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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  875 ratings  ·  95 reviews
In the not-so-distant future, economic inequality and persistent surveillance push Oakland to the brink of civil war.

Lilly Miyamoto is a passionate analog photographer striving to pursue an ever more distant dream. Huian Li is preeminent among the Silicon Valley elite as the founder and CEO of the pervasive tech giant Cumulus. Graham Chandler is a frustrated intelligence
Kindle Edition, 216 pages
Published May 5th 2016 (first published April 26th 2016)
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3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  875 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Tristan Sokol
May 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Reads as if the rough draft was written on a flight to LA and published on the return trip. I was initially very excited about the idea of a near future Bay Area dystopia, but character development was thin and the plot progression was so predictable and tired that I was glad it shot along at breakneck speeds. Sexual image is shoehorned in randomly, making this book great read for Bay Area moms to give to their sons with short attention spans who spend too much time on the computer.
Apr 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Social science fiction from Oakland. Huian is the ambitious young founder of an ominous technology company Cumulus that having acquired multiple startups, just about oversees every aspect of our near future, from Fleet transport to Security protections. Huian and her execs are in a state of constant power brokering trying to acquire new startups, maintain security and keep lawsuits at bay as Cumulus rises. But even as living has become far easier for the technologentsia thanks to Cumulus on-dema ...more
Kevin Kane
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As the designer behind all of Eliot Peper's books, from the Uncommon Series to the forthcoming Cumulus, I have had the immense pleasure of reading each of Eliot's books before their publication. It is a rare experience to see an author's work from conception to completion, but I have not grown tired of the process, especially with this author. Rarer still is the speed at which Eliot puts out great content. In two short years, I have designed more books for Eliot than I have for any other author, ...more
Shōkai Sinclair
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure, I know the author and I cohabitate with the editor. I loved the book, and I'm not a big contemporary fiction reader. Because there are so many characters and the story is so plot-driven, I had to reread the first few chapters to clearly understand the character relationships. But after that the story picked up pace a lot, and I was sucked into the strangely familiar world that Eliot created. I definitely recommend this book if Bay Area tech boom makes you sometimes feel icky.
Tac Anderson
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate enough to read an advance copy of Eliot Peper's new book, Cumulus. I enjoyed his first trilogy, but I loved Cumulus.

His new book is a near-future, pre-dystopia thriller that takes place in Oakland. Severe economic disparity and surveillance saturation push Oakland into a city-wide riot. It’s smartly written and race car ride of a read.

Highly recommended.
May 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
For fans of speculative fiction, the early 21st century has been both a triumph and a challenge: a triumph because our beloved genre has gained popularity and respect, and a challenge because sorting through the ever-increasing surfeit of new works can be paralyzing. It helps immensely when an enterprising author takes the time to identify and approach a prospective reviewer. When I received Eliot Peper’s inquiry about whether I’d be interested in reviewing his new novel, Cumulus, I breathed a s ...more
The Critiquing Chemist
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cumulus was a fast paced, futuristic novel that takes place in the California Bay region. Heavily focused on advances in technology, specifically surveillance, Peper creates a detailed, thought provoking look into the world that potentially awaits us in the near future. I would love to know Peper’s actual feelings and opinions with regard to our impending fate concerning the evolution of technology. Specifically, does he currently cover his phone’s camera with tape? Ever since reading this novel ...more
Lucas Carlson
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This haunting thriller stays with you long after you've read it. I received an advanced copy and really enjoyed it. Books like this help you think through concerns towards the moral problems that self-driving cars and technology present to our society today. Eliot does a really great job of not just telling a great story, but painting a haunting picture with words. Definitely read this book as soon as you get a chance, you won't regret it.
James Fewtrell
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another masterpiece from Eliot. Every time I pick up a book from Eliot I can't put it down. The Uncommon Stock series opened my eyes to a new world of tech thrillers. I really enjoyed Eliot's first book and his writing has got even better. It's only a matter of time...
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read the author's other books and have enjoyed them all. Cumulus, however, is my favorite. The first line of the book drew me in instantly. Cumulus has good intrigue and pace with a complex weave of storylines.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good book gives you a parallel universe you can live in for a little while. A world you step into for 20-30 minute blocks as your train chugs its way from one station to the next. Writers often set fiction books in abstract places, which heightens the escapism. With settings vague enough that they seem like they might be next door -- or in a world far, far away. Sometimes at the same time.

