Towel Day 2022 Review
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
The minds of the dead are uploaded into a computer afterlife from which they have full control of the living. Being alive is all in preparation to die. For Amichai a life of quiet desperation is never going to be enough.
I originally bought The Uploaded because I thought that the Amazon series Upload was based on this book. It is not. They are of the same time and have the same core idea – a luxury afterlife for the dead. That is where their similarities divide. In the show, the dead are basically enjoying an eternal vacation at a luxury resort (those that can afford to do so) where there are visiting days and humans that act as their concierge. In The Uploaded the book, the dead are directly involved in the day to day dealings of the world. An example is that in order to have a residency at a hospital, a doctor must have the kind of practical time that no one could ever achieve in a natural lifetime. The sick in hospitals are treated to what they have to look forward to doing once dead but their actual ailments are dismissed and treatment minimal. The cure is death when one ascends to a higher plane.
The Uploaded is funny but quite dark. The story starts slow and is exceptionally dark. Amichai and Izzy have lost their parents and though the dead can communicate with the living via calls, the afterlife is simply too engaging and people forget about the people and lives they had outside. Amichai and Izzy are hopeful that they’ll hear from their parents and when they do it’s clear that they’re having the time of their lives and not too concerned with the mortal suffering of their offspring. Izzy soon falls ill and Amichai is sent to an orphanage. This character is not one to let life keep him down even if acting out is lowering his chances of a cushy afterlife working to level up. Amichai is not wholly likable but what we see of him world leaves us with a very real character. Anyone rebelling in that situation is going to be a bit of a headstrong jerk. It’s the only way to survive. There’s a desperation in everything to feel and to hope in a world where hope is toward what comes next.
The Uploaded is separated into two parts. The complexity of the story and the world that the author has built is staggeringly impressive. Sure, the setting is dystopian but it’s more than that. It’s an expanded reality enhanced by a real despair, The reason that I chose this particular book for Towel Day because I feel that there’s a hint of a world that Douglas Adams may have created. The characters range from the beaten down to the rebellious to the megalomaniac. There is a wealth that can be gleaned from the subtext of the stories. The Uploaded is a few stories drawn together with a common thread leading to a complete plot stream.
I did find the love story wholly unnecessary. I think some people would enjoy it but it felt to me like it was thrown in because it was expected. I’ve heard of publishers pushing for a wider reach by including subtexts that might entice readers not typically engaged in this sort of storyline. It was a distraction but done well enough that I didn’t hate it, just found it unnecessary so I suppose that’s something.
The Uploaded is a truly dark read and it could be a lot to read it one sitting but pick it up and give it a shot and let me know what you think!
Read an excerpt and buy Uploaded by Ferrett Steinmetz on