Odds Against Tomorrow

Odds Against Tomorrow

Book - 2013
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NEW YORK CITY, the near future: Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician, is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. The business operates out of a cavernous office in the Empire State Building; Mitchell is employee number two. He is asked to calculate worst-case scenarios in the most intricate detail, and his schemes are sold to corporations to indemnify them against any future disasters. This is the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming.

As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe--ecological collapse, global war, natural disasters--he becomes obsessed by a culture's fears. Yet he also loses touch with his last connection to reality: Elsa Bruner, a friend with her own apocalyptic secret, who has started a commune in Maine. Then, just as Mitchell's predictions reach a nightmarish crescendo, an actual worst-case scenario overtakes Manhattan. Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit. But at what cost?

At once an all-too-plausible literary thriller, an unexpected love story, and a philosophically searching inquiry into the nature of fear, Nathaniel Rich's Odds Against Tomorrow poses the ultimate questions of imagination and civilization. The future is not quite what it used to be.

An NPR Best Book of 2013

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
ISBN: 9780374224240
Branch Call Number: RIC
Characteristics: 306 p. ;,22 cm

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Jabberwock12 Dec 08, 2015

If you would like to scared of the possibility of what a Cat 3 or 4 Hurricane striking NYC head on then read Odds Against Tomorrow. It's an amazing read that shouldn't be overlooked. I look forward for Nathaniel Richs' next novel. A great doomsday novel in the not so distant future. This novel really hits home if you lived through Hurricane Sandy.

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bookwormjeph
Dec 01, 2013

I don't usually read futuristic/doomsday type of novels-I generally find them either implausible or so damn real they are frightening. But this novel is sharp, witty and very cynical toward our materialistic society and how easy it is to exploit for huge financial gains by playing on peoples fears. With that as a theme it is also a statement on the corporate insurance industry. By the time I was half way through it I was getting drawn into the plight of the characters and found my self wishing they would do alright in the end and so every chance I got I read a few more pages. One of the better futuristic novels I have read- though that is quantified in light of not having read all that many over the years. Well worth checking out and diving into.

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frealasruadh
May 01, 2013

This novel transfixed me. Not only a totally believable premise, and astonishing that it has an entire paragraph documenting the damages from Superstorm Sandy in it (as this is set in the not-too-distant-future) given that it was only just published. The characters were compelling and fallible. As a writer myself, I found I was reading descriptions (especially to do with particular characters) aloud to my partner, in awe of Rich's ability to describe people without resorting to banal descriptions of hair and eye color. I returned the book before writing this review, so I can't quote any of his exceptional turns of phrase here. This novel is engrossing, a joy to read (especially if you read with an editor's eye), and brings to life a profession that if it doesn't exist yet, it certainly well.

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