Read an extract from The Future by Naomi Alderman

Read an extract from The Future by Naomi Alderman红杉在发抖,十一月的树叶即将落下,一切都必须过去,因为她一直在提醒他。All things were not going to pass fro


On the day the world ended, Lenk Sketlish – CEO and founder of the Fantail social network – sat at dawn beneath the redwoods in a designated location of natural beauty and attempted to inhale from his navel.

在世界末日的那天,Fantail社交网络的首席执行官兼创始人Lenk Sketlish在黎明时分坐在指定的自然美景地点的红木下,试图从肚脐吸气。

Read an extract from The Future by Naomi Alderman

The tops of the mountains in the distance were capped with snow, their curves and crevasses kindling the imagination. The trees near at hand were russet on fawn, grey-green on sage. The redwood trunks were solid, corded, patterned like twisted vines, their surfaces soft with mosses and growing grass; tiny insects whirred through the dense mass.


The sky was the pale water-washed blue of the late autumn, mottled cloud visible through the spiral-set branches. And yet.


The meditation teacher had a nose whistle.

Each time she took yet another “deep belly breath”, the whine cut through the gentle whisper of the redwoods like a chain saw. She must hear it. She surely heard it. She did not seem to hear it. The redwoods shivered, the November leaves were about to drop, and all things must pass, as she could not cease reminding him.


All things were not going to pass from Lenk Sketlish if he had anything to do with it.

“Let your belly be soft as you inhale,” the teacher said. Her tongue lingered on the double l in “belly,” as if she were Italian. She wasn’t Italian. Lenk had asked Martha Einkorn, his executive assistant, to check after the first day. The meditation instructor came from Wisconsin, the home of squeaky cheese. She kept saying “belly”. He should hold light in his belly, feel the warmth in his belly, crawl inside his own belly, and dwell forever in her adenoidal whine and her infinitely elongated l. What was growing inside Lenk Sketlish’s belly was an acidic roiling, churning wrath.

如果与Lenk Sketlish有任何关系的话,他不会放过所有的事情。

老师说:“吸气时让你的腹部柔软。”。她的舌头在“肚子”里的双l上徘徊,好像她是意大利人。她不是意大利人。Lenk要求他的行政助理Martha Einkorn在第一天之后进行检查。这位冥想教练来自威斯康辛州,那里有吱吱作响的奶酪。她不停地说“肚子”。他应该把光放在肚子里,感受肚子里的温暖,在自己的肚子里爬行,永远沉浸在她的腺样体呜呜声和她无限细长的l中。Lenk Sketlish的肚子里生长着一种酸性的翻腾的愤怒。

The redwoods. Back to the redwoods. The majesty of nature, simple beauty. The worn path up the hillside, the tumbling brook. Breathing in, breathing out. The world as it comes moment by moment and he, too, a part of it. Not scattered, not wrathful, not thinking of the Fantail expansion deals in Uruguay and in Myanmar even though someone was definitely going to fuck something up in his absence.


Be present. Here. Feeling his breath in his navel, the centre of his body, yes, good, the navel rising and falling and . . . the nose whistle added a new note. Slightly lower than the first. Baritone? Alto? Couldn’t she hear it? Why didn’t she blow her nose before she came to the sessions? Hadn’t Martha or anyone on his board or a single one of Martha’s minions found out whether this gold-star, top-of-the-line meditation teacher had a nose whistle? Did they just take everything on trust?


“Breathe within the body” – her voice low and lilting – “nothing is needed from you in this moment.”

This was obviously not true, given that he had to be there, given that his board had told him quite some time ago that if he couldn’t get his anger under control, there were real questions over whether he had a future at Fantail, which was in itself as nonsensical as this woman with a full orchestral wind section in her nose passing herself off as a source of calm. He’d gone along with it; he’d played the game. If they thought they were going to do to him what Ellen Bywater had done to Albert Dabrowski at Medlar, shuffle him out of his own company, well, they had another think coming. But they would do it – they’d tell him his leadership style wasn’t working, he wasn’t on a learning journey; they’d edge him out slowly at first and then very fast. He’d seen it. Albert Dabrowski was a cautionary tale. Ellen Bywater ran Medlar now. Where the fuck was Albert Dabrowski? Who the fuck even cared?


这显然不是真的,因为他必须在那里,因为他的董事会很早以前就告诉他,如果他不能控制住自己的愤怒,那么他在Fantail是否有未来真的存在疑问,这本身就是荒谬的,就像这个鼻子里有一个完整的管弦乐部分的女人把自己当作平静的源泉一样。他同意了;他玩过这个游戏。如果他们认为他们会像Ellen Bywater在Medlar对Albert Dabrowski那样对待他,把他赶出自己的公司,那么,他们会有另一个想法。但他们会这么做——他们会告诉他,他的领导风格不起作用,他没有踏上学习之旅;他们会先慢慢地把他干掉,然后很快就把他干掉。他看到了。阿尔伯特·达布罗斯基是一个警示故事。Ellen Bywater现在管理Medlar。阿尔伯特·达布罗斯基他妈的在哪里?谁他妈的还可以

“Be truly present in this moment,” the mucosal trumpets murmured.

“Allow yourself to meet the moment with trust.”

He was there to show his willingness. He wasn’t an immature baby; he’d run Fantail successfully for nearly two decades, built it from nothing but an idea and the sense of a wave building far out in the ocean. In 127 countries across the world now, if you wanted to talk to a mass audience, you started with FantailStream; if you wanted to sell something, you set up FantailStore; if you wanted to trade across borders, you used FantailSeamless to pay in FantailCoin. When nation spoke unto nation, they did it via Fantail.



