Two best friends create a computer that can see one year into the future. But what they can’t predict is how it will tear their friendship—and society—apart.
We’re excited to share the cover for The Future Is Yours, a science fiction thriller from author Dan Frey—publishing February 2021 with Del Rey. Check out the cover below, along with an excerpt of the first chapter!
Ben Boyce and Adhi Chaudry are outsiders struggling to find their place in Silicon Valley. But when Ben reads Adhi’s graduate dissertation about an obscure application for quantum computing, he has a vision of a revolutionary new technology: a computer that can see forward through time by communicating with its future self.
The two friends quit their jobs and team up to form a business, building a company that will deliver their groundbreaking device to consumers around the world. Rival tech giants try to steal their innovation, while government agencies attempt to bury it—but Ben and Adhi are helped by their own cutting-edge technology, staying a step ahead of the competition and responding to challenges before they arise.
As the tension mounts, Ben and Adhi’s friendship begins to fracture under the weight of ambition, jealousy, and greed. Most frightening of all, they discover the dark side of the machine they’ve created—the ways in which viewing the future sets them on a path toward unavoidable disaster of epic, apocalyptic proportions. Unless they can disrupt the technological system they’ve created, there won’t be any future at all.
Told through emails, texts, transcripts, and blog posts, this bleeding-edge tech thriller chronicles the social costs of innovation and asks how far you’d be willing to go to protect the ones you love—even from themselves.
From: Ben Boyce
To: Ben Boyce, Adhvan Chaudry
IT WORKS! Seriously. You did it.
This is so weird—I’m sending this on Feb 28, 2022, knowing that I’ll receive it (already DID receive it) on Feb 28, 2021. Pretty trippy, right?
So listen up, Past-Ben… First of all, high-five! You were right to believe this whole time—in yourself, in Adhi, in all of it. Your dream of becoming the first black CEO to launch a billion-dollar company is gonna come true… and I can say that with certainty, because for me, IT ALREADY DID.
And Adhi. Bro. You’re the brilliance that makes it possible. I always said you’d do something to change the world and I was right. It’s crazy—you’re sitting across the room as I write this, but I still remember your face the day you read it. Pick up your jaw and keep reading.
Now, I know you’re both about to flip out and start using the Prototype to look up everything you can, so lemme just save you a little suspense.
1: Stanford’s season is gonna be terrible, so just detach yourselves from that shitshow right away and save yourselves the heartache.
2: Stock tips-wise, yeah, of course, you COULD get into some foolproof investments today. But I promise you’ll be better off not mucking around with all that, cause the main thing you gotta do is invest in your motherfuckin SELVES.
I just wanna take this moment to say: everything is gonna be fine. The Prototype works (obviously). And whatever happens, don’t trip. Not about money or respect or prestige, any of it. Just pop that cork and enjoy the best shitty champagne of your life, I remember it well. From here on out—trust the process, enjoy the ride, and most of all, stick together.
Sincerely and eternally your friend,
Ben from the future
* * *
Excerpt from Transcript of Congressional Hearing
December 1, 2021
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): The Committees on the Judiciary and Commerce, Science, and Technology will come to order. We welcome everyone to today’s hearing on the new commercial venture known as “The Future,” and the potential legal, ethical, and policy ramifications of its technology.
Though not unprecedented, this hearing is a unique opportunity to anticipate and address serious social consequences of a new consumer technology. This legislative body has a history of playing distant catch-up to new innovation, as evidenced by last year’s hearings about social media and privacy issues. The hope is that we can be ahead of the curve—especially in light of the recent whistleblower leak, which seems to suggest that this technology may pose an existential threat to our nation and our people.
BOYCE: Mr. Chairman, I object to characterizing it as—
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): You have not been invited to speak yet, Mr. Boyce. And regardless of your objections, we have seen data, from your own company, which many reputable scientists interpret to mean that we are on a course toward the obliteration of civilization as we know it, on a time horizon of less than two years. Now if that’s not an existential threat—
BOYCE: I just think it’s irresponsible to call it that, without proper consideration of all the factors.
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): Do not lecture me on irresponsible, Mr. Boyce. And if you will not adhere to parliamentary rules of decorum, you will be charged with Contempt. Understood?
BOYCE: … Understood.
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): Good. Now, the members of this body have called two witnesses, the founders of the company called The Future: Mr. Benjamin Boyce and Mr. Adhvan Chaudry. However, let the record show, at the time of this hearing, only Mr. Boyce has appeared before the committee. Mr. Boyce, can you answer for the absence of your colleague?
BOYCE: No I cannot. And I’m worried. If Adhi’s not here, clearly something is wrong, and it would be best if we can adjourn for now.
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore.): This is not a meeting held at your convenience. You are answering a subpoena before 44 members of Congress. Since one of you has failed to appear, a warrant will be issued for the arrest of Mr. Chaudry, and he will be charged with Contempt of Congress. Now, if you wish to avoid similar charges, are you prepared to proceed with the hearing?
BOYCE: …Yes sir. I would just like the record to reflect my request for postponement.
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore.): Duly noted, and we can all hope that at some point today, your co-founder will deign to join us. He is certainly earning his reputation for intellectual hubris.
BOYCE: I just want to point out, it’s not really hubris if it’s earned, is it? No offense or anything, but Adhi is smarter than anyone in this room.
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): That may be the case, Mr. Boyce. But this body is convened because trusting people who are ostensibly “smarter” has gotten us in quite a bit of trouble in the past. No doubt the data scientists at Cambridge Analytica were very proud of their intelligence, as were the eugenicists of a century ago.
BOYCE: Come on, is that really a fair comparison?
SEN. GREG WALDEN (D-Ore): We are dealing with a technology that apparently has the potential to end the world as we know it. So excuse me if my comparisons offend, but it is well worth discussing how Mr. Chaudry’s intelligence has created problems in the past.
* * *
Adhvan Chaudry’s College Admissions Essay
Submitted January 12, 2012 to Stanford University
Education is bullshit.
I know it may be ill-advised to say so in this particular forum, but I hope that Stanford recognizes rigor and rewards honesty. Allow me to explain how I reached this particular conclusion.
My parents came to this country shortly before I was born. They were seeking to escape the caste system of India. It had been formally abolished in 1950, but was, for practical purposes, still firmly in place 20 years ago. Since my parents were Shudras (poor laborers), they never had any hope of becoming Rajanyas (rich merchants). But they believed in America they could.
When they arrived in San Francisco, they tried their best. But they were frustrated to discover it is just as impossible to move up in the world here. Not only that, they learned that the Indian system had been preferable in a way—because no Shudra is ever made to feel guilty about being poor. It is their lot in life. But in America, poverty equates to failure. It is a source of deep and abiding shame.
So they pinned their hopes on me. They sacrificed and worked long hours. They instilled the value of hard work in the hope that I would go to a great college and win for myself a job better than either of them had the privilege of having. They saw education as the way out.
However, from my experience in the academic world so far, I have seen that it is all a facade. A rigged game. A system of smoke and mirrors, to separate the wheat from the chaff, and perpetuate an oligarchic system that rewards privilege generation after generation, just as much as the caste system did. At the “prestigious” prep school that I attend (on a full academic scholarship), the vast majority of my fellow students are from wealthy families. And cheating is rampant among my peers. Most parents are complicit in a system that values perfect grades, test scores, and a robust resume of activities… but does not give a damn about integrity.
We are admonished to be scholars and gentlemen “at all times,” and students are threatened with expulsion for their conduct on the weekend. Of course, when our school president’s son (one of my classmates) got so drunk at a school basketball game that he stumbled onto the court and vomited on the foul line, he was merely given detention, and the incident was swept under the rug.
With all this said, you are probably wondering—does this kid even want to attend Stanford? And the answer for me is unequivocally yes.
I know that my low opinion of education will always sound like an excuse, unless it is backed up with experience. I know my earning potential will be bolstered by the diplomas, even if they don’t mean a thing. I intend to get the best schooling I can get, all the way through a PhD, so I can assert with utter confidence that education, top to bottom, is total fucking bullshit.