Cumulus isn't one of those books. It's set firmly in Oakland -- with a large proportion of it set in West
Jessica Strider
Oct 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Pros: plausible future, interesting characters, fast paced

Cons: ending

In the near future, Cumulus controls much of the world’s technology. It’s founder, Huian Li, wants to extend her company’s reach but is frustrated when an important acquisition falls through. Graham Chandler used to work for the Agency until its never ending bureaucracy drove him out. He’s spent the past few years working his way through the ranks of Cumulus and now he’s making himself indispensable to Huian. Soon she’ll be h
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: standalone
A few days ago, I watched the latest episode of HBO’s series VICE for which they interviewed Edward Snowden on the present state of privacy. Snowden’s response to the interview was that surveillance is more prevalent than ever, and that the government not only has the capability of listening in on our phone conversations, but also has the capability of knowing where we are located and where we go. Snowden also mentioned that the government’s mass collection of metadata is also ineffectual on the ...more
Thomas M
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
My first review on Goodreads, so let's hope that I do this right! Full disclosure: I bought this off of Apple iBooks.

Final Rating: 3.5 Stars
Recommendation: Buy It!

Lately I've been reading a good deal of articles about startup and tech culture recently. Dan Lyons' articles giving an inside look at Hubspot is one that stands out sharply. His concerns are that too many of these companies are caught up in the vision, so drunk on successes and high valuations that they never seem to realize very real
John Mueller
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In this book, I enjoyed Eliot's writing and that the topic was relevant and timely: privacy, transparency, and how governments and corporations treat "our" personal data.

With the Bay Area / San Francisco / Oakland as the backdrop, Eliot weaves a story into how society, corporations, governments, and individuals in those institutions can use information for good and for bad. Eliot combines ideas about individual privacy with corporations, society, and government to get the reader to think about w
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
More plausible than most

I often get pretty annoyed by day-after-next thrillers. They often are annoyingly unrealistic, or involve people acting in stupid ways to move the plot forward. Luckily l, this most doesn't do that, and when it does, is mostly forgivable.

Summary: definitely worth a read w/ some thoughtful points and likable characters in a squint a bit and it's pretty plausible setting.

Some thoughts (Spoilers ensue):
* one of the characters is a walking black swan who happens to tie everyt
Brian's Book Blog
Another perfectly written technothriller

5 out of 5 stars

Cumulus is a company on the brink of signing another much-needed acquisition to continue building up their massive brand. While this is happening, Lily, a wedding photographer with a dream of being a photojournalist finds out that one of her only friends has been murdered in cold blood. What follows is a story of the near-future where some people are safe and others are considered to be expendable. Well, expendable people don’t always go do
Bill Krieger
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I am biased toward books like Cumulus. I'm fascinated by stories that try to describe the impact of technology maybe 10 to 50 years out into the future. For me, it's an interesting mix of today plus tomorrow, and we're living it right now!

So, I like Peper's tech in the book. Cumulus is an omnipresent tech company. It's Google, basically. The surveillance setup described in the book is interesting and completely credible: drones, facial recognition, strong AI automation, global interactive databa
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The first draft of an interesting novel.
Apr 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
(Disclosure: Eliot's a friend and he sent me a pre-release copy of Cumulus.)

Really enjoyed this book from Eliot -- he takes the concept of "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and applies it to some present-day tech trends. Cumulus is a plausible (but fantastic) extrapolation of what the Bay Area could look like w/trends un-checked. Found myself nodding at several points at some obvious worst-case scenarios.

