When The End of FUN begins, Aaron O’Faolin is applying to terminate his contract. It is not an easy process and to do so, he has to provide his user history. That history, to our delight, is this book, the first from Sean McGinty, the first of what I hope will be a long bibliography full of more satiric novels that anticipate our near future with scarily reasonable and likely scenarios.

Aaron just wanted to have FUN®. That’s Fully Ubiquitous Neuralnet to be precise. He was in a bad place, recently expelled from school and sent to attend YouThrive® Academy while living with his mother who, it turns out, refused to let him stay with her. He settled into a HumanHive® sub-SRO in San Francisco and tried his luck at pan-handling, but with all digital amores replacing paper dollars, pan-handling was a bygone occupation. Instead, he signed up as a beta user of FUN, and soon was making a “living” with his frequent YAY!s for this, that, and the other registered brand name.

He goes to Parties™ to meet with other users and add to his YAY!s because he fell behind, playing too many games, neglecting his YAY!s and generally ringing up a big debt to FUN. And then he is called home to bury his grandfather. He’s worried that his dad and his sister Evelyn will discover that he was not in school, has been living off his tuition money, and generally not moving on with his life.

He goes home, discovers his granddad left him his house, his land, and everything on it, including a treasure and a lot of clues for him to unravel in order to find it. Along the way, he reconnects with old friends, meets new ones, falls in love, and has a lot of adventures. All the time he is living life, he is still having FUN, but sometimes the FUN interferes.

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I love The End of FUN. It is in a near future so easily traceable to the trends that are driving our present, our ever-increasing connectedness, the commodification of our time and attention. There are shifts in the world, too, the digitized economy, and even the Avis Mortem. After all, we are witnessing the honeybee collapse and shrugging. It’s likely in the future that mass extinction of the birds will be glossed over and accepted as the cost of doing business, as we have for the bees.

Sean McGinty is a naturalistic writer. This first person narrative feels completely authentic in it’s 17 year old voice. This is a Young Adult novel and I am no longer a young adult, but no matter, young adult novels are where some of the most interesting experimentation is happening. Each chapter asks you to BOO! or YAY! at the end. I am sure most of you will YAY!

 

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