Do you guys ever read books, get to the end, think they’re stupid, and then look online only to find that everyone else seems to love them for no reason?
Well, this is what happened to me.
Note: This contains spoilers for a very boring book that you shouldn’t even read. Yay.
This is a book called Where Futures End. I bought this sometime last February or March, I don’t really remember when. The premise looked decent from the cover flap. If you don’t already know where this is going by now, well, I’m here to tell you it’s not. This is because this book is stupidly vague. It starts out with bad explanations and only gets worse. I even tried rereading this thing the other day, but it’s STILL vague. Reviewers all talk about how the ending explained EVERYTHING for them, but…it really doesn’t. Trust me on this.
Basically, some kid in “a year from now” (and since this book came out in 2016, I’m just going to guess all the years based on that, so this would be 2017) has special powers. Apparently he can make people think things are real when they’re not. That’s interesting enough on its own, but this guy is slightly on the whiny side, so we get to hear about this while ALSO hearing about how nobody likes him and everyone wants him to be like his brother and he got kicked out of school because he cheated on some math test because he didn’t want to be on a math team. Or something.
Because this is YA, the guy meets a girl (who turns out to be his brother’s girlfriend, although this is kind of vaguely explained at first…just like most of the rest of this nonsense). Because this is still YA, the guy is also in love with another girl who he went to an alternate universe to play with when they were kids. Fortunately, though, this is technically only a novella, so we’re spared the traditional YA love triangle angst.
Something with the guy disguising himself as his brother to hang out with the girlfriend happens, there’s some angsting and crap, and then…we are suddenly switched over to a completely different set of characters.
Get used to that. It happens A LOT.
In our second little story, we are in the year 2026, and Things Are Capitalized Like This. Because in The Future, everything is going to be Capitalized. Reminds me of this, but I digress. Anyway, YouTube has been replaced with what sounds like a crappy YouTube knockoff, and somehow there are cameras in…vaguely explained places…that record everything and upload it to this crappy YouTube knockoff site. And people are also filming things on their phones and uploading those to the crappy YouTube knockoff. Basically, everyone’s obsessed with the crappy YouTube knockoff! And since that’s annoying to type out all the time, I’m going to abbreviate it as CYTK!
The actual plot of this thing is…some girl with a Kreativvly Spelled Name (which she wouldn’t even be likely to have, considering she must’ve been born around 2010, and people born in 2010 do NOT all have stupidly-spelled names) is in debt, and so is her older brother (who has a normal name, so…see my earlier point). And now she has to work at some stupid novelty…food thing…store to pay off her debt, all while trying to get famous on CYTK. Oh, and Capitalizing Random Things!
Tip for people who want to write about the future: THINK ABOUT WHAT’S CHANGED BETWEEN X NUMBER OF YEARS AGO AND NOW. Unless some massive apocalyptic event happens, we are not all going to change this much over the course of TEN YEARS. Also, I highly doubt YouTube will be obsolete (to the point where nobody even seems to know what it is) in 2026, especially in the continuity of this story, where we later find out that Google is not only alive and well, but also still enough of a massive corporation to buy large amounts of land from people for some reason. But I’ll save my comments about that little subject for later. For now, I’m just going to say that we haven’t changed THIS much since 2006, and we probably won’t have changed THIS much by 2026, either.
Oh, the ending to this thrilling plot? The girl runs into some guy from the alternate universe, and he has some notebook from the first guy. They talk about this alternate universe for a bit, then he vanishes, and all of this is enough to make the girl famous enough on CYTK for her to be able to pay off her debt. Yay for her.
We then fast-forward to the year 2046, where another girl with a Kreativvly Spelled Name is whining about her boyfriend, or…something. It’s so nice to know that even thirty years into the future, teenagers will still be whiny and angsty. Especially in YA.
Through some poorly-explained exposition, we find out that the polar ice caps are melting, so the US government is now blowing up dams or floodgates or something like that. But it’s not even letting people evacuate, oh no! Because companies are doing that! And for some reason, it’s REALLY crucial that these companies buy up land that’s about to be flooded, so they can make people move into cities! Seriously, apparently people wouldn’t have been able to get out of Florida if Disney hadn’t bought up the state. Because in thirty years from now, we’ll all be like the people in WALL-E and have lost the ability to move? I just…what?
