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Futureproof: A Novel Paperback – January 27, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Daniels's resolutely grim portrayal of the unclassified the oversimplified the target market the failing demographic early to mid-'90s first surfaced on Myspace and became something of a self-published hit. The loosely autobiographical narrative follows the tormented young Luke, a white kid with dreads who clings to a tattered copy of Black Boy throughout his passage from grungy teen to father of a very fragile, sick little boy. Saddled with a miserable home life, Luke attends Peckerbrook High and finds solace with Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, Nirvana freaks (who go into shock when Kurt Cobain kills himself), booze and drugs. He drops out and holds a series of dead-end jobs, gets high and prowls for girls, but manages, by the end, to learn how to live again. Though Daniels's prose often feels too self-satisfied, his characters' misanthropic adventures will speak to disenchanted youth. (Feb.)
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“Harrowing, gripping, starkly original.” (New York Press)

“Be the first on your block to glimpse the future of American fiction - if not the future of America. Lock the doors, load your guns, and let N. Frank Daniels take you straight to a hell you can believe in.” (Jerry Stahl, author of Permanent Midnight)

“He seems to share punkish DNA with the likes of Irvine Welsh, Paul Westerberg and Bret Easton Ellis” (Jay McInerney)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061656836
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061656835
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,743,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Blighted by a fractured family and a serious case of generalized hate, the directionless Gen-Xer, Luke, begins a seemingly inevitable descent into serious drug addiction against the background of the early 1990s ... "Futureproof" is a wild, unfocused mess of a novel that still manages to be compelling. It's far too long, structurally inept, filled with sketches instead of characters, too much preachy dialogue, gratuitous violence and dull sex - and yet there's an awesome energy here that just keeps pulling you in. That energy, I suspect, is the author's earnestness. His deep passion, his violent need to tell this tale, is palpable on every page. It's as though he's locked behind the wheel of the V8 T-Bird that is his burgeoning talent but he doesn't quite yet know how to drive: even when it's completely out of control, there's still something about the spectacle that makes you smile with appreciation. But a novel requires more than desire. There's a vast amount of coolheaded craftsmanship that goes into turning even the most amazing real or imagined experiences into a piece of literary art. Don't get me wrong. Daniels can write. There are flashes of the real thing here: the muzak-driven banality of Andie's abortion; Luke's sad motel liaison with Nadia; and the utterly perfect description of shooting up with heroin for the first time: "I am in love. I am alive and I am in love. I am home." (And he has the seed of a Pulitzer-winner in those "Andersonville" vignettes, but it would be a very different novel and would take an Updike, a DeLillo or a Roth to pull it off.) "Futureproof" ends much better than it starts - in the final third, when something's actually at stake, it's gripping and heartbreaking in equal measure.Read more ›
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What did I like best about this book? Well, I was reading Fieldy's book at the same time so it gave me a glimpse into the drug life that he skimmed over in his book. I confess that if both books hadn't been suggested to me I never would have read either of them as I don't really live that scene. I found Futureproof to be very interesting at the beginning, but as time wore on, it was less engaging. I was worn out by the time Luke starts talking about how being sent to a treatment facility is his groups Vietnam.

I thought it was interesting how you don't learn the main character's name until page eight - thus increasing the feeling that this could be anyone's life. There are some interesting pieces to this read. However it's difficult to know who to recommend it to, it's dated by the O.J. references so it should be someone over thirty but many of the over 30 crowd will loose patience with Luke. Overall I have to agree with a previous review - loose a couple of chapters and it will be a better book but it's not a bad read as is.
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Wayne kindly lent me his copy of Futureproof, by N. Frank Daniels (sorry Mr. Author, I know that's one less copy sold, but hey, if it's any consolation, this is one more positive review) and strongly recommended it. In fact, Wayne's recommendation is in the book itself in the testimonials.

But, to be honest, I wasn't expecting to like it. Wayne told me about how it's about a young guy's journey into the world of drugs, and the other reviews talk about the great style of the book, and frankly, it didn't sound like it would be my thing. Having followed the straight-and-narrow, role-playing-game-playing, computer-nerd path through adolescence and early adulthood, I just didn't think I would relate. And this "style" didn't sound inviting either. But Wayne liked it, and that was good enough to get me started.

As it turned out I did relate slightly. From Luke's experience of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and onward, I recognized a lot of cultural references that were contemporary with my own adolescence - even though I was on the other side of the world and on a nerd-trajectory to adulthood.

As it really turned out, however, none of this mattered. I didn't need to relate to anything in Luke's life. With his supremely economical, first person, mini-scene chapters Daniels lead me deeper into the life of Luke, as he seems to slide down into ever more serious drug addiction, than I could possibly have imagined.

Daniels sketches his story as if in a series of short, detailed stills in the margins of a notebook, then flicks it past us like a flicker-book. The effect left me at first wishing for more continuity between the chapters - more ongoing-story. But I was quickly hooked and I soon found that myself really needing to get to the next bite-sized chapter.
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Firstly, let me say I admire Frank Daniels and the way he beat the odds and the system and got the word out there about his autobiographical novel, Futureproof. In that he has made a success of a fine debut work, he's an inspiration and a rebel of the best sort! Way to go, Frank!

As for Futureproof itself, Frank Daniels has written a gritty but eloquently-told page-turner about an intelligent but perilously flawed young man growing up in 1990's Atlanta, and his descent into an out of control life fueled by hard-core drug use, promiscuity, and sensory inputs of the most destructive kind, including stints of self-mutilation.

As Daniels' main character, called Luke, though basically a stand-in for the author, tumbles from a respectable suburban public school (the chapter where he is involved in a play is deceptively hilarious) into a world in which the primary pursuit is the next high, readers are alternately dragged, coaxed and invited along through the back alleys of crack dealers and into parties where drugs are mixed, shared and swapped, and the threat of overdose, visited more than once in Futureproof, lies ever-present. As we read of Luke's tales of thefts undertaken to fund his habits, of odd jobs, including a stint as an extra on a broadcast miniseries, the sense of tragedy doubles and re-doubles as this obviously intelligent and perceptive youth sinks ever lower into a life so increasingly dreary that were it not based on stark reality, it might almost seem melodramatic. When in a remarkably depressing turn of events Luke finally reaches what seems life's absolute nadir---his drug-addicted infant son is taken into state custody---his circumstances seem to find a way even then for things to slide still painfully farther.
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