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No past. No future. Only now.

Originally a self-publishing success launched on N. Frank Daniels's MySpace page, the novel Futureproof tells the story of Luke and his friends as they navigate Atlanta’s subculture of delinquents. In short order, the seemingly harmless high from his first cigarette sends Luke on a downward spiral that ends only after years of self-abuse. It is an extreme cautionary tale told with sensitivity, ferocity, and grit.

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No past. No future. Only now.

Originally a self-publishing success launched on N. Frank Daniels's MySpace page, the novel Futureproof tells the story of Luke and his friends as they navigate Atlanta’s subculture of delinquents. In short order, the seemingly harmless high from his first cigarette sends Luke on a downward spiral that ends only after years of self-abuse. It is an extreme cautionary tale told with sensitivity, ferocity, and grit.

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Editorial Reviews

Jerry Stahl
“Be the first on your block to glimpse the future of American fiction - if not the future of America. Lock the doors, load your guns, and let N. Frank Daniels take you straight to a hell you can believe in.”
Jay McInerney
“He seems to share punkish DNA with the likes of Irvine Welsh, Paul Westerberg and Bret Easton Ellis”
New York Press
“Harrowing, gripping, starkly original.”
Publishers Weekly

Daniels's resolutely grim portrayal of "the unclassified the oversimplified the target market the failing demographic" early to mid-'90s first surfaced on Myspace and became something of a self-published hit. The "loosely autobiographical" narrative follows the tormented young Luke, a white kid with dreads who clings to a tattered copy of Black Boy throughout his passage from grungy teen to father of a "very fragile, sick little boy." Saddled with a miserable home life, Luke attends Peckerbrook High and finds solace with Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, Nirvana freaks (who go into shock when Kurt Cobain kills himself), booze and drugs. He drops out and holds a series of dead-end jobs, gets high and prowls for girls, but manages, by the end, to learn how to "live again." Though Daniels's prose often feels too self-satisfied, his characters' misanthropic adventures will speak to disenchanted youth. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A lurid chronicle of a young man's slow decline into heroin addiction; this novel, the author's debut, was originally self published. The gateway drug for Luke isn't alcohol or marijuana, but midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. When we first meet the hero, he's an awkward Atlanta teenager obsessed with sex and fed up with the way his stepfather, Victor, abuses his mother and younger brother. His escape hatch is a girl who introduces him to the folks who live for the cult film, and through them he quickly discovers the pleasures of weed, coke and LSD. But those three drugs eventually lose their glamour for Luke, and within two years he has dropped out of school and is shooting heroin. Daniels' nearly artless style deflects overdramatization, with Luke plainly relating every bad move, every fit of anger toward his family and every moment of self-degradation. (A series of chapters in which he's a film extra playing an imprisoned Union soldier is as allegorical as matters get.) Daniels' pacing is strong as well; the episodic chapters, covering about four years in Luke's life in the early '90s (Kurt Cobain's suicide, the O.J. trial and the Oklahoma City bombing are mentioned), make plain how slow the path to addiction is, yet how quickly it swallows a person up. The problem with all this verisimilitude, though, is that it doesn't give Daniels much to work with: Luke's life is a tiny one, circumscribed around scoring drugs, taking drugs, finding money to score drugs (a job laying flooring gives way to less dignified methods of getting money) and hanging out with druggy friends. Once Luke is deep into junkiedom halfway through the novel, Daniels often slips into athen-this-happened brand of storytelling which gets into the grotesque details of track marks and ODs but is void of characterization. In the end, the novel lacks a narrative worthy of its candor. Affecting in its guileless way, if ultimately predictable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061656835
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/27/2009
  • Series: P.S. Series
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 1,496,262
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

N. Frank Daniels was born in Philadelphia, raised in Atlanta, and educated in Kentucky. He recently coedited the anthology Santi: Lives of Modern Saints. He lives in Nashville.

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Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Transmission 01: over the shirt, under the bra


Peckerbrook High...like every other high school...sucks. But Peckerbrook sucks for one or maybe two specific reasons in addition to all the other reasons high schools suck in general.

At Peckerbrook, every pupil is either "artistic" (as implied by its status as a Performing Arts Magnet School) or black. This isn't to say that there aren't blackpeople registered in the vaunted arts classes. But in a school that is sixty-five percent African-American (a "vibrant and culturally rich community" is what the brochure says), only five people of color are involved in its arts program, which includes hundreds of students.

