"Cumulus is your new favorite surveillance-fueled dystopian novel. It's a future we can all recognize - and one that we should all be genuinely afraid of."-Ars Technica
"A gritty view of the future of economic inequality and surveillance. In a city divided between the haves and have-nots, anonymity is virtually impossible... except for a few insiders who have the power to subvert the system for their own purposes."-David Brin, Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Campbell award-winning author
"A world in which surveillance is constant and inescapable - the energy of Peper's writing and the strength of his characters are palpable."-TechCrunch
"An intriguing, fast-paced thriller that looks closely at the most pressing issues facing the nation: a growing wealth gap, corrupt governments and an ever-increasing surveillance apparatus that threatens the country's very character. Cumulus holds up a mirror to ourselves, and shows just how scary the world could be right around the corner." -Gizmodo/io9
"Cumulus is a prophetic Bay Area thriller, a Jason-Bourne-meets-Silicon-Valley story of escalating technology, inequality and a crumbling state. When a former CIA-operative-turned-hired-gun joins forces with tech giant Cumulus, cracks in the digital facade emerge, laid bare by a powerful and simple analog alternative. In today's world where intimate personal details are just another row in someone's 'big data,' Cumulus is a stark reminder that data are power--and absolute data corrupt absolutely."-Andrew Chamberlain, Ph.D., Chief Economist, Glassdoor
"Cumulus takes off like a Falcon 9 rocket, immediately propelling the reader into a world of sinister intrigue and deceit. You should read it right now, before it happens for real. Highly recommended."-Popular Science
"A fun read full of provocative ideas. Cumulus is a near-future technothriller focused on issues of income inequality and corporate power."-Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media
"A picture of Big Tech run amok."-Bloomberg Businessweek
"All too real. A thriller of the very near future, at the intersection of surveillance and inequality. Read it now, before it happens!"-Ramez Naam, award-winning author of Nexus
"Cumulus grapples with technology oligarchs, their influence over politics, and the outcomes for everyone else."-Endless Magazine
"Exhilarating and provocative, Cumulus is a richly imagined narrative set in a future threatening to become the present. Peper riffs memorably on our current zeitgeist and wrestles with the social implications of technology with a spellbinding adventure that moves at breakneck speed. The digital era begets the analog revolution. Be afraid, be very afraid. Read it now."-Andrew Keen, author of The Internet Is Not The Answer
From the Author
I moved back to Oakland in 2013. It was the city of my birth and where I grew up. Seeing how Oakland has evolved since the '80s is at once inspiring and harrowing. Cumulus is a kind of twisted love letter to my favorite city in the Bay Area.
Over the course of the past few years, we've bonded with many of our incredible neighbors, sated our appetites at countless ethnic food joints, had a triple homicide on our block, installed a free little library for our community, hiked in beautiful Redwood Park, and watched a protest with thousands of people and hundreds trailing police vehicles terminate at the end of our street. We love the birdsong but hate the gunshots. Oakland feels like a special point of confluence for so many critical social issues: the implications of the growing wealth gap in American society, the extraordinary promise of new technologies and diverse worldviews, our failure to solve persistent social problems like poverty, racism, and homelessness, and the power of fierce, pragmatic optimism.
Writing Cumulus allowed me to explore my enthusiasm for my hometown and my fascination with how new tools like the internet are reshaping our lives in so many ways, big and small. Through years of working with startups and venture capital investors, I've had the privilege of seeing how some new technologies come to be and getting to know a few of the people who build and popularize them. I've never been more excited about the promise of human ingenuity and there's no other time in history when I'd rather live. That said, these new developments are changing our social fabric, the texture of our personal lives, and even our geopolitics. Such change is always painful. Times like these require open-mindedness, compassion, critical thinking, resourcefulness, and creativity. I don't have the answers but I hope that this story might contribute a few questions.
I will be donating the first 6 months of proceeds from Cumulus to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Chapter 510. EFF fights tirelessly for a free and open internet, championing user rights in the face of entrenched special interests. Chapter 510 is a local literacy non-profit serving underprivileged youth in Oakland. These organizations are the real heroes. Day in and day out, they roll up their sleeves and work to avert the darkest aspects of the future that Cumulus portrays.