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2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America [Kindle Edition]

Albert Brooks
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (456 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
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Book Description

Is this what's in store?

June 12, 2030 started out like any other day in memory--and by then, memories were long. Since cancer had been cured fifteen years before, America's population was aging rapidly. That sounds like good news, but consider this: millions of baby boomers, with a big natural predator picked off, were sucking dry benefits and resources that were never meant to hold them into their eighties and beyond. Young people around the country simmered with resentment toward "the olds" and anger at the treadmill they could never get off of just to maintain their parents' entitlement programs.

But on that June 12th, everything changed: a massive earthquake devastated Los Angeles, and the government, always teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, was unable to respond.

The fallout from the earthquake sets in motion a sweeping novel of ideas that pits national hope for the future against assurances from the past and is peopled by a memorable cast of refugees and billionaires, presidents and revolutionaries, all struggling to find their way. In 2030, Albert Brooks' all-too-believable, dystopian imagining of where today's challenges could lead us tomorrow makes gripping and thought-provoking reading.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Comedian and filmmaker Brooks welcomes the reader to the year 2030 in his smart and surprisingly serious debut. Cancer has been cured, global warming is an acknowledged reality, people have robot companions, and the president is a Jew--and oy vey does he have his hands full with an earthquake-leveled Los Angeles and a growing movement by the young to exterminate the elderly. And when the Chinese offer to rebuild L.A. in exchange for a half-ownership stake in Southern California, President Bernstein is faced with a decision that will alter the future of America. Brooks's sweeping narrative encompasses a diverse cast of characters, including an 80-year-old Angelino left homeless by the earthquake, a trust fund brat with a grudge against the elderly, and a teenage girl saddled with debt after her father's death, all of whom get brought together just in time for a climactic hostage crisis. Brooks's mordant vision encompasses the future of politics, medicine, entertainment, and daily living, resulting in a novel as entertaining as it is thought provoking, like something from the imagination of a borscht belt H.G. Wells. (May)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


“With 2030 Mr. Brooks has made the nervy move of transposing his worrywart sensibility from film to book. Two things are immediately apparent about his debut novel: that it’s as purposeful as it is funny, and that Mr. Brooks has immersed himself deeply in its creation.”--New York Times

"The novel is a revelation, painting a caustic, unsettling and only occasionally comic portrait of a country plumb down on its luck."--Los Angeles Times

"Albert Brooks is a keen and critical social observer...His first novel is an inspired work of social science fiction, thoughtful and ambitiously conceived, both serious and seriously funny."--Boston Globe

“Comedian and filmmaker Brooks welcomes the reader to the year 2030 in his smart and surprisingly serious debut....Brooks's mordant vision encompasses the future of politics, medicine, entertainment, and daily living, resulting in a novel as entertaining as it is thought provoking, like something from the imagination of a borscht belt H.G. Wells.”--Publishers Weekly

"An intriguing vision of America’s future."--Library Journal

"Required reading!"--New York Post

“As a comedian and filmmaker, the very gifted Albert Brooks has specialized for more than 30 years in cooking up quandaries with no ready solution except humiliation. His often ingenious first novel is no exception.”--New York Times Book Review

"Brooks's vision of the future is credible and compelling."--Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 912 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004OA62WC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,188 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engaging from the first page to the last March 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Wow! I was intrigued by the description of the book, "2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America" by Albert Brooks, but it was even better than I imagined it was going to be. This was one of those books that I stayed up reading til the early morning hours and then got up a few hours later to continue. It was engaging from the first pages right through to the end. It's a book that's described as science fiction but it's not one of those "woo-woo" types of stories with a flying saucer in every garage, but rather a world that is easy to imagine 19 years from now, based on the way things are today.

I'm not going to include any spoilers beyond the description by the publisher because it's just too good of a book and you have to let it unfold page by page. A big part of it is about today's baby boomers which are now a major part of the population and growing rapidly after the cure for cancer and many other life enhancing discoveries. That leaves the younger generation responsible for a country deeply in debt and seemingly no way of having the quality of life that previous generations had. A huge 9.1 earthquake in L.A. threatens to destroy the economy. A little over a month ago, an earthquake that large might have seemed like way-out-there fiction but it's certainly believable now.

The characters which include the president and other politicians, young adults, people in their eighties and nineties who are still leading productive lives and millionaires and billionaires, are all colorful characters. Brooks tells the story from all of their points of view, switching from one to the other throughout the book. It's about a lot more than just the aging population and will undoubtedly get you thinking.
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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nineteen Eighty-Four may have come and gone, but Orwell's chilling vision of the future made a lasting impact for decades. And the argument could be made that many of Orwell's visions came true: we have virtually no privacy these days, we are all slaves to our TVs, and Big Brother is most definitely watching.

