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After On

A Novel of Silicon Valley
By: Rob Reid
Length: 22 hrs and 5 mins
4.2 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Summary

The definitive novel of today's Silicon Valley, After On flash-captures our cultural and technological moment with up-to-the-instant savvy. Matters of privacy and government intrusion, post-Tinder romance, nihilistic terrorism, artificial consciousness, synthetic biology, and much more are tackled with authority and brash playfulness by New York Times best-selling author Rob Reid.

Meet Phluttr - a diabolically addictive new social network and a villainess, heroine, enemy, and/or bestie to millions. Phluttr has ingested every fact and message ever sent to, from, and about her innumerable users. Her capabilities astound her makers - and they don't even know the tenth of it. 

But what's the purpose of this stunning creation? Is it a front for something even darker and more powerful than the NSA? A bid to create a trillion-dollar market by becoming "The UberX of Sex"? Or a reckless experiment that could spawn the digital equivalent of a middle-school mean girl with enough charisma, dirt, and cunning to bend the entire planet to her will? 

Phluttr has it in her to become the greatest gossip, flirt, or matchmaker in history. Or she could cure cancer, bring back Seinfeld, then start a nuclear war. Whatever she does, it's not up to us. But a motley band of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and engineers might be able to influence her. 

After On achieves the literary singularity - fusing speculative satire and astonishing reality into a sharp-witted, ferociously believable, IMAX-wide view of our digital age. 

Narrated by Sean Kenin and January LaVoy, with:
Felicia Day: NETGRRRL.COM
Patrick Rothfuss: Special Field Operative Brock Hogan
John Hodgman: Charles Henry Higgensworth III
Tom Merritt: voice of The New York Times
Jesse Cox: Whistle Blowings Blog
Leo Laporte: voice of The San Francisco Chronicle

©2017 Rob Reid (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

" After On is smart, hilarious, and properly cynical about our connected world. The story unfolds in surprising and fiendish ways, and while you're laughing you'll learn enough to confound a wily MBA, manipulate a board of directors, and maybe even outfox a superintelligence." (Ken Fisher, founder and editor in chief, Ars Technica)

"Rob Reid doesn't write science fiction; he writes future history. After On is the best account I've read of how superintelligence will arrive and what it will mean for all of us. Hilarious, frightening, believable, and marvelously constructed - After On has it all." (Hugh Howey, New York Times best-selling author of Wool)

"Enter a near-future Silicon Valley that is hilariously, creepily, mind-bogglingly fantastic, yet at the same time all too believable. It might turn out this way. No, really, it might! Along with After On's diabolically ingenious plot, there are crazy-plausible web startups, delicious parodies of social media, and a surprisingly convincing theory of human consciousness." (Chris Anderson, head of TED)

"Reading After On is like attending a master class in nearly every major issue haunting not only the tech industry but society itself. Only the professor is also a stand-up comic with a perfect ear for the foibles of Silicon Valley's most sacred cows. Part AI thriller, part arch social commentary, and part rollicking farce, After On will leave you smarter about just about everything the human species needs to work on if we're going to outlive our own creations - and our obsessions with them." (John Battelle, co-founder, NewCo, Federated Media, and Wired)

What listeners say about After On

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

Loved the story. Very well written. Ends at the right time with a heart warming twist. Characters are great. I thought the interludes would become annoying but they were all relevant. The narrators were brilliant and very engaging. Got lost in the middle as some sections are over indulged in but doesn’t let the story down. Very impressed by the way very complex concepts are explained simply and clearly so the average reader can understand them. Well worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Stick around for the second half.

This isn't Interstellar or The Martian, but it's still grand speculative fiction. The author demonstrates moments of incredibly clever writing, and uses an irregular, entertaining style. However, the whole execution of this story is thrown into wildly oscillating strength and weakness by the execution of its voice actors, who seem bound by Cthulhu to hunt for the most energetic, noisy and strange ways to act out even the calmest sections of this book.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Too many different story lines

I really liked the start of the novel, I liked the narrator, and I liked the first plot line. Then it cut to a second plot line (imagined story in someone's head) which was fine, then it jumped to some friends chatting in a bar and I quite liked them...and then all of a sudden we're in a board meeting twenty years previous with a racist depiction of an uptight German. At this point (chapter 7 = 3 hours in) I realise that I'm never actually going to get much depth or development of any one plot line, and sadly I decide to give up on the book. I did understand most of what was being said - I just didn't know enough about any of the characters to care.

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Hurry, no genocide!

Loved this book. Nice to have a story about an AI that doesn't kill everyone.

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Clever and fun but a little arch.

Starts as a silicon valley satire but becomes more ambitious. Lots of ideas, great fun but the arch tone of some of the characters is occasionally a little wearing. Worth the listen.

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Very specialised

Very "inside baseball" If you live and work in Silicone valley then it's probably interesting, but otherwise I'd give it a miss.

