Let's Put the Future Behind Us: A Novel

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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“A remarkable novel” of a post-Communist Russia filled with gangsters and oligarchs, and one man’s shady business deal that could land him in a world of trouble (The Boston Globe).
Part speculative fiction, part satire, Let’s Put the Future Behind Us is a romp through 1990s Russia, as the closed society of the Soviet Union morphs into a modern capitalist free-for-all and Max Borodin finds himself, his wife, and his mistress in mortal danger—in “a world of petty bureaucrats, shameless opportunists, and full-blown mafiosi” (Entertainment Weekly).
“An absurdist thriller narrated by one Max Borodin, an ex-Communist Party hack who has re-invented himself as a commercial operator with a cynical understanding of how to manipulate the strings of power. Cops are paid off with dollar bills, bureaucrats with phoney documents and racketeers with the consumer opiates of their choice. Max is always up for the main chance, and before long finds himself logged into a drug deal involving psychotic Georgian gangsters, corrupt local entrepreneurs, the investors in a leaky crematorium and a messianic fascist demagogue who wants to build a plastic dome over Russia to secure it against ‘Western sneak attacks.’ At the same time, he has to balance the demands of his irascible wife and voracious mistress while rescuing his gullible brother from the folly of building a ‘Sovietland’ theme park.” —Wired
“The grimmest, funniest, and one of the most cannily on-target accounts yet about the helter-skelter fast lane of life in the New Russia.” —The Boston Globe
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About the author

Jack Womack is the author of Ambient, Terraplane, Heathern, Elvissey, Random Acts of Senseless Violence, Let’s Put the Future Behind Us, and Going, Going, Gone. Womack’s short stories, have appeared in anthologies edited by Kathryn Cramer (Walls of Fear, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”), Ellen Datlow (A Whisper of Blood, “Lifeblood”) The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Little Deaths, “That Old School Tie,”), and Don Keller, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman (The Horns of Elfland, “Audience”); as well as in Omni (“A Kiss, a Wink, a Grassy Knoll.”). He has published articles or reviews in Spin, the Washington Post Book World, Artbyte, Science Fiction Eye, Fantasy and Science Fiction, New York Review of Science Fiction, and Suddeutche Zeitung (Munich), and was a contributor to Amok: Fifth Dispatch. He is a cowinner of the Philip K. Dick Award, and has taught writing at the Clarion West workshop, in Seattle. He lives in New York City.
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Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
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Published on
Dec 1, 2007
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Fiction / Thrillers / General
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“Futurist wunderkind Womack concludes his heralded Ambient series with this intriguing, clever novel set in an alternate, semi-historical 1968” (Publishers Weekly).
It’s 1968, and Walter Bullitt, part-time US government freelancer and collector of “race records,” stays busy testing new psychotropics on himself and unsuspecting citizens. Walter’s conscience never interferes with his work—until he’s asked to help sabotage Bobby Kennedy’s presidential campaign. The ghosts who’ve moved into his apartment aren’t much comfort. Then two outré femmes fatales show up and frog-march Walter out of Max’s Kansas City before the Velvet Underground can finish their first song. The ladies have a mission. They need to save New York—both his and theirs.
Bringing his acclaimed Ambient series to a close, “Womack has crafted a fast-moving, hipper-than-hip science fiction novel meshing the exuberant wordplay of Anthony Burgess with the high-concept what-if history Philip Dick made famous with The Man in the High Castle” (Publishers Weekly).
“A bizarre mating of William S. Burroughs and Robert Heinlein, though the over-the-top, hipster, first-person narration might also make readers think of Jack Kerouac channeled through P. G. Wodehouse.” —The Oregonian
“Like Damon Runyon and James M. Cain, Jack Womack has a gift for inventing oddball language. . . . Daringly, scaringly distinct in contemporary fiction.” —Philadelphia Weekly
“The action moves with amphetamine quickness, and Womack’s surefooted control over his material completely sucks us in. . . . Has roots in the paranoid, conspiratorial bookends of Norman Mailer’s near-delirious An American Dream and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49.” —Bookforum
A young Elvis Presley is kidnapped into the future to be the new messiah in this “jarringly potent” novel from the author of Ambient (William Gibson).
Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award
At once a biting satire and a taut sci-fi thriller, Elvissey is the story of Isabel and John, a troubled couple who are sent through a “window” from the year 2033 to a strangely altered 1954. They are on a desperate mission to kidnap a young Elvis Presley and bring him back to the present day to serve the powerful conglomerate Dryco as a ready-made cult leader. But when Elvis proves to be a reluctant messiah, things do not work out quite as planned.
With his distinctive prose, Womack has combined “serious sociological extrapolation, high and low comedy, pulp adventure, pop iconography” and more in this highly original novel (Omni).
“Nazi flying saucers over an alternate 1950s Memphis, your basic cross-time godhead abduction of Elvis Presley, and what must surely be one of the flat-out weirdest Fisher King inversions yet perpetrated in American literature. Achingly sad, downright alarmingly funny, and just about as serious as any of us can presently afford to be.” —William Gibson, author of Neuromancer
“Jack Womack is another of the heirs of cyberpunk, one of science fiction’s most interesting new writers” —Los Angeles Times
“Womack’s book is different in tone and content from anything you may have read.” —Financial Times
“Womack astounds and entertains. . . . Though the plot suggests the ridiculous, this is, in fact, a deep, often theological, reflection on love, betrayal and commercially inspired nihilism.” —Publishers Weekly
Die amerikanischen Agenten Robert Luther Biggenstaff und sein Leibwächter und Nahkampfspezialist Jake sind in Moskau, um an die Erfindung eines genialen russischen Wissenschaftlers zu kommen: eine Zeitmaschine. Durch einen Doppelagenten verraten, werden sie in die Enge getrieben, aber es gelingt ihnen, mit dem Gerät in die Vergangenheit zu fliehen.

