2030 by Albert Brooks
It's too bad that the late Michael Crichton never got to write 2030, because in his hands it might have been a great book. Crichton was a genius at marrying an epic cast of characters with complicated exposition, all wrapped into a tense dramatic scenario - look at The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park or more recently, Next. Next (reviewed elsewhere) is perhaps the closest ancestor to 2030, as both take on clinical tones to discuss the not-so-distant future. But Next ends up being far more sinister in its implications. In the hands of filmmaker Albert Brooks, 2030 actually comes across as rather benign. Perhaps it's because the author's cinematic instincts are so much more honed then his literary ones: 2030 is dialogue heavy and the narration is short, brief and always to the point. Major events - earthquakes, deaths, China buying Los Angeles - all happen in the blink of an eye without any real attention paid to the drama of the moment. The entire novel reads like a treatment for a film that never got written.