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The Future We Left Behind

The Future We Left Behind

3.7 4
by Mike A. Lancaster

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The paperback of the sci-fi techno-thriller that could be ripped out of The Twilight Zone and reads like an upgrade of M.T. Anderson's Feed.

New version available for: Humankind. . . . Your download will begin shortly.

Thousands of years in the future, the divide between humanity and technology has become nearly indistinguishable. Each thought


The paperback of the sci-fi techno-thriller that could be ripped out of The Twilight Zone and reads like an upgrade of M.T. Anderson's Feed.

New version available for: Humankind. . . . Your download will begin shortly.

Thousands of years in the future, the divide between humanity and technology has become nearly indistinguishable. Each thought and action is logged, coded, and backed up. The Straker Tapes say that this melding of man and machine is a result of "upgrades," not evolution. But no one is sure if the tapes are a work of fiction or an eerie peek into a forgotten past.

Nearly sixteen-year-old Peter Vincent has been raised to believe that everything the backward Strakerites cling to is insane—that there is always a rational explanation based in fact. Then he meets Alpha, and the theories about society upgrades don't sound quite so crazy.

She can prove that the Straker Tapes are true and that another reboot is imminent. Together, they can stop it. But how are they supposed to prevent humanity from being reprogrammed when they don't know who, or what, is behind it?

The Future We Left Behind warily examines technology's role in daily life, and whether its seamless integration could become our ultimate downfall.

A Booklist Top 10 YA SciFi/Fantasy 2013 pick

*"Lancaster effortlessly incorporates into his whiz-bang plot big ideas of science versus religion, along the way borrowing from the sf masters: the large-canvas orchestrations of Asimov; the yearning nostalgia of Bradbury; the who-stole-my-memories paranoia of Dick; the pro-gaming, pro-hacking bent of Doctorow; and the spirituality of Clarke."
Booklist starred review

"Fans of Anderson's Feed will . . . find this stimulating read well worth contemplating." —BCCB

"[I]ntersting food for thought." —School Library Journal

Also available in hardcover (ISBN: 9781606844106) and electronic book (ISBN: 9781606844113) formats.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—In Peter Vincent's world, well into the future, the Link keeps people constantly connected, via their own minds. Need to contact someone? Think about it. Need to find out information? Scan the Link in your mind. Humans now have filaments that emerge when needed, to transfer information and perform other services. Lancaster has imagined an interesting futuristic environment: clothing created every morning from templates, invisible elevators, seating that works by supporting the body with high-pressure air. People no longer need to remember anything, as memories go straight to the Link and can be accessed from there. But exactly what is the Link and is it as benign as it seems? The story is told primarily as if it were being downloaded from 16-year-old Peter's scraps of memory, absorbed and then forgotten deep within the WorldBrain. Peter and a classmate Amalfi (also known as Alpha) become deeply involved in the mystery behind the Strakerites, who believe that Kyle Straker's ancient tape recording of an alien "upgrade" jumped most humans vastly ahead in technology and brain function, while leaving a few unaffected in certain sleep states or under hypnosis. Kyle and Alpha investigate mysterious circumstances and come to believe that a new human upgrade is imminent, and not necessarily beneficial. There isn't much hard science in this book, but the big-picture questions of brain/computer similarities and "Could human brains all be wired together?" make interesting food for thought. The story works best in tandem with Lancaster's Human.4 (Egmont USA, 2011), which lays out Kyle Straker's experience with the first upgrade.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
This sequel to Human.4 (2012) portrays a not-exactly-science-y future. Peter is the son of the man who saved the world by inventing robot bees. Destined by his wealthy genius father for a future in science, Peter rebels against both by enrolling in a literature class and befriending Alpha, a girl in a wacky religious cult. Alpha is a Strakerite, following the ancient tapes of Kyle Straker. Kyle and his girlfriend Lilly believed humans are regularly upgraded by aliens. Skeptical at first, Peter is soon convinced; if it doesn't make sense that humans could have evolved the Link that acts as a telepathic Internet, then clearly it must be because Kyle was right about everything. Peter investigates: Is his father hiding something about the Straker tapes? Alpha has a job, too, even though she's a girl: "Every upgrade has a Kyle and it has a Lilly," Peter's father explains. "…The Lilly paradigm follows her Kyle into the fire." In choppy prose, Peter takes a journey of bad science and flawed logic in the hopes of saving the world. Despite logic-leaping plot development (which disconcertingly mirrors contemporary political arguments about evolution and "intelligent design"), Peter's world contains some compelling science-fictional window dressing: not just robot bees but downloadable clothing and filaments allowing direct human-to-computer uplink. Technology aside, this future looks unimaginatively like the present, from university curriculum to social structures. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Mike A. Lancaster's love of science fiction was forged at an early age by reading Gulliver's Travels, The War of the Worlds, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, and watching Gerry Anderson shows, Doctor Who, Quartermass movies, and Star Trek. His first novel, Human.4, introduced a chilling techno-world where we only think we're in control.