I like it when authors tease out a what-if scenario to see where things could go, and rea
Jul 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Cumulus is dystopian fiction set in a near future where class division, data tracking, and electronic surveillance have taken over the world. The story beautifully explores how technological changes have the potential to create and escalate social tensions. Progress always comes with birthing pains. History has shown that this happens and Peper imagined what changes contemporary tech might cause. The four main characters are mostly vehicles that let us see this world through four different persp ...more
Mars Dorian
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Gripping near future thriller about a futuristic Oakland which is divided into guarded Green Zones (for the rich) and slums for the rest. The community is run by Cumulus, a former startup that now has morphed into a mix between Facebook and a Super State and tries to make the world a better place (heh, don't they all?)

The author clearly focuses on characters and storytelling and leaves out the technical side. And even though the main character is an analogue photographer freelancer, the author s
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Get in pre-IPO!

This is the perfect summer read for 2016. A timely yet dystopian thriller which is hard to put down. Finished it across two sessions in the sun over the weekend, after picking it up based on tweet recommendations.

Like the Blue Ant books by William Gibson, it feels like the story is happening right now, even if some of the tech isn't really here yet. Or maybe it is, but just now evenly distributed...

Some of the bit characters could have been a bit more fleshed out or less typica
Sep 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A 4.5 review.

I'm a fan of dystopias but, unfortunately you can get some dodgy ones. I'm glad to say that Cumulus was a nice surprise ( My girlfriend gave it to me as a gift). It's basically a spy thriller set in an America where people are monitored by major companies and technology dominates all aspects of life.

There are a couple of plot twists, some gripping moments and although the ending is a bit corny, I enjoyed reading Cumulus. If you're a fan of Maxx Barry's novels or Ready Player One the
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Eliot Peper's new novel, Cumulus, a standalone story of the Bay Area in the not-so-distant future was a fabulous read.
I half expected a continuation of his trilogy but this was a brand new world he presents to us, with heroes, villains, insiders, and those who've opted out of the system.
I loved reading this great story and found myself excited, interested, and frightened (both for the characters and for our future).
This is Mr. Peper's best yet! He's found his voice and style and embraces it i
Denise Pursifull
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book!! A book where it's hard to distinguish the "good guys" from the "bad guys" and makes you feel the entire range of emotions on one hell of a roller coaster ride! I think this would make one great "nail biting" movie too! Eliot does a wonderful job of making you feel what the characters are feeling and never disappoints from beginning to end! His attention to detail helps make this book feel "real" and has you thinking about it days after you've finished reading it! You ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andy Parkes
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reading
I really enjoyed this. The near future vision of society using a variety of linked up technologies run by 'The Cloud' seems eerily plausible in the coming years.

It moved on a little too quickly for my liking. Could have spent a little more time adding some depth but it didn't stop me for enjoying it for what it was. A decent read in the techno-thriller (ish) genre
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A provocative imagining of Oakland and San Francisco in the near future. Long on ideas (technology, privacy, politics, etc.) but short on characterization. If you've read Peper's _Uncommon Stock_, look for a few Easter eggs referencing it.

For a much more comprehensive review I largely agree with:
Tim Verstraete
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Waawww, I read the review on Ars Technica and it spiked my interest. Really like the book ... I read it in about a day and although it is not a difficult story and you can see the ending midway, I liked the writing, the message and was consumed in the story = so a good read.
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Eliot Peper is the author of Bandwidth, Borderless, Breach, Cumulus, True Blue, Neon Fever Dream, and the Uncommon Series. He's helped build technology businesses, survived dengue fever, translated Virgil's Aeneid from the original Latin, worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence at a venture capital firm, and explored the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Mustang. His books have been praised by Popular S ...more
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“To risk sounding melodramatic, the story of Oakland is the story of America.” 1 likes
“They were simple, functional, and elegant in their utility. An illiterate mechanic in Mali could fix a Land Rover. The AK-47 was a blockbuster hit for the same reason. Unfortunately, these days, AK-47s were easier to find than vintage Land Rovers.” 0 likes
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