James P. Othmer – The Futurist

The Futurist (2006) by James P. Othmer tells about an activity that I did not know one could make a successful full time job of. The Futurist, despite its title, is very much a contemporary novel while each chapter contains a summary of past details of the main character’s life. It is actually quite contemporary because it sets actions, settings and behavior within the specific timeframe the story takes place. Only six years old, certain aspects already feel outdated, although one could argue it depicts the vibe and character of the time it is set in so that decades from now the reader will have a good picture of those times.

The narrative of the story follows the titular futurist, which provides a nice focus, as the reader mainly knows what he does, although Othmer does give away some slips now and then to heighten the tension and anticipation of the reader. The main character is a peculiar person who had led an unusual life. It’s rather impossible to identify with him, so the only thing the reader can do is enjoy the quirks and enjoy the exploration of the main character’s life. One could draw an analogy with Forrest Gump, although the futurist is rather an opposite. So he is amusing while also somewhat sad.

The plot itself develops quickly as the main character encounters a wide range of characters and strange situations. The situations provide memorable scenes which echo the style of Tarantino and co. where the conversations are a-typical and the expected scenes develop differently then what you might expect. These scenes are certainly funny and quite entertaining. Although I was not laughing, I found myself grinning often.

The story revolves around the futurist undergoing a change and the question if this is a greater change or not. Othmer adds in a few thriller elements to spicy it up and put some real pressure on the main character. In between Othmer adds in a greater message for the reader. To me that message was of lesser interest as I have read similar messages before. Other readers might be enlightened by the insights he provides.

The Futurist is quite entertaining and a quick read. I enjoyed it much and would not have minded it lasting longer. It is fairly well balanced and easily accessible as there are many ways to view the story. Recommended.


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