NEW YORK – Novelist Naomi Alderman is a “what if” kind of writer, as in: What if women were able to release electricity through their fingers, the premise of her acclaimed bestseller “The Power "?
For her upcoming book, simply and descriptively titled “The Future," she imagined a handful of rogues — including an unhappy spouse and a deposed executive — overthrowing the masters of Silicon Valley and running the tech world themselves.
“I've seen the rise of these companies that started off with people tooling around on the internet and now look at them. How have we gotten to this point,” the British author said in a recent telephone interview. “A lot of them seem be using their companies for nefarious purposes, like destabilizing democracies and radicalizing people in all sorts of directions. So I was thinking about whether there was a way for them to work better.”
Simon & Schuster announced the novel Tuesday, calling it a blend of “intelligence and storytelling, marrying white-knuckle narrative propulsion with an intellectually dazzling critique of the world we have made, in which a few billionaires profit on the lives of many and lead us willingly to our doom.”
“The Future” is scheduled for publication in fall 2023.
Alderman, 48, is also known for “The Liars' Gospel” and “Disobedience," adapted into a movie starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. An Amazon Prime Video series based on “The Power" is expected next year after an extended delay caused in part by the pandemic and by the departure of actors Leslie Mann and Tim Robbins. They were replaced by Toni Collette and Josh Charles.
The pandemic also disrupted her own writing. Alderman had been working on a novel — tentatively called “The Survivals” — about tech billionaires fleeing from a deadly plague but altered it after a real one spread early in 2020. The tech leaders remain, but the pandemic has been decentralized and the “book definitely got less dark,” mostly because Alderman wanted “to find some hope," she explained.
“The Future” is her first novel since “The Power,” published in 2016 and written under the mentorship of Margaret Atwood. Alderman's books have expressed a kind of alternative vision to that of Atwood, who has imagined the worst in “The Handmaid's Tale” and “Oryx and Crake" among others.
“Margaret has very much covered how bad it can get, so we don't need a lesser writer doing that,” Alderman says. “I'm interested in the most radical ideas about how we can make things better, and what are the avenues we can pursue.”