Reviews

The Mere Future

Patty Osborne

The Mere Future by Sarah Schulman (Arsenal Pulp) is a wacky, thought-provoking and timely look at a future New York, where 80 percent of the people work for the same boss (the Media Hub) and the only opposition to the status quo is the “DeMarketing Movement, a spiritual state that had no material reality”—no one does anything, but somehow just the thought of doing something is comforting. Then things get “slightly better because there has been a big change”—New York elects a new mayor, Sophinisba Breckinridge (any relation to Myra?), “a former social worker from the days when there used to be social services” who builds enough low-cost housing for everyone to have a place to live (“a six-floor walkup tenement with mice and no closets was no longer three thousand dollars a month”), implements a decent minimum wage and bans franchises.

Of course there’s a catch, but why would anyone want to figure it out? Not the heroine and sometime narrator, who stumbles through this crazy story trying to get ahead in a system that she can’t quite figure out, a system where being famous and knowing how to schmooze will increase your reading on the social currency meter enough that you can get away with murder.

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