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It’s the year 2121. Meet your children, and your children’s children.

Say hello to the stubbornly fierce Willy Winther, born in the pandemic spring of 2021, now an ex-convict and downgraded literature professor, a hundred years old — and counting.

An AI's rendering of Willy Winther. Image created with AI Image Creator, Open AI
Meet the cool-headed Clara Henriette Dahl, a pure product of wealth and the optimistic 2080s cybermania. Follow the love-struck Enning Myller, who glimpsed the first light of day in the global mayhem of the Great Delete, October 10, 2096.

In a city teeming with lives upon lives upon lives, all writhing and striving for survival, let me introduce you to Toni Atom, a young mother and undocumented ‘climigrant’ scraping by as an illegal bare knuckle fighter performing at luxury events for the ultra-affluent. 

We’ll never know Toni’s real name, her birthdate, or even the place she used to call her home. What we do know is that, in order to live, she had to leave it behind. And with it her job, her reputation, her dead family, everything she’s ever loved. 

The only thing Toni’s been able to bring into her new life is the child she already carried when the bombs annihilated her old life.

It's a boiling hot day in June 2121. Tempers are simmering. We’re roaming the streets of a flooded Oslo — and I want to know what our kids are up to... 




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Why Offgrid?

My first novel, OFFGRID, arose out of the need to envision. To see and, ultimately, to show.

Today — as in, the early 21st century — we are confronted with news about climate change and technological ‘progress’ on a daily basis. Our screens and the pages of our books flood our minds with images of dystopian tales, usually picking out a single idea or current trend, then maximally problematizing its future impact. 

In some ways, OFFGRID’s world will match the stereotypical dystopian setting, because I believe we will be dealing with dramatic issues of resource scarcity, social inequality, and digital exclusion.

Many of our children will struggle simply to consume enough calories and get their hands on water. They’ll be faced with fundamental social rifts, and they’ll desperately want to either be on or off what the novel calls the ‘Grid’ — society’s digital network, which pervades everyone and everything. 

AI Prompt: "An aereal shot from above showing a digital grid glowing and intertwining with a nordic forest." Image created with AI Image Creator, Open AI

But I don’t believe the world of tomorrow will feel, or be, purely dystopian. I believe the 2060s, the 2090s, the 2110s, will feel just as infinitely complex, multi-layered, and real as the time we live in now.

I wanted to know what the world might realistically look like in a hundred years. A century may seem a long time, but Wilma Winther has already been born. As I write this in 2024, she is three years old and probably heading to kindergarten somewhere in town. 

Some of the children born today will witness this one specific day in June 2121. 

What might the world — this real, tangible, normal world of ours — look like for them, when they open their eyes in the morning?

They will open their eyes and be somewhere. 

Wading through the flooded streets of Oslo, Ring-1 (Toni).

Having a climate-controlled brunch by the shaded pool of their Ring-7 villa (Clara).

Watering their plants on the occupied top floor of an abandoned and crumbling business hotel (Wilma).

Hacking the cheap operating systems of diners and handing out blue waffles to undernourished neighborhood kids (Enning). 

A hundred years from today, there will be friendships. There will be beauty and protection. There will be jokes, and perfectly mellow spring days, but there will also be unspeakable injustice.

Deepest loss. Long nights suffocated by the urge to keep at bay the tears. 

We speak of global phenomena as if they weren’t happening to us. But they are. We could just as well have been born tomorrow, and many of us will. 

Writing OFFGRID was an act of extending our most immediate sense of empathy to the generations of the future. They may seem remote, but they’re already here. 

Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

AI rendering of Virginia Woolf. Image created with AI Image Creator, Open AI

OFFGRID is an unabashedly maximalist work, 142 000 words strong. 

It comes fully equipped with its own futuristic technologies:

  • High-end BotGuards with grafted human skin

  • Quadcopters, drones, the newest iRises, BraceNets, and Soundbits

  • A mother algorithm guiding all autonomous vehicles ('AVs')

It sports its own brands, corporations and products:

  • Happy Earth “Nilk” (No-Milk) Shakes

  • Yōuyǎ luxury AVehicles

  • Privatized Krystall water

  • O-Go Social Grid solutions

Rich and poor alike are struggling to get their hands on OFFGRID's digital currencies:

  • NorKroins (the worthless state-regulated currency)

  • Gravity Mynt (for the geeks and gods of technology)

  • Ambrosia-11 (for people much richer than yourself)

  • Pure Leaf (the friendly green choice)

A government drone scouting the off-limit forests in Offgrid's "Green Lungs". Image created with AI Image Creator, Open AI

OFFGRID also comes with its own geographies, its politics, and — on this fateful summer's day — its city-wide civil riot.

Happening... right about now.

Because nobody except for Clara Dahl has had a proper meal today. Because the woods up north are burning, and access to fresh water is severely restricted (well, again. Not if you happen to be Clara Dahl). Because simultaneously, parts of the city are drowning in a soured fjord.

And because Toni Atom's unnecessary death is about to be streamed live — in visceral, uncensored detail — onto everyone's implanted iRis.

In this world marked by stark contrasts and inequality, we follow a tale of resilience and tough choices, written from the interwoven perspectives of multiple characters. 

We get to experience a single decisive day a hundred years from now, flowing through its twenty-four hours aboard the hearts and minds of our future children and grand-children — a sort of 3-dimensional stream of consciousness, if you will.

I picked this particular narrative mode after having read (inhaled!) Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, realizing this would be the perfect vehicle to portray a future society from a multi-dimensional angle, thus heightening our sense of compassion for each of the humans we encounter.

I wanted to make sure that, when their fates culminate and collide on this one summer’s day in 2121, none of them are purely villains.

And none of them are purely heroes.

Everyone, even the darkest soul of OFFGRID, exists simply to be — entirely, blatantly — human. 

Listen to the Sound of OFFGRID

Music has been an important part of my envisioning process. I've decided to gather the most essential "OFFGRID"-tracks in a list so that you can dive into the Soundtrack of OFFGRID.

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