The Futurist   James P. Othmer

The Futurist James P. Othmer

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Famed pundit J. P. Yates - the futurist - is a cynical purveyor of trends and predictions to the corporations and the state, and a man who experiences an epiphany after emptying his hotel room mini bar: he's a fake. After years of peddling insights to any group with enough cash - he once spoke on successive days to a leading pesticide manufacturer and the Organic Farmers of America, receiving standing ovations from both - he stuns the Futureworld conference in South Africa by committing career suicide, deriding the futility of himself and his peers, and declaring himself "founding father of the Coalition of the Clueless." Unfortunately, this sincere attempt to self-destruct leads to his career taking off: he's more in demand than ever as a fearless truth-sayer, and is soon recruited by a shady organisation to travel the world asking why everyone hates the US; he ends up in Bas'ar, a war-torn fictional country in the Middle East not a million miles away from Iraq, where press-releases can't cover up the savage anarchy...With amusing swipes at the likes of (real-life) futurist Faith Popcorn, "New York Times" columnist, Tom Friedman and billionaires Ted Turner and Bill Gates, this clever tale is never short of laughs, but it is also a deeply serious satire on the post-9/11 arrogance of the American government, and an investigation of the consequences of that arrogance across the world. A short story excerpted from the novel was a National Magazine Award finalist.