and I was able to catch on quickly (hint that you probably don't need but helped me, the vignettes tell you the time line your on) . Don't let that deter you though, the book made me laugh and the characters, however satirical, will have you caring for them. For me, this audio book has joined the ranks of my two all time favorites, Anansi Boys and The Martian. Enjoy!

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A radio play

The story is whimsical and thought provoking. The production is more radio play than audio book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I'm still Hyperventilating!

This is fiction right? RIGHT?! I went from being paranoid to laughing my head off from one sentence to the next. The performers were excellent and the story believable which I believe is a sign of good fiction. If you are an above average paranoid about your on-line privacy I would not reccomend listening to this story. If you can keep it together till the end it's well worth the listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fun and interesting

Most stories about AI are very dark. This is understandable since it usually leads to the end of humanity. "After On" manages to avoid this. It is fun, deep, and philosophically intriguing. The begging can feel a little schizophrenic but it smooths out once all the pieces start fitting together. If I were to compare it to anything I think I would say it is philosophically similar to Dave Eggers "The Circle" except much, muuuch more satisfying in terms of plot pacing and character development.

The narration is a little over-the-top dramatic which I know some people enjoy. At times I found it a little distracting but overall it was a good performance.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • S. A. F.
  • United States of America
  • 03-20-18

Excellent... But not for everyone.

I love this book and rate it an enthusiastic five stars FOR ME. If you aren’t into big words and technology you will probably find it boring and hard to get into. Definitely worth the listen if you hang in there and don’t give up half a chapter in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • Nashville, TN United States
  • 10-17-17

Fun and wonderful story of AI

If you’re looking for wonderful story about AI that is not in the typical voice, this is the story for you. The different voice actors that inhabit the world do an incredible job and the story is also incredibly interesting. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Deane
  • 04-13-18

Great book!

Loved the story. Very well written. Ends at the right time with a heart warming twist. Characters are great. I thought the interludes would become annoying but they were all relevant. The narrators were brilliant and very engaging. Got lost in the middle as some sections are over indulged in but doesn’t let the story down. Very impressed by the way very complex concepts are explained simply and clearly so the average reader can understand them. Well worth a listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 08-24-18

Very specialised

Very "inside baseball" If you live and work in Silicone valley then it's probably interesting, but otherwise I'd give it a miss.

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  • Brian
  • 08-15-18

Compelling read

A vista of modern and future technology, wrapped in a fast moving plot. I can't quite decide if it's dystopia or utopia...

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  • Jane Wallman-Girdlestone
  • 08-04-18

Amazing!

Wonderful book! Loved it! It is challenging, engrossing and powerful. I was fully emerged in a world utterly recognisable and yet provocative and complex. A book I will read again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Mask
  • 08-02-18

Outstanding

Good yarn, plausibly told. Solid performances throughout.

Thinking of getting it? Get it. You won't regret it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew B.
  • 06-06-18

Stick around for the second half.

This isn't Interstellar or The Martian, but it's still grand speculative fiction. The author demonstrates moments of incredibly clever writing, and uses an irregular, entertaining style. However, the whole execution of this story is thrown into wildly oscillating strength and weakness by the execution of its voice actors, who seem bound by Cthulhu to hunt for the most energetic, noisy and strange ways to act out even the calmest sections of this book.

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  • Michael L.
  • 04-16-18

Informative, thought provoking and entertaining

Where does After On rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Loved this book. It's a nice side step from pure Science Fiction, more of a light hearted near future semi-dystopia.

What did you like best about this story?

It's tackles some great issues like AI, online privacy and governmental intrusion. It introduces lots of really amazing tech that could be just around the corner.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Charles Henry Higgensworth III, great reviews. They all actually exist on Amazon

Any additional comments?

Make sure to check out the "after on" podcast, also a great listen.

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  • P Moon
  • 02-14-18

Great tour of tech, concepts, and implications

If you could sum up After On in three words, what would they be?

Informative but fun

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, and the narration here was wonderful. At first I thought it was a bit cheesy, but it soon comes to fit perfectly into the story and works very well for differentiating characters, timelines, and plot.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leigh
  • 01-06-18

Great story, well read, but just too long

It really is a smart and witty story. The observations about tech and Silicon Valley are sharp and enjoyable. The science and elaboration of its implications is lucid and first rate.

The performances on the reading are superb. I’ve not heard an elaborate reading of an ebook to anything like this standard before. Really high quality production value!

The only issue I had was that with it weighing in at about 24 hours long, I did find my focus waning at times. It probably didn’t need to be quite as long as it was, but I made it through and I have to say that I’m glad I did.

