Title: Tomorrow’s World: Darkly Humorous Tales from the Future
Author: Guy Portman
Genre: Science Fiction, Satire
Date of Publication: November 22, 2018
Set in the not-too-distant future, Tomorrow’s World is filled with little snippets of what reality could look like. This novel is a clever satire that projects current socio-political trends into a future where technology plays an even more critical role in societal function.
Tomorrow’s World features many time jumps throughout the narrative. Sometimes there’s just a paragraph for one year, and then there’s a leap to the subsequent year. This makes for an entertaining read. We get to follow one potential future and see how culture, politics, and everything else could evolve (or maybe devolve) over time. This novel is quite clearly a satire, making sardonic statements about the world we live in.
While one of the book’s strengths is that it spans over the course of a long period of time, it still follows two main characters. However, the characters are not the focus. This book is heavily setting-driven. That said, its strength is also its weakness. We spend so little time in one year before jumping to the next that we don’t really get to follow Terrence or Walter as closely as I would have liked. The reader is disconnected from these main characters. While I understand who they are on a superficial level, we don’t get to delve deeper. However, with a satire, maybe this is the author’s point. With an increase in superficiality and religions like “rampant consumerism” emerging (LOL), maybe having protagonists that don’t have much going on beneath the surface is the author’s intent. Nevertheless, I didn’t mind the two-dimensional characters as much as I do with other books, because, as I clearly stated before, the strength of this book lies in the writing and the elaborate tomorrow’s world that Portman has painstakingly crafted.
This book is absolutely hilarious. There were quite a few times when I laughed out loud–at the sheer absurdity of what I was reading. For instance, there’s one point where the president, in the middle of his presidential remarks, stops to present an ad for Walmart. At first I laughed, and then I thought about it a little more. I could definitely see the world coming to that. (Assuming, of course, that Walmart could out-bid every other major corporation for presidential endorsement.) There were a few other parts that really hit home. One chapter followed a recruitment team going over cover letters for a job they were hiring for. I won’t spoil it here, but their criteria and evaluation had me in tears! 😂
While the book is intending to poke fun at the current economic, political, and social state, I did feel a little uncomfortable about some of the portrayals of gender and sexual orientation. While at times it felt inclusive, there were other times when it seemed like it was the butt of the joke, such as in the instance where a character was explaining her parents’ polyamorous relationship.
I recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a fun, smart read, and who won’t think too deeply about whether or not Portman’s vision of the future is close to the mark.
*Thank you to the author for the eARC of this book*
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