Sure, these companies might be offering these people places to live and stuff like that. But from what it says in the book, it sounds more like people literally cannot move anywhere anymore unless some company or other offers to help them. 🙄
Oh, and phones are obsolete now, because everyone has screens that wrap around their arms. I question the practicality of this since I don’t remember it being mentioned anywhere that the screens displayed holographic videos or any of that, and…arms aren’t really convenient to watch things on. And since either CYTK or some other YouTube ripoff is still alive and well, it’s pretty much a given people will be watching videos on these arm screen things. If I find out there’s something I’m missing, I’ll go back and edit this, but…bleh. It still sounds kind of stupid.
Back to the girl and her boyfriend, they get approached by some important person in some company and…end up becoming famous singers. There’s some angsty love drama in there, because what we REALLY need right now is more angst. People then get the brilliant plan to take all the obvious environmental problems and dump them on the alternate universe. Everyone in said universe is completely fine with this.
It really says something that I reread this part of this book just last night and I’m having this much trouble remembering it…
The next part takes place in 2076 and is basically Sword Art Online without the part about people being trapped in the game. (Or maybe that was in there…) Everyone wants to go to this alternate universe now, so they decide to play a virtual MMO. This is where I had to start skipping ahead. A lot. Because of how mind-numbingly painful this section is.
I cannot stress how much I hated this part. After the first few paragraphs, it felt like everything from the first three stories that had been an ongoing thing was dropped completely. And this is the longest story of the five in here. It just keeps going and going…and going…and going…and…you get the picture.
There’s also the fact that skipping this section entirely really doesn’t seem to impact the final part of the book. So you’re basically reading about this painfully boring MMO virtual reality thing for no real reason.
At least the main character’s name is an actual word and doesn’t use Kreativv Spelling? Although it’s a word, not a name…
The final story of this book happens over a century from now (they never specify when besides that, so I can’t really give a closer estimate of the year this is supposed to be). This is hands-down the vaguest part of the already-incredibly-vague book, but I’ll try to give some kind of coherent explanation. Key word: try.
Basically, there’s a girl with a normal-sounding name. She lives in what used to be Canada but is now no longer recognizable as being anything but Generic YA Dystopia Land with a pinch of fantasy thrown in for good measure. Various terms get Capitalized and Used As If We Should Know Them Already. Descriptions are stupidly vague. Look, I realize we’re supposed to be like Victorian England in comparison to today in this situation, but could you at least try to sound a little clearer, author?
Anyway, a guy comes along! And he turns out to be…THE GUY FROM THE FIRST STORY! Remember him? Oh, wait, that MMO thing might’ve made you forget there were three parts before it. Despite the fact he should be about 116-117 by now, this guy is clearly not that old, but who cares about that? WE’VE GOT MORE VAGUENESS TO COVER!
The guy tells his story, which also sounds like we should know it already, even though this part wasn’t even covered in his section of the book. Then we get the THRILLING plot twist. Are you guys ready for it? This will shock you to your very core.
Humans…HAVE BEEN SCREWING UP THE EARTH! AND NOW IT’S DOOMED!
I know, we had NO way of knowing that before! I mean, the polar ice caps melting and half of the US being flooded and the transformation of Canada into Generic YA Dystopia Land didn’t imply this at ALL! ISN’T THIS A SHOCKING PLOT TWIST THAT MAKES YOU SEE THIS ENTIRE BOOK IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LIGHT?!
Oh, yeah, the guy isn’t really the guy. He’s a fake guy. I’d comment more on this, but writing so much about this book is already putting me to sleep.
Anyway, the girl and the guy have to choose whether to save Earth or the other universe. Considering this Earth is pretty much screwed, the choice seems fairly obvious, but it still warrants some long argument/discussion. Somehow.
The book ends in the same style it’s been going on for…VAGUELY.
Why did I want to read this again? Yeah, I don’t know, either. The characters are all either whiny or assholish, the plot is badly explained, the book’s idea of the future is dumb (SERIOUSLY, WE ARE NOT GOING TO SOUND THAT DIFFERENT IN TEN YEARS), and it’s all just so boring. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this is the book for you. If not…don’t read it.
EDIT: Another thing that I forgot to mention but that didn’t make sense to me… Why didn’t anyone go into space? That wasn’t even mentioned as an option during the entire book. I get that people were obsessed with the other universe, but…you’d THINK we would’ve sent SOMEONE off to another planet within the next century or so…