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  • Mr. D Field
  • 11-20-17

A set of thoughts about AI wrapped in a yarn

The author obviously has somewhat of a grasp of not just the underlying concepts of AI, Silicon Valley startups and the impact Freemium has had on our lives and in the most part the story wrapped around his thoughts is well told and keeps you gripped, it's the actual after on stage I personally started to wane, it's not that the material or story didn't flow, it did. It just felt sped up and rushing to an end that didn't deliver. The author took the "I hope this gets a movie deal" way out..

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  • Ant OSullivan
  • 04-15-18

yawn

good voice acting.
story had some interesting points but was painful to listen too.
wayyyyy to long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Brendan Andrews
  • 01-26-19

Absolutely intolerably overdone

It's like having an annoying self-important pretentious friend tell a story that you can barely see through their own self indulgence. It meanders and is mostly spent distracted by overblown long winded descriptions of aspects which are uninteresting and utterly unimportant to the plot or theme. Worse, a spade is never a spade. It's an elegantly carved wooden pole wrenched from the deepest forest and carefully inserted into forged steel, beaten and bladed to aid me in my quest for dirt.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Francis Murphy
  • 03-19-18

A journey inward.

A little too loud at times, but still satisfying and thought provoking. Enjoy the journey and find real information about this area that we will all confront in time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • GEOFFREY LOWE
  • 02-25-18

Fabulous read by Rob Reid

This is a thoroughly well written and thought provoking book. I recommend it for anyone with even a vague interest in AI, technology, humanity or life. Can’t wait for the TV show!

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-18

uninteresting

I found this extremely boring and didn't listen for very long at all; had to stop

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-12-18

Great story, but even better performance

Really loved this book, great story and thought provoking as it's based on many possible real world scenarios. Performances were spot on, the different voices made it awesome. Make sure you also listen to the companion podcast!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-18

A+ AI

This book has such an interesting and refreshing angle on AI development that I really loved. It also touched on a nuch of philosophical and societal notes that were incredibly clever and well-placed. Well worth the time to get through it all. Makes me want to buy the hard-copy even! Probably my new favourite AI themed book, and performed amazingly too!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rod
  • 06-26-18

Engaging

There have been many tales told about Artificial Intelligence (AI) gone wild, the most infamous probably being the Hal-9000 from Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the Skynet rebellion of the Terminator film franchise. It was with some hesitation therefore that I entered the world of modern day Silicon Valley for another foray into AI development.

Rob Reid has, thankfully, taken the idea of self-learning machines in a refreshingly new direction in the guise of Phluttr, a social network AI that has taken the world by storm. The road to hell is paved with good intentions and, as Phluttr’s self-awareness and power increases, she surpasses even her creators’ best hopes and begins to interfere in people’s lives with devastating consequences. Unable to predict the long-term effects of an event, nor understand the complexities of group dynamics, Phluttr’s child-like innocence begins to create havoc and threaten civilisation itself.

The stellar cast of actors comprise Sean Kenin, January LaVoy, Felicia Day, Patrick Rothfuss, John Hodgman, Tom Merritt, Jesse Cox and Leo Laporte. This is not a dramatization but a story told from a range of viewpoints, including that of the AI itself, her developers, and others in the industry.

Reid adds a lot of comedic touches to his storytelling, although I wouldn’t list it as a comedy per se. He also avoids the histrionics of action scenes so often found in these kinds of tales. He effectively builds tension when it’s needed but primarily provides a dramatic inside scoop into the machinations of Silicon Valley while almost telling a family drama. It’s an odd combination that works beautifully. After On is engaging, funny, exciting and interesting.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-19-18

holy crap

amazing. I don't read too many novels, but this felt real to me, like it actually was happening

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-22-18

Brilliant, Funny & Somewhat Disturbing!

First off, if I could give this book 6 stars or more I would. I kid you not. Rob Reid has done a fantastic job and each and every actor/narrator was worth his or her weight in gold!

As our future is becoming more AI capable, this extremely witty and comically dark novel is dead on topic. I use dead on in a metaphorical and very literal sense. Before we had the arms race now we have the AI race, which of course is sadly part & parcel if you consider drones, robotics, deep leaning and machine learning.

Each character is brought to life by the actors and unwittingly entangled. If I say too much I will spoil it for you so I won't. Absolutely my most favourite Audible book by far within this genre.

Highly recommend it big time! Big thanks to Rob Reid, the narrators and everyone who helped make it possible. Very disturbed but thoroughly entertained! :D

0 of 1 people found this review helpful