Doch im New York des Jahres 1939, in dem sie landen, ist einiges anders, als sie es aus den Geschichtsbüchern kennen: Die Sklaverei wurde in den USA erst 1907 abgeschafft, der Rassismus der Polizei trägt abstoßende Züge; Roosevelt und Churchill sind längst tot, eine verheerende Virusseuche grassiert und hat u. a. Charlie Chaplin, Claude Debussy und Amadeo Modigliani hingerafft, bevor sie den Höhepunkt ihres künstlerischen Schaffens erreichen konnten.

Als die Polizei ihre Zeitmaschine findet, werden die Agenten für Spione gehalten und von den Bundesbehörden mit aller Brutalität verfolgt. Bei einem farbigen Arzt finden sie Unterschlupf, aber ihre Lage ist hoffnungslos, wenn sie nicht rasch Mittel und Wege finden, in ihre Welt des 21. Jahrhunderts zurückzukehren...

»Womack spielt genial mit Geschichte und Wissenschaft, um eine Katzenwiege von einer Erzählung zu schaffen, die uns rasch in einen phantastischen Hyperraum entführt.«


Mit der Dystopie TERRAPLANE veröffentlichte der US-amerikanische Autor Jack Womack im Jahr 1988 einen Roman, der wie sein Vorgänger AMBIENT zum Klassiker der Cyberpunk-Literatur avancierte.

Der Apex-Verlag veröffentlicht sämtliche Romane des DRYCO-Zyklus als z.T. neu übersetzte Neu-Ausgaben sowie den abschließenden Band GOING GOING GONE als deutsche Erstausgabe.

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year: In a dystopian future New York, a girl’s diary chronicles her life as society begins to crumble around her.
Until recently, Lola Hart’s biggest problem was her annoying little sister. Now the twelve-year-old girl’s comfortable life is slowly falling apart. Her mother is a teacher, but she’s lost her job. Her father is a writer, but no one is buying his scripts. When the family can no longer afford either their Manhattan apartment or the tuition for Lola’s exclusive private school, they are forced to radically change their lifestyle.
They move to a small apartment near Harlem, and Lola enrolls in public school—but the Harts aren’t alone in their troubles. Riots, fires, TB outbreaks, roaming gangs, and civil unrest have become commonplace, threatening the very fabric of life in New York. In the pages of her diary, Lola documents her family’s attempts to adjust to a city and a country that are spinning out of control.
Jack Womack, a winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, has been compared to both William Gibson and Kurt Vonnegut for his vivid prose and unbridled imagination. In this novel, “Womack’s stark vision of the United States’ decline is an uncompromising satire that, perhaps even more than it did in the mid-1990s, forces us to confront a world instantly recognizable as our own” (Los Angeles Review of Books).
“A heartrending coming-of-age story. Flecked with black humor, this is speculative fiction at its eerie best.” —Entertainment Weekly
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