In which I critique myself & my writing
Platformed comes out on May 18, 2021 and is available for preorder now! I encourage you to support your local independent bookstore by buying from Bookshop.org, but it’s also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.
In the mid 2030s, Sara is a young female software engineer at a startup that promises to deliver just one french fry when you need it. Then the apartment she shares with her boyfriend/boss burns down, the startup runs out of money, and her optimized life folds in on itself. Sara follows her best friend, an over-educated sugar baby, into an exclusive Community run by an unnamed tech giant, and things only get weirder from there.
I set out to tell a vaguely unsettling but ultimately gentle dystopian story about Silicon Valley and climate change. I wanted to depict the tech world in a way that feels real to me as a software engineer in Silicon Valley and also illustrate the experience of being a young person confronting the environmental disaster we have brought down upon us.
I think I succeeded. I definitely think you should read it.
But also, upon reflection now on the eve of its release into the world, I am here to get out in front of anyone who wants to leave a bad review:
Yes, tech bros, I took some cheap shots at crypto and self-driving cars!
And also Stanford and Berkeley, though I think they deserve it.
I do know there exist college experiences beyond my own, but you wouldn’t guess that from reading this book. People who went to college with me might recognize some of Sara’s experiences, especially a certain speed demon and terrifying drive up 280 to San Francisco.
And wow, I really made male startup employees look like assholes! This does not reflect my experience at the startups where I have worked, to be clear (they are full of lovely people and you should work for them). But as they say, the exception proves the rule.
Men, in general, don’t look great in this book. It’s not entirely fair, but I don’t think it’ll blow anyone’s mind to learn that being a woman in tech means dealing with some ~problematic~ men at times.
Speaking of which-come on, Sara, having bad taste in men is not a personality. If you don’t know a Sara… you are a Sara.
And since a certain man in a pivotal scene does something critical with a phone (if you know you know)…Do I seriously believe smartphones will be essentially unchanged in 15 years? Gotta take some creative liberty with my predictions for the future, I guess.
On that note…let’s hope my predictions are wrong. The 2030s do not look great here. This is bleak.
A valid one-sentence summary of Platformed would be “everyone in near-future Silicon Valley is depressed (and/or a nihilist)” which…okay. They do have cause to be. Let’s just all do our best to make sure that when we get to the years in which Platformed takes place, things are better! We can still do it!
I promise I am not as sad and hopeless as this book might make me seem-I work for a forest carbon markets startup!! Let’s save the forests and the planet!
Maybe we should all just go for a bracing swim in the Pacific to remind ourselves how inconsequential we are and how that’s all right. Or at least to escape the wildfires.
Let me know what you think about Silicon Valley and climate change and depictions thereof, mine or otherwise. I’m always looking for more books, especially if they are about trees, tech, and being a woman in the world.
And if you must: roast me like the California wilderness.
Originally published at https://www.kelseyjosund.com on April 17, 2021.