The Futurist

Publisher: Anchor Canada
Yates is a Futurist. Which is to say, he makes a very good living flying around the world dispensing premonitory wisdom, a.k.a. pre-packaged B.S., 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, informing him she’s left him for a fifth-grade history teacher. Then he witnesses a soccer riot in which five South Africans are killed, to the chagrin of the South African P.R. people at Futureworld. Fueled by a heroic devastation of his minibar and inspired by the rookie hooker sent to his hotel room by his hosts, Yates composes a spectacularly career-ending speech at Futureworld, the delivery of 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 driven by equal parts corrosively funny 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.

Wry, picaresque, and a wicked barb aimed at all that is fatuous, The Futurist is the story of a pundit who finds his audience when he proclaims he knows nothing.

From the Hardcover edition.



The Futurist never saw it coming. But now that he thinks of it, it’s not surprising. Not surprising that she’s telling him in the most intentionally archaic way: a pen-and-ink note slipped into his state-of-the-art carry-on. Written in past tense. The only way Lauren could have topped...
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1. There are three questions at the heart of Yates's crisis at the end of the first section:

What does it mean to live a fulfilling 21st century life?
Is there room for a futurist in a terrified, compromised, morally ambiguous world?
Why does everyone hate us?

Does he ever get answers? Are...

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“Acerbically funny, clearly written by a refugee from corporate culture. . . . Othmer [writes] with the gimlet-eyed acuity that is the book’s best asset. . . .The Futurist [is] an impressive foray into satirical fiction.”
The New York Times

“Othmer (a former adman) never lets his book get away from him, pushing right up to the edge of satire but never over it. Indeed, The Futurist is at turns glib, trenchant, cynical, heartfelt, daffy, and harrowing – often on the same page. Grade: A-“
Entertainment Weekly

“A satirical and intelligent social commentary; an observation on the state of the world and the inescapability of our eventual global downward spiral into the abyss of consumerism, imperialism and capitalism. . . . The western world desperately needs more authors and artists willing to wear their opinions, fears, and concerns on their sleeves, and with this book, Othmer has valiantly stepped up to the plate.”
Edmonton Journal

"The eye-poppingly talented Mr. Othmer samples geopolitical sound bites, pop corporate chitchat, and slogans from every cultural microniche, then orchestrates them to create a hilarious, hypersmart, nostalgic wail of a novel."
—Heidi Julavits

From the Hardcover edition.