By Author / Illustrator
Sebastian de Souza
Paperback / softback
London. The year 2078. Like all other major cities, London is a silent wasteland, abandoned and crumbling, populated only by the renegade 'Offliner' movement, the lawless 'Seekers' and other minorities that rejected The Upload in 2060. As a result, these rebels live off the grid and in abject poverty, taking shelter in makeshift shanty towns and hideouts. The Offliners have made the disused Piccadilly Circus Tube station their home: a fully self-sufficient, subterranean community of about 500 people, known as the 'Cell'.
In 2060, following a series of deadly pandemics, devastating environmental disasters and a violent surge in cyber terrorism, the UN made it compulsory for every tax paying citizen in all of its 193 united nations to login to the Perspecta Universe: a virtual reality universe provided by the tech giant Gnosys Inc. So began a period of history known as The Upload. Totally safe, pollution free, environmentally friendly: what was an alternative reality at first has become the only reality. Now, in 2078, billions of people all around the world exist in dedicated Hab-Belts - massive dormitory complexes surrounding the major cities - unconscious of the world around them: living, working, loving, learning, inside the Perspecta Universe.
KID - A History of The Future follows Josh 'Kid' Jones, a young Offliner who discovers that an antiquated piece of technology called an 'iPhone', left to him by his father, seemingly allows him to communicate with the past through social media. He strikes up a friendship with Isabel Parry, a 16 year old in 2021, and the two begin communicating through time and space via Instagram. In doing so they are not only changing their own fate, but also the fate of the rest of the world.
Kid is a debut novel, the first in a trilogy and 614 pages long however, it didn't take me too long to get to the end as it's an engaging, well planned out and written plot with likeable, funny and relatable characters.
Joshua Jones - or 'Kid' as he's known - is an Offliner who lives in the Piccadilly Circus tube station, London, in 2078. The world has changed dramatically from how we know it due to further pandemics, floods and other environment disasters. These events caused the UN to make it compulsory for everyone to 'plug into' the Perspecta Universe. People no longer have to leave home, they lead their lives logged into a virtual reality world! (Think the Matrix here.)
Offliners are people that have refused to do this, they are classed as a renegade movement that live in a crumbling London that has now been abandoned. Offliners live in poverty, but they have formed a Cell that support each other as they live a self sufficient life in and around London's many streets. Kid has been in the Cell since he was four years old. This is where his mother died, these people are his family.
After a discussion with his Aunt Leo, Kid revisits his past by looking through the items that his mom left him. He come across an iPhone, he charges it up and this is where his life takes on a dramatic change... Isabel Parry 'izzy' lives in our current world of 2021, during lockdown in the recent pandemic she watches a strangely dressed boy playing his piano on Insta and makes a connection... into the future! This is impossible, he's sending me up, or is he? Kid wants to change the past to alter the future, can this be achieved? What will the consequences be? Will Izzy believe him and help?
This book, which is aimed at 13+ readers, has many themes that include, time travel, environment issues, technology issues, trust, family and friendship. Which would make it very suitable for book clubs due to the many discussion points the plot raises. However, the size of the book for many readers will be a put off as it did me at first (and I'm an adult reader!) but as you get into the story, with the clever use of text language and direct messaging pages, you get through it very quickly. I also liked the way the author added music references and the descriptions of London giving the reader links, making it more engaging.
There are two hand drawn maps at the beginning of the book and a glossary of tech words at the back which are useful. I will just add a sensitivity warning here... Some readers may take this story to heart due to the pandemic we are all currently in and how our climate is changing, which may make it not suitable for all readers.
Kid is a thought provoking story and I look forward to the next book in this trilogy to see where the author takes it.
624 pages / Ages 13+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 14+