Book Review: The Future Is Yours by Dan Frey
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Del Rey (February 9, 2021)
Length: 352 pages
Two friends. One big idea. This is the story of Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry, a couple of geeky fanboys who met in college and bonded over a love of technology and science fiction. On the surface, they couldn’t be any more different in background and personality. Ben was a poor black kid who nonetheless grew up to have a big heart and an insatiable love for life and adventure, befriending people easily with his sociable and charming disposition. Adhi, on the other hand, came from an Indian immigrant family who instilled in him a strict work ethic, though being an introvert and socially awkward, he would have preferred studying and research to parties and going out anyway.
Both young men are brilliant on their own, but together as a team, they have what it takes to change the world. It all begins with Adhi’s graduate dissertation which none of his supervisors would take seriously, dismissing his vision of a new application for quantum computing as nothing more than a flight of fancy. Dejected, he confides in his best friend Ben, who ends up taking a very different view on his project. Despite having had two start-ups blow up on him already, Ben is confident he can find the connections and funding to help Adhi realize his revolutionary idea. Everyone will want a piece of the technology, Ben insists, and with it, they can also help the world in so many ways.
This is how, after much experimentation and trial-and-error, the two men end up launching a groundbreaking new service which would allow users to peer into the future with a special computer that can connect to the internet one year from now. From stock market prices and sports scores to natural disasters and political elections, the device predicts everything perfectly. In fact, Ben and Adhi already know their company will be a huge success because they have already tested their technology and seen the headlines—until, of course, their system encounters a glitch. If it turns out their computers cannot offer perfect prediction as they claimed, the impact on their company would be devastating. Just how far will they go to keep it a secret? And will it even matter in the end? After all, Adhi has a disturbing theory as to why their machines can only see one year into the future and no further, and if he’s correct, the world will have much bigger problems to worry about.
For me, this novel couldn’t have come along at a better time. I was in the mood for a fast and fun read, and The Future Is Yours is all that and more. Now, you probably wouldn’t think that a story involving quantum computing and such a convoluted system of time travel would be all that light, but in this case, I believe the science and technology was actually designed to be quite minimal and not really intended to stand up to much scrutiny, so it worked out well for me to simply take it all in with a grain of salt and go along for the ride.
As well, I was really more into this book for the story and its characters. One thing to know before going in is that The Future Is Yours is told in epistolary style, presented as a collection of documents including transcripts, emails, newspaper articles, blog posts, etc. I’ve always been a big fan of this method of storytelling even though few stories are actually ideal for it, which was why I was pleasantly surprised to find how well-suited this one was for the format. There were no awkward moments of immersion breaking or sneaky ways to work in some extra exposition. Everything simply flowed the way they were supposed to, another factor which helped make this one such an easy breezy read.
Plus, I knew going in that the focus of this novel was going to be about Ben and Adhi’s friendship, and Dan Frey did a phenomenal job developing both characters through the ups-and-downs of their journey from a dorm room at Stanford to the high-powered boardrooms of Silicon Valley. And while the story might be light on the science behind the ability to see through time, this is certainly not the case when it comes to the consequences of holding such power in your hands. Greed, ambition, and jealousy all play role in the relationship between our two protagonists, and it was amazing how the author tied in business, big tech, and even politics as a bulk of the story unfolds via a congressional hearing at which Ben and Adhi were called upon to explain the dangers behind their technology.
What can I say, but I just loved The Future Is Yours and found it to be an addictive read that kept me transfixed throughout. This might have been a case of the right book at the right time, but I also think it’s more than that. At its heart, this is a tale exploring the strength of friendship, with just the right amount of science fiction to establish its fascinating premise. I wish every book I picked up was so entertaining.