I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny
Published by Tor.com on October 18 2016
Genres: Adult, Science fiction
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The nitty-gritty: A strong concept that should have worked, but for this reader, there just wasn’t enough emotional connection for me to enjoy the story.
Alex was a survivor. Alex wanted the fix, and that was the deal, the box of Turkish delight to sweeten the work of professional betrayal: half a century. Standard offer to all TeamThreeHundred employees with security clearance. Shit pay and long hours, but what did that matter when at the end of it all, you got fifty more years, at least?
It was the perk to end all perks.
Everything Belongs to the Future has an awesome premise: a longevity pill called the fix has been invented which can extend a person’s life for decades if taken every day, but you have to be rich to afford it. Enter a group of anti-establishment types who have an idea to make their own generic form of the fix and give it away to the masses. But unfortunately, that idea doesn’t go quite as planned…
So the concept sounds good, but unfortunately for me, the execution didn’t quite work. I’m usually a fan of novellas, and Tor.com especially has published some stellar ones this year. But this might be a situation where the story didn’t have enough space to develop, and might have worked better as a novel. The story begins with someone in prison writing a letter to two of the characters, Daisy and Alex. Letters from this mysterious person are interspersed throughout the novella, and eventually you figure out who is writing them. Daisy created the fix and she’s been taking it since she was fourteen, and even though she’s over ninety, she still looks like a teenager. But Daisy has had enough of the elitist mentality that only the rich can afford to extend their lives, and so she sets out to develop a form of the fix outside the laboratory that the masses can access.
Daisy recruits activists Alex, Nina and Margo who set her up in a shed where she begins her experiments, growing a fungus that she discovered on the body of a dead fixer. But Daisy’s experiment goes very wrong, and she ends up creating something much more volatile than she expected. And unbeknownst to Daisy, Alex is actually a spy who works for TeamThreeHundred, the company that holds the patent for the fix, and his job is to pinpoint activists and stop them. Alex does whatever his bosses tell him to do, because at the end of his contract, the company has promised him fifty extra years. It’s his job to stop Daisy, but it may too late…
I’m not that familiar with Laurie Penny, but I believe this is one of her first works of fiction. From checking out her website and Goodreads, I think she’s mostly known for her nonfiction books. I guess my main problem with this story is that I just couldn’t connect to any of the characters. Their personalities all blended together and it was hard, honestly, to tell them apart from each other. Daisy was the most interesting for me, because she turns out to be a rather dangerous person. And I did love the reveal when we find out what emerges from Daisy’s research, but that alone just wasn’t enough for me to recommend this story. Ultimately, what it lacked for me was emotion. I wanted to feel something, for the characters and what was happening to them, but by the end I just felt “meh” about the whole thing.
However, Penny’s writing is solid and I enjoyed her style. I’m definitely curious to read more of her fiction, especially if she addresses social issues—like the divide between the classes, which is what she did here.
Big thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy.