The Water Thief (Book) Review
Nicholas Lamar Soutter brings a chillingly believable look at an unappealing future.
Charles Thatcher seems to have it all – decent job with an upward trajectory, attractive wife, acceptable apartment – but he just can’t help but feel that something is missing. It’s a premise we’ve all heard before, but never quite like this. Charles lives in our future, in a time where corporations have finally managed to take over virtually every aspect of life. After all, if corporations can be people now, it isn’t that farfetched to think they’ll reach ruling status eventually. And that’s what has happened in the time that Charles lives in. Everything – and I do mean everything – has a price.
From air to electricity to water to children, there is nothing that doesn’t come with a fee. In fact, even people have a price – well, sort of. Much like the stock market now, people in the future have futures that can be bought and sold, and which fluctuate in value based on their current performances. It’s quite common for parents to sell off their children’s future’s to further their own financial positions, and nearly everyone has a corporation owner. If a corporation owns your futures, they own you too. Sure, you get paid for working, but you can’t just go out and get a different job without buying yourself back. If you do something that causes your futures to plummet (or heaven forbid try to take another job), it is considered stealing from your corporation, and is dealt with accordingly.
How is crime dealt with? Well, technically speaking there is no crime. The corporations have completely eliminated government, which means no laws to break, other than the unspoken “money talks” law. THis has lead to a society where compassion and honesty are reviled in favor of ruthlessness and determination. However, there is punishment for those foolish enough to get in trouble, and naturally it is televised (for a fee, of course). The corporation hosts monthly killings which shows their colleagues clearly just what happens when you defy the corporation.
Charles, though he has always lived this way, suddenly finds himself disillusioned with his life. When a seemingly chance encounter with an unsold citizen starts him thinking about things in a whole different way, Charles has to figure out how to play at being a good colleague and not arouse suspicions, while at the same time plotting how he can change his life – and perhaps his world – for the better.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Water Thief. It is a fast paced thriller that keeps you guessing until the end (and often leaves you horrified at an all too plausible future). It’s a great read, and the perfect gift for that book lover in your life.