In the same vein, Albert Brooks takes a look into the future of America, and produces a somber, yet highly plausible, outlook. The year is 2030, the first Jew has been elected to the U.S. presidency, the national debt has spiraled to insurmountable depths, and because cancer has been cured, the elderly are living longer, draining tax dollars and straining the health care system, which has created a civil war, of sorts, between the young and the "olds." And just when things could not possibly look more grim, a devastating earthquake rocks Los Angeles, reducing the city of angels to mere ash and dust. Oh, crap.

Not knowing which fire to put out first, Matthew Bernstein's presidency begins in the face of crisis -- a position in which no president wants to find themselves. Kathy Bernard, a young 20-something, and her father, Stewart, are faced with financial hardships, as Stewart has been forced to take low-paying jobs, after losing his job with GM. Dr. Sam Mueller is world famous for having cured cancer, but faces growing enemies in the younger generation, being vilified for extending life, the repercussions of which has caused the youth to shoulder the growing financial burden of the elderly.
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mix of fiction and political commentary April 5, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I chose 2030 because I have a certain fondness for dystopian tales, and at first blush, this one seemed to fit squarely in that genre. It didn't take long before I realized that the author was after something more with this book. Noted actor Albert Brooks spins a tale unlike any I've read in quite a while. There are no alien invaders, no massive planet shattering diasters, and no hideously corrupt government officials. The interesting thing is, it's the absence of these things that makes this novel more compelling. Sure, he takes some really huge leaps, but they're not really out of this world leaps. It's how the author skirts on the edge of believability that makes this such a compelling read.

I don't think I'm giving too much away when I say that while there aren't any planet busting disasters,there is a major earthquake involved. It serves as a catalyst to get some things moving and the author does a great job of moving the story along at a brisk pace. The actor's trademark humor is all over this book. I could often hear his voice telling me this story. Even the darkest moments were infused with humor and sardonic wit. He envelops the story with a level of cynicism that is sometimes at odds with events, but is always entertaining.

There are quite a few characters here, and some were more successful than others. They are a varied assortment, and the author does just enough character development to keep the reader invested in what's happening. He does a great job of juggling all their stories and bringing them all together to a resolution that while it doesn't tie everything up, did manage to leave me feeling pretty good about where things were going.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 23 days ago by richard elpi
4.0 out of 5 stars Los Angeles Leveled by Earthquake, Seniors Destroying the Fabric of...
This is the most believable and scariest novels I've read in quite some time. Albert Brooks not only comprehends the issues facing America today, he is also able to extrapolate... Read more
Published 1 month ago by T.M. Durham
2.0 out of 5 stars ... started out very interesting but turned very political and boring...
The story started out very interesting but turned very political and boring towards the middle.
Published 1 month ago by Lauren Strenski
5.0 out of 5 stars great read - thought provoking
Very timely approach to issues facing our society namely how younger people view their elders and vice versa. Can we continue to be respected as we get older?
Published 2 months ago by Harold B. Kless
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
A sobering fictional look at an America thrown into crisis by the extreme national debt and a major Los Angeles earthquake. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joe Da Rold
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 3 months ago by linda rose
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable and timely tale
A thoroughly enjoyable and timely tale with a forecast on the medical and sociological possibilities the future may hold in store for us.
Published 3 months ago by M. Irving
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes You Think
This is a spell binding book! Have you ever wondered what will happen in the future? This book addresses some of the issues that we as a country may face in the future although a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Linda F. Arline
4.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book
I really enjoyed this book. You can hear Albert Brooks wry sense of humor throughout. But the issues he brings up are worth exploring. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kris Sanderson
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a Better Writer
The concept is very good but the writing isn't that great.
Published 3 months ago by Hope This Helps
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More About the Author

ALBERT BROOKS is among the most inventive practitioners of motion picture comedy, as well as one of its most incisive commentators on contemporary life. Brooks began his career as a stand-up comic, and went on to become an award-winning actor, writer and filmmaker.

Brooks has written, directed and starred in seven feature films: Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost In America, Defending Your Life, Mother, The Muse and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.

Brooks made his acting debut in Martin Scorsese's 1976 classic, Taxi Driver. His other acting credits include such films as Private Benjamin, Unfaithfully Yours, I'll Do Anything, Critical Care, Out of Sight and My First Mister. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Broadcast News. Finding Nemo, which he starred in, received an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and has become one of the highest grossing animated films ever made.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brooks studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University before starting his performing career in 1968 doing stand-up comedy on network television. He began on The Steve Allen Show, later became a regular on The Dean Martin Show, and performed on such variety programs as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Hollywood Palace and had over forty appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

Brooks has recorded two comedy albums: Comedy Minus One and A Star is Bought, the latter earning him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Recording. His first directorial effort was in 1972 for the PBS series The Great American Dream Machine. He adapted an article he had written for Esquire Magazine, "Albert Brooks' Famous School for Comedians" into a short film. Following this, he created six short films for the debut season of Saturday Night Live.

Brooks has been honored by the American Film Institute with a retrospective of his work at the first U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen Colorado.

He is married to artist Kimberly Brooks and has two children.

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