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Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  53 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The future is big right now—for perhaps the first time, our society is more focused on what is going to happen in the future than what is happening right now. In Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future, cultural critic and indie entrepreneur Hal Niedzviecki asks how and when we started believing we could and should “create the future.” What is it like to live in a soc ...more
Paperback, 317 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Seven Stories Press (first published October 13th 2015)
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Dec 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
As hinted at by the subtitle, Trees On Mars is essentially a critique of what Niedzviecki perceives as a western cultural obsession with “the future”. He begins in Part 1 by noting and exploring various cultural phenomena: the prominence of buzzwords like “innovation” and “disruption”, “creating the future”, “owning the future”; shifts in educational priorities towards solving “real-world” problems (STEM vs humanities), and in the way that education is marketed (e.g. “digital humanities”); the c ...more
John Brooke
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra

This was a well researched, documented and depressing read into the many faceted gem stone we humans have built for ourselves. Polished and glistening with reflected promises of robotics and artificial intelligence. Of course there are tragic flaws in this man made perfect jewel. Shades of big brother lurk in it's Orwellian luster, and shadows of Brave New World echo from the dystopian depths of what we humans have wrought. We have become just ano
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
3 1/4 stars. Good story, good message, even if not very well focused. Investigates all the facets and consequences of a constantly future oriented mentality. Ending is very good. I would suggest to people that they only read the last chapter of the book as a stand alone.
Zoë S. Roy
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Trees on Mars: Our Obsession with the FutureTrees on Mars: Our Obsession with the Future by Hal Niedzviecki is an invaluable book that explores the pop culture of chasing tomorrow. The book reminded the reader of Alvin Toffler’s The Third Wave at first glance. Based on many social surveys, interviews of people from all walks of life, and tremendous research, the author has provided the reader with facts and provoking thoughts on technology and the future. Many unique points have been made and ca ...more
Eugene Miya
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
To be honest, I've only skimmed this book at City Lights prior to an author event I heard about (the day of) on KALW (the 2nd local PBS radio). I debate asking "Publicity" at Seven Stores Press for a review copy.

The subtitle says it all: many English speaking Americans are obsessed with the future. Why? The author can't quite bring himself to say that they want to improve their lot (their fortunes). Mars comes from Elon Musk's desire to go to Mars using his Space X work. And the crowd at City Li
Mark Valentine
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
How we think about the future is contained in the past. If our culture shapes us, it does so by reaching into the future and showing us the new present. Criticizing the future becomes illusive unless, like Niedzviecki, one can also know the present and the past--look, it's all about choices.

In the end, Niedzviecki presents three choices: a) technology will save us; b) prep for the survival because a new anarchism lurks; or c) find the meaning. Find the meaning in both of the first options and m
Gavin Esdale
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
In summation: I liked it. It is well-researched and mostly well-written. The author has clearly thought his points through and presents them coherently.
This book will make you think.
It will most likely not make you optimistic.
I recommend it. If not for the technological and future-idealist-insights, then only for the blunt, and frankly fairly harsh-but-necessary reality check that it provides.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
A nuanced but gloomy look at the fundamental problems underpinning technology and futurism. The author makes many interesting points, but falls back a little too often on cherrypicked examples and proof by assertion. Nevertheless, a stimulating and provocative read, backed by extensive research and interviews. The irony that I read this on my Kindle was not lost on me. Bring on the Singularity!
Gary Itano
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gary by:
Shelves: ecology, history, thought
15b23 @#@ GaryNull_Hal Niedzviecki deconstructs illusions of high tech & fads, publishes Broken Pencil, 'The Peep Diaries,' 'Trees on Mars- Our Obsession with the Future'
Jan 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Felt this could've been better covered by a long form blog post. Too much spoon-feeding.
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Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, culture commentator and editor whose work challenges
preconceptions and confronts readers with the offenses of everyday life. Hal works in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. He is the author
of books including, in fiction, the novel Ditch, and his latest novel The Program. In nonfiction, his most recent work is The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning To Love Watching O
“Kids growing up in today’s generation are constantly documenting their experience. It’s different—how does that change their sense of self when everything becomes a story that you are telling?” 0 likes
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