Today, I’m pleased to feature a client of mine who is writing some of the most thought-provoking fiction I’ve had the pleasure to work on. 2040 is the fourth book by Robert I’ve beta read, and it continues the journey begun in Her Dark Matter Necklace, as humanity struggles to find a place for art in an increasingly uncaring world. Technology has grown to an incredible place, but even with so many advancements, there are still things that can’t be replaced, a story Robert tells with a deft hand and fascinating angle. So without further ado, I present 2040.
In 2040, advanced technology has transformed daily life, yet many social ills remain.
At 40, Michael faces a choice: remain in Boston, tethered to uninspiring government programs, or forge a fresh path. Embracing the latter, he relocates to Berkeley to join his twin brother in his groundbreaking research into dark matter.
Could this elusive, intangible substance, rumored to permeate the universe, also reside within the human brain, holding the key to the mysteries of consciousness?
When an experiment goes awry, or perhaps ominously right, Michael undergoes an extraordinary transformation, emerging with newfound confidence, insatiable ambition, and an enigmatic edge. Enter Anni, a formidable Chinese power broker and trailblazer in the realm of artificial intelligence.
Amidst this backdrop, a catastrophic “sleeping sickness” sweeps across the globe, consuming the consciousness of its victims. Scientists make a chilling discovery; the origins are extraterrestrial.
Delving into themes of dark matter, artificial intelligence, and the new frontier of artificial intimacy, this novel offers a stark look at the challenges and wonders that may await us in the not-so-distant future.
Excerpt from 2040
Michael poured himself a cup of tea, then walked to the front door as the bell rang.
He opened the door and saw what he could have looked like if he was in better shape. Wendell was trim with piercing blue eyes in his chiseled bare face, without a hint of gray in his brown hair. He employed anti-aging treatments and rigorously adhered to a regime of healthy food and exercise.
“May I come in?”
“Of course. It’s your house too.” Michael stepped aside. “Tea?”
“Sure.” Wendell walked into the kitchen, grabbed a cup and tea bag from the cabinet, and then poured some hot water from the kettle on the stovetop. This home had few of the automated conveniences found in most modern homes. There wasn’t even a robot server. “We received a good offer for the house.”
“Enough to cover the mortgage?” Single-family house prices had plunged with the build-out of subsidized public housing and decline in population.
“Yup.” Wendell sniffed the steam above his cup, smiled, and then sipped his cinnamon flavored tea.
“I don’t want to sell.” Michael stared at the white kitchen tabletop, where he and his mom had shared a cup of tea each morning. They would discuss the local news, including the play of the Boston Red Sox, who they loved. He missed her.
“Mikey, Mom passed away two years ago. We need to move on.”
“I need more time.” His body stiffened as his breaths became rapid and shallow. He concentrated on his breathing. Inhale. One, two, three, four. Hold your breath. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Exhale. Eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen.
“Sorry,” Wendell said, after eyeing him for about a minute. “But I won’t delay this again.”
Michael repeated the breathing exercise. He wanted to argue, but knew it was a lost cause. Even though he was his mother’s favorite, Wendell was the executor of the estate. He could beg, but his brother would show no sympathy. He never had.
Bob Albo started writing speculative fiction in 2018 after working for twenty years in the technology industry and management consulting for twenty years. His first 3-book series is a fantasy sci-fi coming-of-age story about a teenager and was completed in 2022. His fourth book, 2040, came out in 2024.