* * *
Excerpt from Congressional Hearing
SEN. CORINNE SOTHEBY (R-Neb.): Mr. Boyce, I’d like to discuss the origins of your connection to Mr. Chaudry. I understand that you met at university.
BOYCE: Yeah, that’s right. Freshman year. Well, Adhi was actually a year older than everyone, but he still had to come in as a freshman. He’d been rejected by Stanford his first time applying, believe it or not. Even though he had perfect grades, SAT’s, all of it, they turned him down. Because of his essay, supposedly. Which really just means, he didn’t know how to play the game, how to tell people what they want to hear.
So he did a year at a junior college, somewhere in the East Bay, and then he applied again. And since he was out there publishing math papers as a freshman at a J.C., Stanford saw they’d missed out on something, and they let him in the next fall. He was not happy about having to take all his core requirements again, or being a year older than everyone else. But under all the bitching, I could tell, he was happy to be at Stanford. And so was I.
That’s when we met. Randomly assigned to the same dorm. And right away, first day, we hit it off.
SEN. CORINNE SOTHEBY (R-Neb.): Were you immediately interested in a professional partnership with Mr. Chaudry?
BOYCE: When I was eighteen? I wasn’t interested in professional anything.
SEN. CORINNE SOTHEBY (R-Neb.): It’s just, the two of you seem like rather unlikely friends.
BOYCE: You never been friends with anyone different than you? Personally, I liked that Adhi was quiet. These days we’d probably say, “on the spectrum.” Which is why he’d never really connected with anyone before.
But I liked him right away. Even though not everybody saw it, I thought he was funny as hell. Since he wasn’t really the talkative type, we’d be at our computers, same dorm room, chatting over IM for hours while we were supposed to be studying, and I would just lose my shit cracking up.
What I’m trying to say is, we might’ve been different on the surface, but we were in the same boat at Stanford. Neither of us fit in. I wasn’t as smart as all the other super-achievers around us… and Adhi, to be honest, he was smarter. Smarter than the other students, smarter than the teachers. Too smart for his own good, sometimes.
It was us against the world. I helped him meet people, he helped me with my homework. Six months in, we were best friends.
SEN. CORINNE SOTHEBY (R-Neb.): That’s very sweet. But it’s also when the trouble started, isn’t it? Even early on in your college career, you two seem to have developed an attitude that the rules did not apply to you. Would you care to elaborate on that?
BOYCE: You’re bringing up, what, the library thing? I don’t see what that’s got to do with any of this.
* * *
5/4/2014, 8:16 PM
Benjamin Boyce: YO! Where r u bro
Adhvan Chaudry: Library
Art history final tmrw
Benjamin Boyce:Laaaaame. Come back.
Picked up Nattys.
U gonna make me drink n Halo by myself?
Adhvan Chaudry: I’m srsly gonna fail this class if I don’t learn all of it tonite
I took art history last year
But these snobs won’t count any of my transfer credits
Which, lets be honest, is bc I didn’t pay a Stanford premium for them
Benjamin Boyce: Dude lets be honest, neither of us actually payin tuition here
Adhvan Chaudry: It’s the principle that counts.
Benjamin Boyce: Come on back bro
I have world myth final tmrw, don’t see me stressin
Adhvan Chaudry: Not all of us can get by on charm
Benjamin Boyce: Hey I bet we could both get out of our finals if the library floods
Adhvan Chaudry: Haven’t checked the weather but seems highly unlikely
Benjamin Boyce: Dr. Dark could make it flood tho
I bet Dr. Dark controls the weather
Adhvan Chaudry: Hahaha yes.
And there’s nothing his nemesis Benny-Boy could do to stop it.
Benjamin Boyce: Benny-Boy would join forces w him for that one
Adhvan Chaudry: Actually… I think I could manage a flood in the library.
Or at least, a storm.
If called upon.
Benjamin Boyce: Uh, consider yourself called upon then.
U serious? That would be so fuckin sick.
Adhvan Chaudry: Worth a shot.
