Title: Futura: A Novella by Jordan Phillips
Published by: Self-published
Publication date: 2nd January 2018
Genre: General Fiction
By the year 2050, Paris is a stark contrast from other large cities, which had long ago morphed into ultramodern metropolises, where every new building was practically a city within a city. Even in France, humans cannot escape the fact that the Invisibles have taken over. Some come in the form of microscopic chips that are embedded practically everywhere, while others are more visible because they power robots. Humans were suddenly underutilized, and they would be forever.
Past futurists had cried that this would be disorienting and depressing, but it turned out to be quite liberating. Human qualities—good and bad—are tolerated because they are authentic, and not artificially created. To err is to be human, and these days, to be human is to be beautiful.
Futura follows a single American woman named Ruby as she figures out how to thrive in a dramatically different cultural landscape. This utopian novella pushes back on the cynical views many hold today. Instead, author Jordan Phillips has imagined a bright future for the entire human race.
Thank you to NetGalley and Smith Publicity for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest view.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book and found myself really enjoying it. Normally I’m hesitant to read novella’s because I never end up enjoying them and just get bored. You’d think novella’s would be quick and interesting but a lot of the time they end up being quite boring. But this one was one of those rare novella’s that you find really fascinating and just end up getting absorbed in the story. You can easily read it in one sitting and if you want quite a relaxing book then I’d recommend this one.
I love that this book was set in Paris. I’ve never been to Paris but I really want to go because I think it’s such a beautiful place. I enjoyed reading about it in this little novella even if it was a futuristic version! In 2050, living in Paris feels like living in a museum because it’s under a dome to preserve the architecture and its illustrious past, not build modern buildings like everyone else. I thought this was quite neat because I think a lot of people would be devastated if Paris lost it’s beauty. But it made me wonder how people would be able to manage living under a dome because isn’t there a TV show called Under the Dome that shows everything going horribly wrong? Quite an interesting idea that everyone is happy living in a dome in the future but I don’t think it would last. I just can’t see everyone being content permanently living in a dome like that.
Unsurprisingly, in the future they also live amongst AI robots, known as Invisibles. These robots do all of the manual, tedious labour we hate doing. I could see this happening and thought it was interesting that everyone is content with this. Robots taking over jobs in the future is something people currently fear because it would put them out of work. But in 2050 Jordan Phillips imagines humans and robots living in harmony, side by side. Robots do all of the manual labour and humans survive on a universal basic income and have no need to work anymore unless they want to live a more luxurious lifestyle. This was quite thought-provoking because what jobs would be left for people to do? Surely there can’t be jobs for everyone if you take out manual labour ones. But I suppose if people are content not working then it could probably work.
I really liked how in the future humans are able to pursue their passions and their hobbies without having to worry about money. They are encouraged to make mistakes, regrets and errors because these are all human emotions. It seems like now everything is just work, work, work and money, money, money but in the future people can actually do things that make them happy. Human emotions are appreciated because they are real and aren’t artificial and I really liked this. Even in the future there is a possibility for everyone to appreciate real human emotions compared to artificial ones.
One thing I didn’t like about this book was that I felt it randomly jumped from character to character. I’d be reading from Ruby’s point of view then all of a sudden it would jump to someone else without warning. I didn’t understand why it has multiple points of views from different characters. I felt like they didn’t really add anything to the story and they didn’t really seem relevant to me. I’d have much preferred the whole novella being from Ruby’s point of view because I think I’d have been able to connect with her better. I feel like she is very detached from the story and she comes across as very flat – she lacks emotion. If we’d have had the whole novella about her I think I’d have been able to connect with her and understand her more. I mean I liked her but I didn’t love her.
Even when she talks about wanting to have a baby I just felt like the emotion wasn’t quite there. Her personality could have been a lot stronger, I think. I wasn’t a fan of the way she goes about trying to get pregnant, I thought it was really immature and unfair on the father and the baby. I understand she is desperate but it just didn’t seem right to me. I did like how she was determined to create human life rather than have a genetically engineered baby, which is apparently something the future is fond of. I thought it was good that despite living in harmony and not needing to work, it was still possible for us to have struggles and conflict. It shows that just because they say human life is meaningless now doesn’t make it true. Even if we live in harmony and have lots of money we can still have struggles and desires.
Towards the end I did start to get a bit bored of how many times it went on about human emotions and said “to err is to be human” in as many ways as possible. It felt kind of cheesy to me when they spoke of relationships and how if we work harder at them, they will last longer. I don’t have any experience with relationships or marriage so this wasn’t something I was very interested in, unfortunately. I felt like the author was trying to drum human acceptance and love into me and I didn’t like it. It will probably ring true with people who have had struggles in their marriages but I didn’t really care.
For a novella, I thought this was good and I did really enjoy it. I think it is very thought-provoking with Paris living in a dome and humans and AI robots living in harmony. I’ve seen so many films about robots taking over and then a war raging but this one presents us with a peaceful future. I think it gave us a refreshing view of what the future will look like and I’m glad someone thinks there won’t be a war raging! The pacing is really slow and nothing really exciting happens but that didn’t put me off reading it. I was flicking through the pages on my phone, very absorbed in the story. I did get a bit irritated towards the end when it was wrapping everything up but overall, I thought it was a very enjoyable story.
About the Author:
Jordan Phillips was born in Texas, grew up in Northern California, and now calls NYC’s NoMad neighborhood and Paris’s 6th arrondissement her homes. A former public relations executive, she holds a master’s degree in fashion marketing and management from the École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode in Paris, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She is the author of the 2016 non-fiction title Inspired by Paris: Why Borrowing from the French Is Better Than Being French, and Futura: A Novella, set for release in January 2018.
Connect with Jordan Phillips on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads and learn more about Futura: A Novella at http://www.novellafutura.com.
Futura: A Novella will be available for purchase in paperback and e-book formats on January 2, 2018 via Amazon.