Everything Belongs to the Future is a powerful novella, examining the wrongs of government in a future world that silences dissent in any form. On the surface, it’s a look at the implications of a society where the rich are able to extend their lives by hundreds of years while the poor are left to live their normal lifespan. Deeper down, it’s a condemnation of the unethical tactics used by the government to uncover the opposition and their desire to weaponize progress, no matter the cost.
EVERYTHING BELONGS TO THE FUTURE
5 out of 5 Robots
Woman invents time extension medication. Prices are exorbitant, leaving out the poor. A group of activists wants to turn it around. A betrayal. An unexpected plan. An even more tentative future.
WHY I LOVED IT
CONVERSATION ON CLASS DISPARITY
This is arguably the largest issue humanity has always faced – the inequality of the wealthy and powerful versus the everyday man or woman. Poverty is rampant today, and in this version of the future, as people try to make due in menial jobs, living in squalid surroundings affected by flooding caused by climate change. The wealthy are given more time at the expense of the poor. This group of activists is trying to bridge this disparity, providing food for the needy and attempting to find a way to give more time to the less fortunate. Their desperate solution turns against them at the end, widening the gap and animosity between the rich and poor as they battle for time and the safety the future could bring.
A CRITIQUE OF THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Overall, this book is a clear critique of an insurance based healthcare system that rewards the upper classes and leaves the lower class in the dust. The moral is that good health shouldn’t be a privilege earned by the circumstances of a person’s birth and the opportunities provided to them early on due to their family’s economic status. When you throw the possibility of an extended life into the mix, it becomes even more tragic. Not only are these people sick and dying due to poor public health opportunities, but they are losing possible decades of their lives because they weren’t given the same opportunities. It puts the healthcare conversation into a startling perspective.
THE MEANING OF MORE TIME
With time comes the fulfillment of a person’s every dream. More time means more days to generate wealth, more years spent with loved ones, more decades spent learning and advancing through society and the world. It’s a chance everyone should have, and in this future it’s head above the heads of the poor, flaunted by the wealthy who congratulate themselves on this victory and refuse to share their creation. Having an option to keep the sickness and suffering of aging at bay creates desperation in those who can’t afford the steep prices. These activists do what they think is right, but their solution is turned against their intentions, becoming a weapon governments and terrorist groups begin to use.
The most startling part of Everything Belongs to the Future is the ethical conversation on undercover officers and the government’s acceptance of their relationships with the women they are monitoring. The central romantic relationship of the book is a lie, with the man telling himself it’s all okay because he plans to be with her after it’s all over. This twisted logic isn’t just a problem for the future, but a problem happening today. It’s an issue that isn’t talked about much, and the author uses her platform to expose the practice. The acknowledgement at the end has a very important note about this issue and the women affected.
Time, Activism, Extended Life, Class Disparity, Governmental Ethics
WHERE TO BUY
Penny, Laurie. Everything Belongs to the Future. Tor.com, 2016.
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