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WHO IS THE FUTURIST?
He once fired a man on Take Your Daughter to Work Day.
He once was asked by the "New York Times" to write an Op-Ed piece on the death of literacy in America and had his assistant ghostwrite it.
He once began his week ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange and ended it giving a speech about the future of greed to a group of seminary students.
He once wrote the introduction to a book he never read, "Beehive Management: How Life in the Honeycomb Translates to Winning in the Workplace."
He once was an adviser for HeresWhatIDoMom.com, a company that made videos that explained people's nebulous jobs to their confused parents.
He once took batting practice with the New York Mets, pretending not to notice the eight-year-old boy with leukemia from the Make-A-Wish Foundation whom the PR director let him cut in front of because he had a plane to catch.
He once gave a rousing motivational talk at the base of a spouting fountain before the West Coast sales force of an erectile dysfunction pharmaceutical maker.
Yates is a Futurist. Which is to say he makes a very good living flying around the world dispensing premonitory wisdom, aka prepackaged bullshit, 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's carefully scripted existence. On the way to the Futureworld Conference in Johannesburg, he opens a handwritten note from his girlfriend, saying she's left him for a sixth-grade history teacher. Then he witnesses a soccer riot in which a number of South Africans are killed, to the chagrin of the South African PR people at Futureworld. Sparked by a heroic devastation of his minibar and inspired by the rookie hooker sent to his hotel room courtesy of his hosts, Yates delivers a spectacularly career-ending speech at Futureworld, 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 fueled by equal parts subversive 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.
It's the novel we all deserve.