He lives in Cambridge, England, with his wife, children, a menagerie of pets, and bees that may or may not have a very nefarious purpose.

Visit him online at www.mikealancaster.com or follow him on Twitter @mikealancaster. The author lives in Cambridge, England.

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The Future We Left Behind 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to EgmontUSA and Netgalley.) This is the second book in the 0.4 series. It’s been thousands of years since the human’s operating systems were updated from 0.4 to 1.0, in fact only a small group of people even believe that this really happened. The ‘Strakerites’ as they are known are labelled as ‘superstitious primitives’ and live together in twin crystal towers within New Cambridge. 15-year-old Peter Vincent lives in New Cambridge, and has a bit of a famous father. David Vincent is renowned for creating artificial honey bees to replace real bees when they became endangered due to a mite infection. He’s also renowned for his disbelief in Strakerism. When Peter befriends a girl in his class called Alpha, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Alpha and her family are Strakerites, and as events fall into place, Peter finds that he too begins to believe that Kyle Straker might have actually existed. I liked this book. To be perfectly honest I liked it more than book1 – 0.4. Peter is a much more interesting character, and I liked both Peter and Alpha much more than I liked Kyle and Lily. The story was a bit different, not the sort of thing you would normally come across, and I liked finding out how humanity had progressed post the 1.0 upgrade. I thought that the story flowed better, the ideas were better, and whole thing was just generally more entertaining. I did find that towards the end (around the 70% mark) I had a bit of an ‘as-if’ moment, I really don’t see how the original village in 0.4 ended up where it was in this book, but I suppose that could be explained away with the advanced technology available at that time. Overall; If you liked 0.4, you’ll like this, although again, I would suggest that this book is aimed at a younger teenage market. 7.5 out of 10.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
It was a little hard to pick-up where book 1 left off because it took the author so long to come out with book 2. It was ok but because of my confussion it was hard to get into the story. The story carried itself very well. Action pace was good. The story takes place hundreds of years into the future from book 1.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no problems with the book I liked the characters, setting, simple complexity, and how it went along with Human0.4 (i would definitly recommend reading Human0.4 first becuase it gives the story more depth) I also really liked the extra indepth information on Peter's life the author included. The story is set many years after Human0.4 (when something quite strange happend to the human race, dont want to give anything specific away youll just have to read it) and some how Peter, the son of the worlds most well known scientist, is the main key in saving the 'human' race from, i guess you could in a way say disapearing. But when every truth is found to be made out of five lies it is an almost impossible struggle to figure out what is important to and for Peter and the rest of the world... If you liked this book (or series) i recommend The Adoration of Jenna Fox And The Fox Inheritance
CherieReads More than 1 year ago
1000 years after the events of Kyle Straker (in 0.4) we find Peter Vincent - another teenage boy living a normal life - who realizes that all may not be as it seems. Overall this is a fun read and is entertaining. The plot moves quickly and, despite its almost 400 pages, this was a quick read for me. Fans of "light" sci-fi and male protagonists should enjoy this. I had high expectations after reading 0.4 and, while I enjoyed this one, it did not completely live up to those expectations. First, the plot and characters are really a re-hashing of the first book. This is even acknowledged in the book - the characters are referred to as paradigms of the original characters from 0.4. While I see that there is continuity and a reference to computer programming there, I was disappointed that there wasn't more originality in terms of character and plot. Speaking of characters, I didn't feel that there was enough character development here. The book isn't really about the characters, so I was able to overlook that and still enjoy the book, but I would have felt more invested in the story if I had more of a connection to the characters. Lastly, I was disappointed in the technological advancement of the society. Sure, there were some cool and advanced things. I loved the way they choose their clothes, I can see how the link would be the way everyone lives in the future, the extinction and replacement of bees is a true-to-life touch. But, c'mon! 1000 years have passed! That's a heck of a long time! Think of all the changes in our current world compared to the year 1012. The world described here does not really seem that different from our own - in language, dress, customs, schooling, culture, etc. 1000 years from now I don't think I would even recognize the world. And, maybe that's exactly why the author wrote the future the way he did. Maybe he didn't want to make it seem inaccessible to his teen audience. I think it was a missed opportunity. Despite these failings, this was a fast-paced, exciting and fun read. I enjoyed it and would recommend checking it out. Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.