An inquisitive woman goes through the motions of life in a future Los Angeles that has lost its vivacity. Vera escapes her hollow world through searching deep within herself to avoid a deluge of commercial information. She develops the capacity for independent thought, falls in love, and must then avoid a seductive technology that could render her catatonic.
This post-Orwellian dystopian thriller explores how the truth drowns in a sea of alternative facts, verified information, and sensationalized politics. Instead of deprivation, censorship and doublespeak of 1984, we see a world where corporations fuel vapid consumerism and control individual thought through a barrage of advertising, propaganda, and addictive entertainment streamed directly into the brain.
More than pure science fiction, Reality™ 2048 is a political philosophy that challenge the tenets of Ayn Rand, globalism, and judicial activism with characters who confront the murky boundaries between rationality and emotion, objective truth and lived experience. Vera’s journey explores how socially manufactured identity blocks what each of us can comprehend and asks whether democratic society can exist when we no longer believe anything is true. It’s where reality TV and mindless pursuit of technology could take us if we cannot find ways to reconnect with the real world.
Plot: The novel is consciously modeled on George Orwell’s “1984”, which it occasionally references, and it advances with the same skillful pacing and narrative twists that distinguish the classic novel. Cressman’s one narrative misstep is to incorporate huge chunks of text from The Book, the secret history of how the repressive Globalian Trade Zone came to be and seized control of society, midway through the story: it’s a dry, if impressively comprehensive, info-dump that provides the backstory of the future world but slows the narrative pace to a crawl (and even puts one of the characters reading it to sleep).
Prose/Style: Cressman has a nicely honed prose style suitable for telling his story and especially for elaborating very fluidly the many technological, broadcast, and social media advances (and distractions) that distinguish the story’s future world. He is also adept in his use of Orwellian newspeak terms—characters who begin to show individuality and non-conformity are removed from the company of others and “upgraded”—to show how Globalia puts a positive spin on the social control of its citizens.
Originality: As noted, the novel is modeled on “1984” and the author subjects the characters to adventures and fates closely modeled on those in Orwell’s tale. That said, Cressman has clearly shaped his future world and Globalia’s manipulation of the truth to resonate with aspects of our own contemporary times.
Character Development: The characters in this novel are very well developed. Vera and Chase are shown to be both products and sympathetic victims of their dystopic near-future society. Aneeka Randall is, by contrast, a sharply-etched embodiment of that society’s darkest side: a villain who presents herself as a friend and confederate in the rebel Sisterhood but who later betrays Vera and Chase’s trust, revealing herself to be Globalia’s best tool for suppressing individuality and resistance.
Date Submitted: May 30, 2019
The book's monolithic system of business and political corruption has impacts that cannot be ignored or avoided. What promises to be a story of personal transformation turns into a chilling warning about how corporate greed kills individual empowerment.
A potent and sobering wake-up call.
A thoughtful take on a plausible future. With a generous nod to George Orwell, Derek Cressman weaves a suspenseful tale set in a world where no one believes the news, and no one cares.”
Readers are presented with an absorbing, compelling plot that closely considers the nature of personal and political power, rebellion, and options. As Vera progresses deeper into uncontrolled territory, she uncovers plots, purposes, and manufactured blocks designed to thwart true democracy even as they purport to represent its apex.
The result is an involving, compelling read made all the more so by its strong connections to evolutionary processes of recent years, as much as by its revealing message to future generations. When reality TV becomes the stuff of not just entertainment but perceptions of reality itself, whence freedom?
Reality 2048 - Watching Big Mother may be a dystopian thriller, but it shouldn't be limited to these audiences. Social issues and technology fiction readers will find plenty of shock and awe in Cressman's revealing portent of a possible social form of attack on a democratic, free, truly choice-driven life.
Derek Cressman’s RealityTM 2048 is a novel of great consequence, one from which I will not easily escape. The ultimate question Cressman asks is what happens if people know they are misled but they just don’t care? As one character says, ‘A fact is a fact. They have nothing to do with reality.’ Especially when Reality is trademarked.