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Compelling read

A vista of modern and future technology, wrapped in a fast moving plot. I can't quite decide if it's dystopia or utopia...

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Amazing!

Wonderful book! Loved it! It is challenging, engrossing and powerful. I was fully emerged in a world utterly recognisable and yet provocative and complex. A book I will read again.

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Outstanding

Good yarn, plausibly told. Solid performances throughout. Thinking of getting it? Get it. You won't regret it.

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Informative, thought provoking and entertaining

Where does After On rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Loved this book. It's a nice side step from pure Science Fiction, more of a light hearted near future semi-dystopia.

What did you like best about this story?

It's tackles some great issues like AI, online privacy and governmental intrusion. It introduces lots of really amazing tech that could be just around the corner.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

Charles Henry Higgensworth III, great reviews. They all actually exist on Amazon

Any additional comments?

Make sure to check out the "after on" podcast, also a great listen.

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  • Mike Hart
  • 01-05-18

be patient

Very good story and some brilliant ideas shared here. But, be patient. There are some very odd storylines early in the book that if you don't know that they are going somewhere can be a serious turn-off. Just roll with it and after a while it makes sense and is justified- but don't dump it (as I almost did) because of the distractions. It is worth it.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Kunde
  • 11-08-17

Great book with great performances!

What did you love best about After On?

Rob shows us the near future in a very thought provoking novel...leavened with humour and wit.

What did you like best about this story?

Extrapolating current trends into future history is always the goal of Science Fiction, and this book does that very, very well.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Senora Maven
  • 11-10-17

I'm still Hyperventilating!

This is fiction right? RIGHT?! I went from being paranoid to laughing my head off from one sentence to the next. The performers were excellent and the story believable which I believe is a sign of good fiction. If you are an above average paranoid about your on-line privacy I would not reccomend listening to this story. If you can keep it together till the end it's well worth the listen.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan S.
  • 10-08-17

great story - unbelievable cast of narrators

I wasn't sure about this at first having never read the author and it turned out to be a fantastic find! unique plot, well developed characters (over the top at times but I think it adds to the satirical nature of the novel) and a truly exceptional cast of narrators (Especially Ms La Voy but that is to be expected). The interwoven time line was a little confusing for me at first but that's me and I was able to catch on quickly (hint that you probably don't need but helped me, the vignettes tell you the time line your on) . Don't let that deter you though, the book made me laugh and the characters, however satirical, will have you caring for them. For me, this audio book has joined the ranks of my two all time favorites, Anansi Boys and The Martian. Enjoy!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Keith Cuthbert
  • 05-08-17

Wow!

You need to listen to this. I just finished the book. More capable people will write better reviews soon. I want to do what I can to help this story get heard. Story, production, and performances were among the best I've heard and I've listened to more than 350 audible titles. Awesome job!

41 people found this helpful

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  • Richard W Fronapfel Jr
  • 01-08-17

All-too-real commentary on web culture

If you could sum up After On in three words, what would they be?

Irreverent, Confident, (wildly) Entertaining

What was one of the most memorable moments of After On?

Rob Reid grabs you from page 1...inviting you on a ride that's both sobering and laugh-out-loud funny

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but sadly, I couldn't do it in one sitting, but it is a remarkably engaging read

Any additional comments?

I was fortunate to read Mr. Reid's achingly funny and charming Year Zero last year, so I've been anxiously awaiting this one. What I found was a more confident, patient story teller who wasn't just about entertaining, but leading the reader on a journey...the irreverent humor is still there, and I laughed audibly and often, but I felt that I had witnessed an amazing maturation...I think this will thrust Mr. Reid more firmly into the national (and international) consciousness!

27 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Boyd
  • 13-08-17

Fun and interesting

Most stories about AI are very dark. This is understandable since it usually leads to the end of humanity. "After On" manages to avoid this. It is fun, deep, and philosophically intriguing. The begging can feel a little schizophrenic but it smooths out once all the pieces start fitting together. If I were to compare it to anything I think I would say it is philosophically similar to Dave Eggers "The Circle" except much, muuuch more satisfying in terms of plot pacing and character development.

The narration is a little over-the-top dramatic which I know some people enjoy. At times I found it a little distracting but overall it was a good performance.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew Cotton
  • 14-11-17

A radio play

The story is whimsical and thought provoking. The production is more radio play than audio book.

10 people found this helpful

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  • S. A. F.
  • 20-03-18

Excellent... But not for everyone.

I love this book and rate it an enthusiastic five stars FOR ME. If you aren’t into big words and technology you will probably find it boring and hard to get into. Definitely worth the listen if you hang in there and don’t give up half a chapter in.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • 17-10-17

Fun and wonderful story of AI

If you’re looking for wonderful story about AI that is not in the typical voice, this is the story for you. The different voice actors that inhabit the world do an incredible job and the story is also incredibly interesting. Do yourself a favor and read this book!

4 people found this helpful