Narrator: Felicia Day, January LaVoy, Jesse Cox, John Hodgman, Leo Laporte, Patrick Rothfuss, Sean Kenin, Tom Merritt
Published by Random House Audio on 01 August 2017
Length: 22 hrs and 4 mins
Genres: Science Fiction
Source: Publisher, Submitted
The definitive novel of today's Silicon Valley, After On flash-captures our cultural and technological moment with up-to-the-instant savvy. Matters of privacy and government intrusion, post-Tinder romance, nihilistic terrorism, artificial consciousness, synthetic biology, and much more are tackled with authority and brash playfulness by New York Times best-selling author Rob Reid.
Meet Phluttr - a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers - and they don't even know the tenth of it.
But what's the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming "The UberX of Sex"? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will?
Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it's not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her.
After On achieves the literary singularity - fusing speculative satire and astonishing reality into a sharp-witted, ferociously believable, IMAX-wide view of our digital age.
Narrated by Sean Kenin and January LaVoy, with:
Felicia Day: NETGRRRL.COM
Patrick Rothfuss: Special Field Operative Brock Hogan
John Hodgman: Charles Henry Higgensworth III
Tom Merritt: voice of The New York Times
Jesse Cox: Whistle Blowings Blog
Leo Laporte: voice of The San Francisco Chronicle
©2017 Rob Reid (P)2017 Random House Audio
ABR received this audiobook for free from the Publisher, Submitted in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.Buy from Audible Buy from Amazon.comAdd to Goodreads
“After On”, as its subtitle says is a comedic novel covering the complexities of Silicon Valley. The author of the book is Rob Reid; who currently has two books available in audiobook format on Audible. It should be noted, this is my first listen to this author’s works and I understand this book has some ties to his work called “Year Zero”. The large cast of narrators for the book are ones that are well known in the industry and add a level of depth and texture. It includes: Sean Kenin, January LaVoy, Felicia Day, Patrick Rothfuss, John Hodgman, Tom Merritt, Jesse Cox, and Leo Laporte. I’m sure you recognize one or more of these people if you have at all been in the technology or social industry for any length of time. Is the book worth an Audible credit? I think that decision comes down to one’s personal comic likes and dislikes. For me, the book fell a bit flat, felt too long, and at times leveraged on the absurd making its point where I felt it did not succeed. I like the author’s descriptive and picturesque style of storytelling, but it could have been less wordy at times.
The book opens with a dare or challenge to the listener to complete it fully. The audiobook edition is just over twenty-two hours long, and I can say that I successfully threw off the authors “completion stats”; so, the book now needs to be updated reflecting all those who do. The story takes most of the previous and current trends from the web-centric world and pokes fun at them. We get the expected: machine learning, Turing test, chatbots, unicorn corporations, super intelligence, AI, quantum computing, singularity, social networking, VC, angel investors, Tor, digital currencies and the rest of the kitchen sink. These are not the only safe topics to make fun of, the book also pokes at diets, sex, religion, and other mainstream fads.
Although the book is written as a piece of comedy, it also highlights some of the darker practices of the connected world. This is mainly focused on social products and ad tracking/marketing technologies. A quote that has stayed with me over the years says, “If you do not pay for a product, you are the product.”. This is a good thing to remember when utilizing social networks and the information being shared. The book even shows the level some companies go to track their users and keep them addicted to the technology all the while gaining more and more details about the user. With much information comes much power and with much power comes corruption. When a singularity is grown from the created social application in this book, things began getting interesting.
I have been in the technology industry for over thirty years and much of what is covered in the book was no real surprise. The best way I can sum up the book is a blending of “All in the Family” mixed with “Family Guy” and some “South Park”. The humor is rough and often crude, the book protects no race, creed, sex, or other from offence. Vulgar language flows freely and fluently by nearly every character nearly every other sentence spoken. Some of the books funnier aspects was the time it spent covering the ever-dreaded EULA (End User License Agreement) found in nearly all connected products or services which none of us read.
For parents and younger readers, this book contains strong vulgar language, sexual topics, a topic around suicide, along with a few scenes containing rather graphic violence. I would not recommend it to younger readers of those easily offended by any of the above-mentioned items.
In relation to the book’s narration, the cast used in this more dramatized work makes perfect sense. All are in one way or another involved in the technology industry or social networking. Because this book was published by Random House, I would expect some of the best narrators and professionally produced audio content. I can say with this book you get both. There were no issues with volume, background noise, or other subtle noises often found in audiobook editions. I enjoyed all the voices of the characters, however, Felicia Day is one of my favorites along with Leo Laporte.
In summary, is the book worth your Audible credit? This is the questions I asked in my opening paragraph. In my opinion, the book could have been more concise and nearly half its current length if the author removed the overly and unnecessary amount of vulgar language. One needs to enjoy the type of crude and adult humor used throughout its pages, and I cannot remember a point where I laughed out loud during the book. At times, I found it rather confusing and difficult to follow, but the book seems to get on track with its initial premise in the last third of the book. If you are looking for a long comical book covering nearly every aspect of Silicon Valley, you may enjoy the book. I feel there are a number of other books to tackle that are able to tell a similar tale better.