Nathaniel Rich authored The Mayor's Tongue. His essays and short fiction have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, the New York Review of Books, McSweeney’s, and The New York Times Magazine. Born in New York City, he now lives in New Orleans.
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Odds Against Tomorrow: A Novel
In New York City in the near future, gifted young mathematician Mitchell Zukor is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. The business operates out of a cavernous office in the Empire State Building. Mitchell is employee number 2. He is asked to calculate worst-case scenarios in the most intricate detail, and his schemes are sold to corporations to indemnify them against any future disasters. This is the cutting edge of corporate irresponsibility, and business is booming.As Mitchell immerses himself in the mathematics of catastrophe—ecological collapse, global war, natural disasters—he becomes obsessed by a culture’s fears. Yet he also loses touch with his last connection to reality: Elsa Bruner, a friend with her own apocalyptic secret, who has started a commune in Maine. Then, just as Mitchell’s predictions reach a nightmarish crescendo, an actual worst-case scenario overtakes Manhattan. Mitchell realizes he is uniquely prepared to profit, but at what cost? At once an all-too-plausible literary thriller, an unexpected love story and a philosophically searching inquiry into the nature of fear, Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow poses the ultimate questions of imagination and civilization. The future is not quite what it used to be.
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