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August 19, 2019

The Warehouse by Rob Hart ~ a Review

by MK French

The Cloud is the biggest employer in the United States, with large complexes of housing, warehouses, and areas for entertainment for the employees. Paxton applied to work and live in one MotherCloud campus when his business failed due to Cloud's cheaper pricing, and Zinnia is there as a corporate spy. Cloud's creator is sure he can make the world a better place, but at what cost?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2019; Crown; 978-1984823793
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); technothriller
The irony of linking this novel to Amazon is not lost on me. Cloud tracks its employees with a CloudBand, which monitors location, biometrics, directs employees where they need to go in the facility, serves as ID and wallet, and as an entry point to various places within the MotherCloud. Deliveries are made via drones so that people don't even need to leave their homes anymore. Cloud is a conglomerate that has taken over multiple small businesses, the FAA, has its own information network and blogging platforms, and has driven some small towns to become ghost towns. Every employee is rated on a five-star metric, with bonuses and Cut Day dependent on those ratings. Employees have to hustle constantly throughout their shifts and scramble for even the smallest scraps of recognition in a system guaranteed to grind them down.

Sound familiar? It should, and that's the point.

Perspective is everything, and we have perspectives not only of the employees but of the creator of Cloud himself via blog posts scattered throughout the novel. He presents himself as someone who values hard work, who is striving to do good in the world, that just wants to see everyone with a job that pays well, a place to live, and the ability to have leisure time and the day to day things that make life feel livable. Beneath this glittering surface is the reality for the workers that make it happen. While there are supposed to be safety measures and protections, those are ignored because they impede productivity quotas. Harassment and drug use is overlooked if quotas are met and it will mean paperwork and incident reports aren't filled out. Humanity is ground down in situations like this, and it's brilliantly shown in sections that reflect the banal day to day activities that Paxton and Zinnia go through.

While there are some unanswered questions left at the end regarding the characters' future, that isn't the point of this novel. Like all good speculative fiction, it's meant to make you think and question the status quo. Is this the future we want to see? It's not that far off from our present, so that's a question we should all ponder.

Buy The Warehouse at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever. 

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  1. This is a recap, not a review. What were your actual thoughts on this book?

  2. The first paragraph is my summary of the book, and a little of the next paragraph. My thoughts are woven into the rest of it, because I think this is very well done, with questions about what the "right" way to do things are. I don't add my speculation because I don't want to spoil the ending of the book, and the point of speculative fiction is to draw your own conclusions for the future. :)