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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2020
  • B08FXV4WM7
  • 288 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 9798675405626
  • 352 pages
  • $14.99
Optimal
J.M. Berger, author

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

The Algorithm Wars have ended, and the world has been optimized. Thanks to the System, everything that happens is recorded, liked, commented, shared and analyzed at scale in order to produce nonstop and ever-improving recommendations about what kind of job you should have, what kind of food you might enjoy, what kind of music you might like, what kind of exercise you need, and what kind of person you might want to sleep with. It is a world of total information and total freedom… although things tend to go more smoothly when you follow the System’s recommendations. In this hyper-networked society, Stanton Lime did the one thing that should have been impossible: He disappeared. Now the System has inexplicably selected Jack, a perfectly ordinary citizen, to find out why. Jack's search for the missing man leads him to a new understanding of himself and reveals the terrible secrets that make his perfect world possible. Characters: Jack, an extremely ordinary accountant who is asked to become a detective Megumi, the corporate officer from a foreign continent who hires Jack Stanton Lime, an enigmatic figure who has mysteriously disappeared from the System Mira, an intriguing and alluring enigma, who knows the secrets behind this "perfect" world
Reviews
Berger (Extremism) depicts a dystopian world where online algorithms and recommendations have made life outwardly perfect and seamless. Since the end of the Algorithm Wars, the System runs everything flawlessly, creating a fully integrated global structure where everyone is connected via wearable devices and their jobs, diets, recreation, and romantic lives are guided by recommendations from the all-encompassing technology. When Stanton Lime (financial officer for the UVblZCofKX Corporation) disappears and becomes virtually untraceable, corporation lawyer Megumi tasks accountant Jack with tracking him down. Along with Mira, Stanton’s mysterious former associate, Jack navigates the intricacies of the System and learns about the dark side of a society with so much control over its members.

In Berger’s future, casual human touch is offensive, police surveillance reigns supreme, and serendipity has been replaced by a hyperefficient system based on likes and recommendations. Berger’s rebels and renegades, seeking to break away from this, fetishize retro technology (“Another item in the collection was a box with a round rotating platform and a swiveling mechanical arm.… Focus showed type:record-player”). This dark atmosphere will draw in even fans who are familiar with dystopian worlds.

The characters are charismatic and will keep readers invested. Jack’s journey of self-discovery and quest for individualism as he learns to let go of controlling technology is compelling. Stanton Lime, with his love for outdated technology and old-world wines, is a delightfully appealing revolutionary figure. Berger compellingly explores the predicaments of a globally networked civilization in this stimulating, immersive book.

Takeaway: Fans of dystopian stories will enjoy this speculative fiction thriller.

Great for fans of: Amor Towles’s You Have Arrived at Your Destination, David Eggers’s The Circle.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Amazon customer review, 5 stars

 The story, setting, characters, and outcome are at once logical and shocking: a horror story with a civilized edge

Kirkus Reviews

Berger’s absorbing story skewers reliance on social media... A sharp, gripping story of a bleak future.

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 08/2020
  • B08FXV4WM7
  • 288 pages
  • $2.99
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 9798675405626
  • 352 pages
  • $14.99

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