An engineer learns how to take salt out of seawater. Cheap unlimited fresh water would benefit everyone – but it threatens businesses who like things as they are.
2044 starts where George Orwell’s 1984 left off. The problem isn’t Big Brother and the leviathan government. The problem is Big Brother, Inc., and the all-powerful marketplace.
This book was published in 2009 (when 2044 felt farther away). Here is some attention it gained at the time, though I’ve made no effort to keep it current.
— “Extraordinary,” said writer and publisher Deborah Emin when discussing the politics of writing. The whole comment is so flattering I reproduce it at length:
“It turned out that Eric Lotke had written this extraordinary novel, 2044, and had understood in his own wonderful way how to capture what is happening to us right now.
You have no idea how much his novel, 2044, has stayed in my mind as I write my own story. Eric has nailed us and what we are fighting for right now in the most and best Orwellian terms. His book is about that lovable character who doesn’t want to get involved in things but must in order to not just save himself but clear his father’s name. This world, imaginatively created, has been taken over by corporate entities that control everything and everyone down to the last detail.
Eric Lotke’s book has shown me how it is possible to create a world that we are all both intimately aware of, that inner world where the corporate thieves have stolen our very essence, while putting also on the page the alternate reality his character must live in. It is exciting and compelling and guides us to asking the basic question: what would we do? And by following what happens when you choose to fight and to get the answers you need, he also shows us what is at stake if we act and what happens when we don’t.
Eric has shown the way to capturing a time and making it come to life. I thank him greatly for this gift.”
— “Packs a Polemical Punch.”
- That’s what Mark Kleiman said in his review in the Reality Based Community, also featured on Huffington Post and Daily Kos.
- Adam Siegal of Energy Bookshelf is ticked off that books like SuperFreakonomics get so much attention. He recommends ten “more worthy” books, mostly non-fiction. 2044 is one of two novels “to add to your ‘beach reading.’”
— Review by Lost at Sea magazine:
- “Having just finished up Naomi Klein’s No Logo, Lotke’s book came at just the right time during my own reading cycle.”
- “…clever phrasing and ingenious words…”
- “Lotke’s strengths lie not only in his daunting futuristic vision, but in his insights on contemporary phenomena as well.”
— Interview with Joan Brunwasser, editor of OpEdNews: Talking with Eric Lotke, Author of “2044″
- “You don’t have to have read 1984 recently to get a lot out of your book. I can attest to this since I hadn’t picked it up since high school. Yet your novel struck a chord with me. I found it incredibly well-written and thought-provoking, both riviting and disturbing.”
- “Your characters are well drawn and the conversations ring true. I came to like Malcom and Jessica, and six year old David was a major cutie. Were these characters based on people you know?”
- [The answer is no, but I’m glad she likes David and I do have kids].
“The world Eric Lotke has created in 2044 is a progressive’s nightmare. Almost every exasperating trend we see today has been extrapolated to its logical extreme: Mindless fear of terrorism is used to manipulate the populace. Giant conglomerates control the economy, the news media, the government, and even the cops. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are ruthlessly crushed by cutthroat pricing, lawsuits, and police brutality. There are no unions in sight, and employees have no rights or recourse. The class divide has grown and calcified, with the poor living in near-shantytown squalor while the rich live in lavish mini-skyscrapers and never interact with commoners.
And yet, the world of 2044 is not as nakedly dystopian as that of 1984. The corporations rule through manipulation rather than overt oppression – as long as everyone stays in their lane and does what they’re supposed to, they can be perfectly happy. Where 1984 was a bleak prison camp with guards and cameras and barbed wire, 2044 is a well-manicured lawn with an invisible fence.And what happens when someone unwittingly crosses that invisible fence and gets zapped for the first time? Therein lies the plot.
“Here’s where I get to pretend to be both Siskel AND Ebert: Two thumbs up for 2044!
It starts from an interesting premise, it’s a good read, and it’s thought-provoking. I daresay it’s the best first novel you’ll read this year.”
— May 22, 2009: My own “coming out” blog post is here, with some story about the story: 2044: Big Brother, Inc.
— The Shawn Mitchell Show, December 13, 2009.
Amazon.com runs comments too. I’m currently scoring 4.5 stars (out of 5).
My favorite comment: “I highly recommend this novel. The pace is fast, the characters are compelling, the message is haunting, and the punch is hard.”