Most of us white kids are bussed in from the wealthier communities in the northern sector of the county. The rest of us have mothers like mine...women living in the squalor of the outer city limits who see their children succeeding where they never could, insisting that their sons and daughters are the next Brandos or Streeps or Barbra frickin' Streisands.

The black kids laugh at us "performing" white folk, then deal drugs right in front of the school, selling little bags of weed and crack after the faculty has gone home for the day.

Once I had to wait for my mother to pick me up (she was late, as usual), and these four crack-slingers walked over and just started beating on my head. A Samaritan in a BMW pulled up moments later and chased them away with an umbrella and his middle-class white-man authority.

My first day in drama this tall, unaffected Amazon of a girl sits beside me as I cocoon myself in a corner of thetheater.

"You don't need to worry," she assures me. "All the drama people are cool."I try smiling at her.

She is beautiful. She says her name is Tabitha. And unlike much of Atlanta, which consists of people who have transferred here from all points north, she has a true Southern accent...and breasts that round out the top of her shirt like an answer to prayer.

Class begins with a series of exercises where everybody lies on the floor and focuses on their breathing.


Listen to yourself breathe.

Then comes the "stress reduction" massage.

Tabitha scoots up next to me and asks if I'll "do" her.

"Do? Yeah . . . ok."

She lies in front of me and waits, eyes closed.

I touch her, allowing the palms of my hands to skim the linen of her shirt.

She asks if I am going to actually rub her back or just pretend.

"This part isn't supposed to be acting," she informs me.

"I know, I was just warming up," I say, trying to sound natural.

I begin at her neck, for real this time, kneading soft circles around the muscles and then down the spine and out to the shoulder blades, allowing my hands to pass over the contours of her body.

This goes on for some time before she begins moaning softly and I have to . . . readjust. With every moan I become more aroused and with every readjustment it seems she moans louder.

"Go under my shirt," she says.

I pull her shirt up to the middle of her back, just below the bra strap, and watch as goose bumps form. She is magnificent.

"Pull it up all the way."

"All the way?" I whisper.

"Yeah, all the way," she repeats, her head on her forearms, eyes still closed. She rises off the floor slightly so that I can get her t-shirt past her bra. I look around at the rest of the class to gauge how they are dealing with the striptease developing in their midst but no one seems to have the slightest idea.

"Does this feel good?" I ask, trying to keep my breathing in check.

"It doooes."

I swallow. "Good."

I continue rubbing, trying to be professional about it and all.

Then she pushes herself up onto her forearms, turns to face me. "Two things," she says. "I want you to take your index and middle fingers on both hands, bend them at the knuckle, then pinch and twist. It feels better when it hurts a little."

She lies down again and closes her eyes like before. I look at my hands and practice the twisting motion with my fingers before I go back to work on her."What was the second thing?"

"Oh, that's right," Tabitha purrs as I pinch her. "Unsnap my bra."

I want to make love to her.

"How do you do that?" Now I'm panicking.

"Just push the ends in toward each other and it'll snap free."

Finally the clasp loosens and separates. Her bra slips away and there I sit, straddling her bottom with a hard-on, her naked back begging me to touch it, to make love to it with my fingers. I can see her tan lines and how the sides of her breasts remain their natural flesh tone, completely uncorrupted by sun.

The more I rub the harder I get and I wonder if she can feel me through my pants. I want her to feel me. The tanned canvas of her back is mine for the taking and I imagine myself an artist of the highest vocation, sculpting her into immortality.

Her skin gathers between my fingers, and no matter how hard I pull or pinch, it always snaps back into place leaving a red welt, the only reminder of my concentrated ministrations. She moans with every twist, every pull. Her breasts protrude on either side of her prone body, pushed out slightly. There are no visible nipples or anything of that magnitude, but there is the definitive swell. It is the unmistakable sight of finality, fullness, completeness, the ultimate signifier of female perfection.

It occurs to me that I've never seen a real-life breast until that moment.

"Why'd you stop rubbing?"

I'm stuck, staring at her breast swells, my hands motionless on her back.

Futureproof. Copyright © by N Daniels. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2010


    I loved this book! It is a thrilling page turner involving adolecence, pain, love, drugs, and beauty!!! i completely adore the point of view mixing grunge and philisophical beliefs...i cannot wait for sequel! Buy this book and take time to look at another time full of awesome music and painful addiction...not to mention the fantastically awesome (as in omnipotent) ideas that can come off of a trip. you will love this read. it is offbeat, raw, and incredibly worthwile. Give Futureproof a chance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2009

    Wonderfully Surprising.

    This semi-biographical book was a real page-turner. I cannot wait for him to come out with the next one. READ it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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