#So-So : Furtl by Strobe Witherspoon

The blurb reads,

2026. furtl, America’s once dominant technology conglomerate is bleeding money. Holospace machines out of China have transformed the way people do business on the Internet and furtl can’t keep up. But there is hope. If furtl can get the US government to outlaw Holospace machines, their search algorithms, social networks, and proximity payment systems will live to see another day. All the government wants in return is unrestricted access to furtl’s user information so it can squash its political opponents. It’s the perfect plan (issues pertaining to privacy, innovation, and democracy notwithstanding).



It is a testimony to how poor this book is, that I barely remember anything from it. I really wish this was better but then some things can’t be helped.

So furtl.

This book was confusing in bits and hard hitting in others. I’ve often wondered about the perils of pushing data out on the World Wide Web and this book explored that. It explored the consequences of having parties use our data for their own benefit.

It was scary to think of how this was being implemented in our daily lives. Google uses our search history when they are placing ads to show those most relevant to our ‘Most Recent’ searches. Facebook uses a similar algorithm to place the advertisements too.

But the drawback of this book lies in the writing. The blurb lets you think that there is something much more murky than what is written. While trying to keep the narrative crisp and light and write in parody, the result i something which is not RELEVANT and often absurd. It took an enormous amount of patience to read and think about this book in a way that was other than nonsensical.

There were so many instances of the narrative slipping and when the circumstances were being explained about furtl payments and the various acts that had degraded the US society, it felt like a narrative happening without taking the reader along the ride and that was sad. It was sad to think that a book that could have been so much better had the narrative been serious.

I wish the writer learns from this. The book has a lot of potential and indeed, the issue that the book presents is a very scary prospect. To think that the Government would micro-spy every sentence we push on social media is not only blasphemous but also a violation of as many constitutional rights as are prescribed.

I often think of conglomerates and their money hungry path along capitalism. Money is such a lure. It makes us work in jobs we don’t like or for organisations that make us slave. But we do it all for the green. And to think of a world where social media has completely dominated our life is not hard to imagine. We are permanently peeled to our phones anyway.

But then that’s where I think the core annoying part of this book was. That there was so much promise in the blurb and the concept that the narrative spoilt it for me. I know how parodies work but then this one just made a mess of a brilliant concept.

My Rating: 2.5/5

2 and a half stars


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