Meet me up on the 2nd floor
Benjamin Boyce: Bro if this gonna work I’m gonna get the word out…
* * *
Sourced from Stanford University Student Records
Student Disciplinary Board
Student: Adhvan Chaudry
Major: Computer Science
Standing: Sophomore (Transfer)
Time: May 4, 2014. 11:20 PM.
Location: Wilkes Library, 2nd floor stacks.
Nature of Offense: Student unlawfully gained computer access to building’s system controls and set off fire-control sprinkler systems in the library.
Actions were clearly premeditated, and plans had been publicly shared, as students were present in the Library with bathing suits and water guns.
Damage to property is estimated in excess of $50,000 due to water damage to facilities and books.
Action also resulted in two students being treated at the Health Center as a result of falls sustained due to water present on tile floor.
University also incurred liability damage due to arrival of the Fire Department. Damage to systems and necessary investigation and patching of online systems vulnerabilities estimated at $12,000.
Actions were also disruptive to other students who were studying in the library during Finals Week.
Damage also incurred to University’s reputation and good public standing, due to news coverage and Internet circulation of “Library Water Party” videos.
Student Disciplinary History: This is the second time Student has been caught illegally breaching University computer protocol. First offense involved the projection of lewd messages on stadium scoreboard during Stanford-UCLA football game in Fall 2013.
Recommended Action: Due to the severity of the Damage, the repeat nature of the offense, and the brazenly illegal nature of the crime, SSDB unanimously recommends Expulsion, effective end of this Semester.
* * *
Letter — Sent May 13, 2014
Esteemed Members of the Student Disciplinary Board,
I am writing to you in regard to Adhvan Chaudry, or as I have come to know him, Adhi. Adhi was brought before the Disciplinary Board for his role in the prank that took place in the library last week, and he’s looking at potentially getting expelled from this University.
First, I want a chance to speak to Adhi’s character. I have firsthand knowledge of it due to the fact that I share a dorm room with him—and as you all may hopefully remember, there are few secrets between two guys living in a 10 by 20 foot room.
Adhi is a man of great moral principle. He is totally uncompromising in living by values he believes in. Everybody on our dorm floor recognizes that while he might not be the most outgoing guy around, he’s helpful to almost all of us. People even call him “I.T.” because he’s been so generous in troubleshooting technical problems for everyone.
Even more than that, Adhi is a great friend. The transition to college has been exciting for me; I honestly never wanted anything more than to come to Stanford. Adhi has helped me keep some perspective. He and I took Philosophy together this semester for one of our core reqs, and he helped me study. I have ADHD and dyslexia, so it’s not easy for me academically here. Adhi has been a patient tutor, but also never helped me in any way that might possibly verge on cheating, because he is a man of integrity. I will have to find some new person to proofread this letter, because Adhi has always been the one to do it for me, and never asked anything in return.
Now, with regard to the prank Adhi is being disciplined for, I know it was a mistake. He never anticipated the level of damage it would cause. And I can say that with total certainty because I was part of it too. To be honest, the whole thing was my idea. I pretty much talked Adhi into it.
Now I’m aware that by disclosing this, I am setting myself up to be punished along with Adhi, and yes even potentially be expelled with him from this school that I love so much. As the first member of my family to attend a university, I do not take that lightly, and I know that my mother (who passed away last year) would be immensely saddened to see me go.
But she would also be proud of me for doing what is right in this situation. And it is only fair that I be treated in the same way as Adhi. So I would like to leave you with this quote by Aristotle from the Nicomachean Ethics:
Between friends there is no need for justice, but people who are just still need the quality of friendship; and indeed friendliness is considered to be justice in the fullest sense.
I hope you will find it in your hearts to do what is just and allow me and Adhi to stay on at this beautiful University.
* * *
EMAIL — May 22, 2014
From: [email protected]
To: Adhvan Chaudry
On behalf of the Stanford Disciplinary Board, I am writing to inform you of the outcome of the Hearing regarding your conduct on 5/4/14, with regard to the damages incurred to Wilkes Library.
The SDB has determined that you will be placed on Disciplinary Probation for a period of at least 1 year. That means that if you are involved in any other disciplinary incident, you will be expelled from the University.
