Entrepreneur Andrew Yang gained a lot of attention with his surprisingly successful presidential campaign in 2020. His unique ideas and geeky persona resonated with many, especially those who are fans of science fiction shows like Star Trek. In an interview on the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, Yang expressed that he felt like he was the presidential candidate that science fiction and fantasy people would recognize as one of their own.
Yang, known for his nonfiction books “Forward” and “The War on Normal People,” has recently released his first novel, “The Last Election.” Collaborating with Canadian journalist Stephen Marche, the novel is described as a paranoid political thriller, drawing inspiration from real-life details and speculative science fiction. The plot revolves around a proposed seizure of power by the Joint Chiefs of Staff following a disputed election. Yang feels that people are more drawn to stories, and with the many interesting details that are present in the book, he aimed to convey the narrative in a gripping and impactful manner.
As the former presidential candidate, Yang warns that the scenario depicted in “The Last Election” is disturbingly plausible, as the current political landscape in the US sees questioning of election results, riots, threats of violence, and an increasingly distrustful population. He believes that the potential for a future election where people refuse to acknowledge the other side’s win is a very real possibility.
In addition to his interest in politics and entrepreneurship, Yang is also a long-time fan of role-playing games. He attributes his desire to become an entrepreneur to his love for Dungeons & Dragons, where he always dreamed of venturing into the woods to conquer the dragon. He shared his experience playing D&D and recalled various modules from the 80s that have had a significant impact on his childhood.
Yang’s love for science fiction extends to movies as well, with his excitement about attending the premiere of “Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker” as a result of integrating activities that he genuinely enjoyed into his schedule. His team recognized that including things that he liked would energize him, and as a result, they arranged for a viewing of the film with some of the campaign donors. Yang’s enjoyment of the movie is evident, as he recalls attending a late-night showing straight after a presidential debate.
Another of Yang’s interests is Universal Basic Income (UBI). He believes that his presidential campaign resonated with people so strongly because he focused on improving lives and incorporated influences such as science fiction and fantasy. UBI and concerns about the impact of AI are not merely science fiction but a reality that will impact society. Despite the progression of AI and UBI being closer in terms of time, the path to their implementation remains challenging.
Post-presidential campaign, Yang launched a podcast called “Forward,” aiming to make positive change happen. He has interviewed notable figures such as Mark Cuban and Jack Dorsey, with a recent highlight being an interview with Walter Isaacson about his biography of Elon Musk. Reflecting on the experience, Yang found it particularly gratifying, expressing his admiration for Musk’s ability to push the use of technology forward and his astonishment at the insights gained from the book.
The transition from politics to podcasting has allowed Yang to engage with influential figures and topics that are close to his heart. His passion for science fiction, technology, and improving society has continued to be evident, highlighting his commitment to making real-life changes while also exploring his love for geek culture and storytelling.