If You Exist

Lillian Moats has once again produced a short work of great power. The author addresses leading issues of our age in a manner intended for contemporary readers, yet written as if she is addressing a hoped for reader in a distant future. With a realistic mixture of pessimism and optimism and remarkable sensitivity, understanding, and insight, she focuses on no less fundamental questions than the future of Homo sapiens and Planet Earth. The author explains why that future is in the hands of those alive at present. If You Exist is a gift that could keep on giving, and deserves the attention of a wide audience.

Kathleen E. McCrone, PhD

Professor Emeritus, History and former Executive Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Windsor (Canada)

As she shares her rinsed clean, meticulously ordered thoughts and concerns, Moats handles every word with exquisite care and respect, as though each is a precious stone, a seed, a candle flame. This radiant “note in a bottle” for future generations is the third title in her uniquely gentle yet powerfully discerning set of ethical inquires into the human condition, following The Letter from Death (2009) and Hope: A Myth Reawakened (2015). Here Moats wonders if, decades from now, humankind will still be much like we are or profoundly altered, given the exponential advance of technology and the threatened breakdown of the biosphere. This existentially poignant missive crystallized during the COVID-19 pandemic and the onset of the climate crisis as both ongoing disasters harshly expose intrinsic social inequality and injustice. Moats begins with fresh and provocative definitions for hunting and gathering, reimagining them as two central human impulses. To gather is “to draw close to something, to bring together in a body.” To hunt is “to target for killing, wounding, or capture.” To gather is “inclusive”; to hunt is “exclusive.” Moats considers the consequences of each approach as she elucidates how racism and “othering” spur police violence and the unjust and cruel treatment of refugees and immigrants. She also parses the potentially harmful impacts of genetic engineering. Ultimately, Moats expresses the hope that more of us in the here and now will try harder to understand each other and embrace “truth and empathy.”

Donna Seaman

Editor, Booklist Magazine and Booklist Online

I entreat you to read If You Exist. Author Lillian Moats extends challenging insights and queries about possible futures of past and present beings known to us as humans. This is her “note in a bottle” which she hopes will reach an individual, generations hence, “on some unfathomable shore.” What questions does she have for the recipient? Do remnants or improvements exist of what is now considered human? Redefining “Gatherers” and “Hunters” for our present day, she offers caveats, critiques, and hopes of worlds we contrive or allow to evolve. Lillian Moats teaches that much turns on key questions: Will Gatherers or Hunters guide successive generations? Has the stranger been gathered in or hunted down? Composed in artistically drawn short chapters, the book moves to a crescendo of possibilities. I urge you to experience the messages, and hopefully to embody them.

William H. Schubert

Professor Emeritus and former University Scholar, University of Illinois at Chicago; a Fellow of the International Academy of Education

A Heartfelt And Private Personal Conversation Between A Writer And A Not Yet-Lived Reader On Humanity’s Future.

Lillian Moore’s If You Exist: In Search Of A Reader Deep In The Future is a personal and heartfelt conversation between herself and an individual who has not yet come into life’s existence or may ever. Moats compares her personal message to “a note in a bottle set to see in hopes of reaching you, if you exist in the future on some unfathomable shore.” Within each page and chapter, Moats individually shares her reflections on where humanity is now. Henceforward, based on these choices that we make now may command how we will shape humanity’s future. Moats wishes that her not-yet-lived reader could answer her own questions about whether her anxieties have ever been resolved; and in doing so she conversates about climate change, human migration, racism, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and a number of other well validated concerns about the likelihoods of unrestrained technology and human redesign.

Carefully written with vigilant attention to detail, from the unusual conversation between herself and a nonexistent person to careful selection of prose throughout her book, Moats efficaciously produces elements of drama, love, ecstasies, unknowns, and uncertainty, within each chapter that is more than anticipated of a book of personal self-reflection. Furthermore, with the book’s format between an author and a reader (though not-yet in existence), Moats certainly relates to readers of any age, from the young adult to the middle aged professionals; and to the senior. This book will keep the reader intrigued throughout each page while taking the reader on an emotional road trip; not only within his or her own self-reflections on humanity but the fate of our generation’s future of humanity as well.

If You Exist will moreover gratify readers with Moat’s own personal self-contemplations and experiences of hilarity, sorrow, anxiety, self-skepticism, problems and apprehensions that will certainly relate to any reader’s own personal life’s experiences and doubts. This new book is one that doesn’t fall short of a true and heartfelt personal reflection. Moat’s new book is not only truly heartfelt but enduring; and will personally touch the heart of her readers seeking contemplation and some inspiration in their lives.

Ronald Johnson Jr MBA (five stars)


Thanks to Netgalley I have this opportunity to post this review.

The book “If You Exist” is an interesting concept. It is, as the author describes, like a “message in a bottle” to future humans many generations from now… if they exist. But “If You Exist” is really a message to all humans whether living now or in the future.

Moats thoughtfully and painfully describes her greatest sorrows and worries of today and the distant tomorrows. She worries about climate change, racism, pandemics, technical progress and more. But Moats is not just expressing her worries to what form of human may exist in the future, she is begging humans of today to solve these issues before they end us.

The last chapter ends with an intriguing and hopeful scenerio. Worth the read to find out what outcome she might imagine.

Ron G., Reviewer (five stars)


IF YOU EXIST, IN SEARCH OF A READER DEEP IN THE FUTURE is another excellent Moats’ read. Always succinct, always profound, Moats’ prose is like crystal. Unlike crystal, however, the sentiments she expresses are warm and human. Moats astutely describes the most urgent problems facing humanity today (right up through the murder of George Floyd) without blinking, without boring or overloading us. Whether humanity now will make possible humanity in the future remains to be seen– Moats’ draws the direct connection; it all depends on us to awaken. Her arguments are compelling, and her conclusion is not only intelligent, but extremely moving. MY HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!

JP S., Educator (five stars; also posted to Goodreads)


This little book moved me almost to tears. While it was a bit too on the nose sometimes, there is no reason to pretend that things shouldn’t be this obvious. We need a warning. I will be adding this to one of my courses in 2022. It comes out too late for me to add it in 2021. My senior seminar students need to read this, think about this, and process what is happening here.

Anthony F., Educator (five stars; also posted to Goodreads)


Thanks to Net Galley for the arc. I shall 100 percent be adding this book to one of my courses as soon as it is available to the public. What a smart, thoughtful way to get us to see the future. Thank you Ms. Moats.

Tony (four stars)