To say that The Truth Effect (Rising World) by Anne Mortensen deserves to be the dystopian novel of the year would not be an overstatement - the premise of this near-future science fiction thriller is as close to happening in the same way the Doomsday Clock is fast ticking toward our extinction. Brace yourself as you picture this: The Truth Laws have taken effect, and it has given the government what it has long been salivating for - the full power to weed out what they deem as fake news from the web and bring those responsible for publishing them to trial. Kelly Blackwell is a journalist who has been charged by the State with libel and has been offered a choice between a State-digital deputy or a fine that she would never be able to afford. Even if she has chosen the former, truth becomes an essential component in setting everyone free. Blackwell will solicit the aid of shady hackers to expose corruption after a piece of classified information sent to her is cut short during its transmission.
I can’t help but be reminded of the Snowden case and Facebook’s recent name rebranding to Meta while reading this book. I don’t know, but I take it as a great sign that The Truth Effect suggests certain connections to our digital present and what it may become in the future. This sci-fi thriller boldly demands to be read by every person who has grown dependent on technology and values his or her privacy. No other novel clearly implies that freedom of expression remains an absolute threat to those in power and that they are intent on exhausting all the means to erase this fundamental right. As a writer, Anne Mortensen has the third eye for this Orwellian nightmare that is beginning to take shape in different parts of the world. The Truth Effect is no doubt a must-read for anyone who has ever used digital technology to disseminate information. It sends the message that it is up to us, the citizens, to challenge the power of governments and to ensure that suppression must not triumph over freedom.
Mortensen combines a fast-paced plot with fully-fleshed out characters to create a thrilling near-future dystopian tale. Trying to expose corruption at higher levels, Kelly Blackwell, a brilliant journalist, gets discredited with libel charges. With the Truth Laws going into effect, Kelly has no option but to take the help of certain unsavory people. But clearing her name is not as simple as it seems on the surface. Blurring the lines between science fiction and suspense, Mortensen’s fluid narrative skillfully immerses readers in her richly crafted, chilling dystopian world. Kelly comes alive in readers’ minds as she strategizes her way out of one precarious situation after another while struggling with her inner turmoil. The AIs make for an eerie and thoroughly formidable reality. Expertly interspersing vivid action sequences with the characters’ backstories, Mortensen guides the reader through this suspenseful, winding storyline while delving into themes of courage, perseverance, duty, greed, and control. Mortensen’s effortless grasp at maintaining the grit and emotions throughout the narrative is sure to earn her a devoted readership.