When the world’s largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet’s dominant e-commerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous–and, oddly enough, most beloved–monopoly ever known: the Every.
Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at the Every. A former forest ranger and unwavering tech skeptic, she charms her way into an entry-level job with one goal in mind: to take down the company from within. With her compatriot, the not-at-all-ambitious Wes Makazian, they look for the Every’s weaknesses, hoping to free humanity from all-encompassing surveillance and the emoji-driven infantilisation of the species. But does anyone want what Delaney is fighting to save? Does humanity truly want to be free?
Studded with unforgettable characters, outrageous outfits, and lacerating set-pieces, this companion to The Circle blends absurdity and terror, satire and suspense, while keeping the reader in apprehensive excitement about the fate of the company–and the human animal.
Is this the future? One where people are happy to give up their freedoms in exchange for a life without crime, false friendships and anxiety. But there’s a catch. Constant monitoring and surveillance. Scared to say anything in case it tips your algorithms into the negative, and never get cross with your kids, it’s all being recorded. There’s no hiding place because the Every has the technology.
The problem is that there is so much truth in what the Every stands for. We know the planet is almost at tipping point. Global warming, rise in sea levels, ice caps melting, plastic filling our oceans. So what’s wrong with no more travel, there’s an app for that known as StayStil – just virtual reality trips from the comfort of your own home. Thoughts Not Things – you have all your possessions photographed and then they are destroyed, but can be recreated using a 3D printer.
Are You Sure is an app that gets you to check before you buy anything, Is it made from ethically sourced products? What’s its carbon footprint? Aren’t we doing that already?
Then there is Friendy – originally called AuthentiFriend and invented by Delaney herself. it can tell you who your real friends are. In other words – are you sleeping with my husband? Of course not. I can tell you are lying. Does my bum look big in this? Of course not, but again you are lying. Obviously not your true friends then.
But it gets worse. Live on site – no travel to work in gas-guzzling cars or dirty trains. No pets – they are a liability. No trips out – by the time they are risk-assessed it’s not worth the hassle or the upset as Delaney discovers. But the planet is being protected, so it’s all good.
At times we go from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous, like men wearing all-in-ones made of very revealing Lycra. I could go on.
Delaney wants to infiltrate the Every and destroy it from the inside. Best friend Wes is on her side initially. But who can she trust? No-one it would seem.
This book will surprise you, worry you, make you question everything. At times you will even laugh out loud, the trouble is that it’s not really funny. It’s too close to the truth and it scares me.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including most recently Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing company based in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s also publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Eggers is the co-founder of 826 National, a network of eight tutoring centres around the country and ScholarMatch, a nonprofit organisation designed to connect students with resources, schools and donors to make college possible. He lives in Northern California with his family. The Every is the follow up to The Circle.