ARC Review: The Future Second by Second, by Meridel Newton

The Synopsis

In a new America where civilization as we know it has ended, every hour counts. Everything is ticking along perfectly in the sanctuary community of Osto until a band of raiders arrives intent on violence. Vasha has led her people through the worst the world has to offer for years, but this new threat could destroy her hope for the future. She’s forced to strike a bargain with the leader of the raiders as tensions rise among the survivors and refugees who call Osto home. Old rivalries and prejudices put everything they’ve worked for at risk. But if Vasha plays this right, she just might forge a new future for Osto.

The Future Second by Second is the first in a series of novellas showcasing a different kind of post-apocalyptic world—one dependent on community and cooperative living. Flipping the genre of dystopia on its head, Newton understands the power of hope and collaboration in the face of an uncertain future. 

The Review

I was given this eARC by the publisher, Interstellar Flight Press, through Netgalley in exchange for a fair review. Thanks for the opportunity!

Over the long weekend I was looking for something short enough that I could get through it quickly on the train, and I happened to have this sitting on my TBR shelf. I’m also not an avid ebook reader, as regulars on my blog know, but I found myself turning page after page until there was no more left to read! It’s very short, and I finished it in an afternoon, which is more than I can generally say for ebooks…

I’m also not a big dystopia, or post-apo fan, but the blurb had me intrigued: what I do enjoy quite a lot are stories of hope. And I think this delivered pretty well!

Newton’s world is one where tech has disappeared, electricity is a thing of the past and raids are common. Within that though, the little commune of Osto has survived for a lifetime, as people work together to take care of their harvest and animals, craft their clothes and build new systems to evolve in this new world. It’s not all rosy though, and I appreciate that even within this tight knit community it’s made clear that there’s always, always gonna be conflicts, abusers, etc. There’s even a strong theme of domestic abuse for a few of the characters. So while it’s a story about hope, it’s not about blind hope.

But at the end of the day it truly is about cooperation and making the best of what you got, and communities coming together and building bridges. When you consider the state of the world today, especially with the climate crisis… I want to say “looming” but at this point it’s no longer looming, it’s definitely there… I think we need more of these kinds of stories that actually tackle the issue and what we can/could do in those situation, without it being just guns and violence. Hopepunk it is!

Barnes & Noble | Publisher Website | or read it on Scribd (affiliate link)

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