And Lenk could do this next part, the public-facing making-nice part. The antitrust hearings, this dumb Action Now! ecological conference with Anvil and Medlar – he could do it. He’d keep his cool, not throw expensive ceramic sculptures through expensive engraved-glass partitions, and no one would have to go to the hospital with a glass shard in her eye ever again. That was a mistake. He regretted it. Meditation is hokey but it works – just breathe from the navel. Focus on the in-breath. The out-breath. He used to be into this stuff at Harvard. One of his roommates had given him a playlist. Long nights coding, then ten minutes of this and you go from strung-out exhaustion to blissful deep sleep. There was something to it. Zimri Nommik of Anvil went to some pod in the desert every year to do ten days of silence and fasting and pouring water up his nose. Or up his arse. One of those. Zimri Nommik, building warehouses and distribution networks, shipping everything old and new under the sun, already on his heels with AnvilChat and AnvilParty, trying to snap up everything in his all-consuming maw and –

Lenk可以做下一部分,面向公众的精彩部分。反垄断听证会,这愚蠢的行动现在!与Anvil和Medlar的生态会议——他可以做到。他会保持冷静,不会把昂贵的陶瓷雕塑扔到昂贵的雕刻玻璃隔板上,也不会有人再带着玻璃碎片去医院了。那是个错误。他后悔了。冥想很做作,但它有效——只是从肚脐呼吸。专注于呼吸。呼出的气息。他曾经在哈佛大学对这方面很感兴趣。他的一个室友给了他一个播放列表。漫长的夜晚编码,然后十分钟,你就会从疲惫到幸福的深度睡眠。这是有道理的。Anvil的Zimri Nommik每年都会去沙漠中的某个吊舱里做十天的沉默、禁食和把水倒进鼻子里。或者把他的屁股翘起来。其中之一。Zimri Nommik,建立仓库和分销网络,在阳光下运送所有新旧东西,已经跟在AnvilCh后面了在和AnvilParty,

“If you find your thoughts have wandered” – the instructor inhaled deeply with an accordion wheeze – “don’t be surprised. Simply return gently to the breath. This moment is all you need.” But this had never been the case. This moment was gone as soon as it was noticed. There could be no prize and no possession there. It was the glimmering he needed, the beckoning force of time, the wave gathering in the distant ocean.

“Take a deep belly breath. Remember that we are only ever anxious about things that might happen in the future. But the future is not here. The future is imaginary and all its promises and fears are imagined. We can rest in this moment,” she said. “What is happening is OK.”



But often what was happening was not OK. It was almost never OK. It needed constant nudging and tending, fixing and pushing. Without his intervention the moment would be lost, and the next, and the next, each wave passing and him still bobbing in the cold sea, the warmth leaching from his bones, death rising to swallow him whole. Without keeping his eyes on what might happen, an entire life could be eaten up, and most people’s were.

“There’s no way to really know what’s going to arise next,” the instructor said.



Well, then it was all a shit show. There was no way to know. The next moment might hold anything. There could be opportunities, new ideas caught by someone else, a competitor ready to usurp his fortune. There could be Ellen Bywater, the company stealer, turning the all-seeing eye of Medlar in his direction, her gleaming, elegant pieces of hardware the aspirational alternative to workaday Fantail. The Medlar Torc was her new thing, all your communication needs dealt with by this stylish device. She always seemed one step ahead of him now, tempting away his key demographics like she stole Medlar. There could be new products from her, but of course there could be an earthquake, a sudden heart attack, a deadly bomb loosed far away by an unstable dictator, a global pandemic. Anything.

好吧,那都是一场糟糕的表演。没有办法知道。下一刻可能会容纳任何东西。可能会有机会,新的想法被其他人抓住,一个准备篡夺他的财富的竞争对手。可能有Ellen Bywater,这个偷公司的人,把Medlar无所不知的目光转向了他的方向,她那闪闪发光、优雅的硬件是普通Fantail的理想替代品。Medlar Torc是她的新产品,这款时尚的设备可以满足您的所有通信需求。现在,她似乎总是领先他一步,像偷了Medlar一样诱惑着他的关键人口。她可能会推出新产品,但当然也可能会发生地震、突发心脏病、一个不稳定的独裁者在遥远的地方引爆致命炸弹、全球疫情。任何东西

Lenk Sketlish was a powerful man who had built his career on the future, on knowing it, smelling it, feeling it more present around him than the present. The future was his home and his consolation; the urgency of tomorrow, the next decade, the next century pressed in on him and pushed him forward.

“There’s no way to really know what’s going to happen even one second into the future.”

Lenk Sketlish是一个强大的人,他把自己的职业生涯建立在未来之上,建立在了解未来、闻到未来、感受未来的基础上。未来是他的家,也是他的慰藉;明天、未来十年、下个世纪的紧迫感向他袭来,推动他前进。


不,Lenk Sketlish想,这对我不起作用。他手腕上的薄屏幕发出了一声低沉但紧急的嘟嘟声。冥想教练皱了皱眉头,一个令人满意的想法在Lenk的脑海中闪过:啊,你看,没有办法真正知道会发生什么,是吗?他瞥了一眼薄屏幕;这将是阿尔巴尼亚或泰国的紧急情况,是一个需要做出的决定和解决的问题,是提前结束会议的一个极好的、在财政上无可争议的借口。但事实并非如此。他脸上的皮肤绷紧了;他看着通知眯起了眼睛。这不是一次小逃亡。这是末日。

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