Additionally, you will be assigned a Behavioral Counselor, whom you will meet with a minimum of sixteen times per semester. Your continued enrollment will be contingent on clearance from your Behavioral Counselor.
Vice President of Student Affairs
* * *
From: Adhvan Chaudry
To: Ben Boyce
Just got word from the bigwigs…
No expulsion. Fuck yeah.
See ya in the fall after all.
I can’t really express how
The way that you stuck your neck out
Dude that was above and beyond, I
The foregoing Draft was composed May 22, 2014, but never sent.
* * *
EMAIL — May 23, 2014
From: [email protected]
To: Adhvan Chaudry
Welcome to the Tumblr community! Thank you for registering your new page: The Black Hole: Musings of an Anonymous Sci-Fi Superfan
As a member, you are expected to abide by all terms and conditions of our User Agreement. All material that you post to your new blog is represented to be your own intellectual property, and is subject to takedown in the event that it violates any of our community standards or guidelines surrounding IP.
* * *
Tumblr Blog Post — May 23, 2014
The Black Hole — Musings of an Anonymous Sci-Fi Superfan
“The Head and the Heart”
The greatest love story of our time is not between a man and a woman
or even between two people at all.
It is between a human and a Vulcan.
The brash emotional Kirk, and the stoic, logical Spock.
Kirk has always been seen as the main character of course.
The swashbuckling Captain, the fearless leader.
But Spock is the more compelling character.
For Spock, it is initially painful to find himself on the Enterprise.
He doesn’t fit in.
His logic and intelligence make him anomalous. Even threatening.
Kirk recognizes his value, but cannot understand him.
Yet over time, Kirk sees that Spock’s way of being is not a lack of feeling.
It is merely a necessary compartmentalization.
The Vulcan feels deeply…
but his feelings are not allowed to make his decisions.
They balance each other out.
They get each other’s backs and save each other’s lives, time and again.
Gene Roddenberry sought to make a show about ideas,
but it is the emotional bond between those two that has made it last.
When it comes to the films, “Wrath of Khan” is undeniably the best.
The martyrdom of Spock, when he dies for Kirk and crew, is touching.
But “Search for Spock” is the one that cuts the deepest.
When Kirk risks his Captainship to rescue his First Officer—
when we see that the love between them transcends rank and duty—
when even death cannot break their bond,
and the reborn Spock, cleansed of his memory,
nevertheless recognizes his old friend, and says “You are… Jim,”
even the most hardened Vulcan heart swells with joy.
* * *
Excerpt from Congressional Hearing
SEN. BOB HOLDER (R-Ariz.): I’m sure it felt very noble, to stick up for him like that. But the incident with the “library party” was brought up to help paint a picture, for the Committee, of the nature of your relationship.
BOYCE: We were friends. Adhi would’ve done the same for me.
SEN. BOB HOLDER (R-Ariz.): That is certainly one way to view it. Another is that Mr. Chaudry carried out a publicly-damaging use of technology, while you sheltered him from the consequences. That pattern of behavior seems to be very much in line with what has happened with your company.
BOYCE: Is there a question in there that I’m missing?
SEN. BOB HOLDER (R-Ariz.): I’m trying to illuminate the nature of your partnership—especially in light of the fact that you were both lawfully summoned before this committee, yet you are the only one who appeared.
BOYCE: I wish Adhi were here too. But he’s not. And I honestly don’t know why. I haven’t heard from him in a couple days.
SEN. BOB HOLDER (R-Ariz.): You’re saying, Mr. Chaudry has… what, disappeared? Should we be alarmed?
BOYCE: Look, he does stuff like this sometimes. He gets in his head, and… Adhi’s just not really made for the real world, you know? People like him thrive in a controlled environment, like school. By the time we graduated, I was eager to get out, but Adhi went straight into the grad program. And that’s where he started cooking up the ideas that led us here.
SEN. BOB HOLDER (R-Ariz.): So an antisocial introvert doing everything in his power to avoid the world… may have created a technology that will end up destroying it? Interesting. I have no further questions.