on Orders over $35
on Orders over $35
Station Eleven meets Office Space when desk workers become trapped in a corporate complex as a global catastrophe unfolds outside. The Temps combines apocalypse and workplace satire when a small group of survivors band together in the wreckage of their company to discover the truth behind the event that upended their world.
“Andrew DeYoung's The Temps is a comic adventure for our uncertain times...The result is a surprisingly funny and heartfelt satire of modern employment that should please fans of literary and speculative fiction alike.” –Adam O’Fallon Price, author of The Hotel Neversink
“The Temps... [is] fast-paced, darkly funny, and full of unexpected turns. It also holds incisive and illuminating social commentary, providing windows of insight amidst the heart-pounding action.” —Elvia Wilk, author of Oval
“Part Great American Office Novel and part apocalyptic thriller, The Temps taps into the search for meaning post-college and combines it with the sharp urgency of the best dystopian fiction.” –Bryan Bliss, National Book Award Longlisted author of We’ll Fly Away
“DeYoung’s mesmerizing writing is by turns wry, muscular, and probing. This is an apocalyptic page-turner that asks profound questions about human nature, about who we are and who we have the potential to become. DeYoung’s vision is both vibrant and prophetic; I couldn’t put this novel down.” –Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest
Turner Publishing Company is an award-winning independent publisher based in Nashville, Tennessee, distributed worldwide by Ingram Publisher Services. In 2020, Turner launched Keylight Books, an imprint focused on curating books with strong characters and storylines to be optioned for television, movies, and the media. The Temps became a highly sought-after film property upon announcement and, after a multi-party auction, is in development for a television series with the Los Angeles Media Fund.
They're underemployed. Underpaid. And trying to survive the end of the world while trapped inside an office complex. Who knew temp work could be this dangerous?
Jacob Elliot doesn’t want a temporary job in the mailroom at Delphi Enterprises, but after two post-college years of unpaid internships and living in his parents’ basement, he needs the work. Then, on his first day, the unthinkable happens: toxic gas descends on a meeting in Delphi’s outdoor amphitheater, killing all the regular employees and leaving Jacob stranded inside the vast office complex.
Wandering through Delphi headquarters, Jacob finds other survivors: Lauren, the disillusioned classics major who’s now writing online personality quizzes; Swati, the fitness instructor trying to escape a toxic relationship; and Dominic, the business school student who will do almost anything to get ahead. Stranded in the wreckage of the company that employed them, the temps band together to create a miniature world that’s part spring break, part office culture—until a shocking discovery disrupts the survivors’ self-made paradise and drives them to uncover the truth about the mysterious corporation that employed them and the apocalypse that brought their world to an end.
A surprising, profound tribute to the absurdities and paranoia of modern life, The Temps is an epic exploration of survival and human connection in the digital age.
The Temps is an apocalyptic novel—but it’s also a novel about young people adjusting to life post-college. How important is that to what you’re doing in the book?
It’s absolutely central. I wanted to get at the disillusionment of life after graduation, and at the broader sense of generational betrayal that a lot of Millennials and Gen Z people experience as they enter adulthood—this sense that they, that we, are inheriting a world ruined by older generations. I see this feeling accelerating as big crises like climate change and economic inequality loom larger. And this sense of generational betrayal is particularly acute, I think, post-college, when you’ve got all this debt, all this education, but not many prospects yet. It can feel—maybe accurately—like the world is ending. In The Temps, what I wanted to do was take this feeling and make it literal: an actual apocalypse.
But it’s not just the end of the world, is it? Your approach to apocalypse in the book is more nuanced than that.
That’s true. In its purest meaning, “apocalypse” refers to an unveiling, or a revelation—a catastrophe or an upheaval that reveals something about what the world is becoming. The scary thing about apocalypse isn’t that the world ends. In some ways, it’s scarier that the world doesn’t end, that the world-shifting revelations just keep coming and coming with accelerating frequency. This was something we saw with the pandemic. The world changed drastically with COVID-19, but it didn’t end. We had to live through the changes, moment to moment. We’re still living through them.
Speaking of the pandemic, did it inspire this book? Did you write it during the pandemic?
I wrote The Temps in 2017—so no, it didn’t start as a pandemic novel. Some of my friends and early readers have joked that I predicted the pandemic in reverse. In the book I’ve got people stranded at the office due to a global catastrophe, while in reality the pandemic left millions of people in their homes, and brought the office into people’s daily lives through Zoom meetings and remote work.
There’s a lot here about office work and corporate culture. What interests you about those topics?
In part, I’m just interested in how strange and even absurd office life can be. The hermetically-sealed little cultures that crop up in companies, the corporate jargon and everyday office rituals that establish themselves. I see increasingly specialized job titles that are so abstract or theoretical that people might struggle to describe what they do to others, or even to understand the impact of their jobs themselves. It can be an incredibly alienating environment. And yet the trappings of work life can also become as meaningful to people as anything in their personal lives. It’s another thing we’ve seen accelerate during the pandemic, as the line between work and home has blurred.
There also seems to be a fair bit of paranoia in how you view large corporations, and in particular the billionaire CEOs who run them. How does that enter into your vision?
The thing that unnerves me about the Amazons, the Facebooks, the Apples of the world—and of the rich men who run them—is just how much power they have. We’re at a point in history where corporations might have more influence over our day-to-day existence than governments do. And the billionaire CEOs who run these companies aren’t just interested in profit; they seem to want to engineer the human future. We’ve seen this recently with the billionaire space race. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk want to own space exploration.
And what’s the future they’re creating, the billionaires? Utopia? Dystopia? The end of the world?
I guess you’ll have to read the book to find out what I think about that! You probably won’t be surprised that I’m not particularly optimistic about the future the billionaires and their mega-corporations are building for us. At the very least, I think the task of imagining the future should be something we do together as a society, not something we leave to a handful of rich men.