It should have been a better world. Adam Levine was dead. The oligarchy and patriarchy of the old world order were dismantled by revolutionaries. Direct democracy had replaced the corrupt justice system, allowing all citizens to participate as members of the jury of peers. Unfortunately, the future envisioned in Lucy Leitner’s Outrage Level 10 is not the utopia the people believe it to be.
Alex Malone is a throwback, a former enforcer on the ice with a history of drug abuse and brain damage as mementos of the days when hockey was still a sport. As with all violent and destructive forms of competition, hockey is no more. Malone’s former career has become a ridiculed and maligned memory of the brutality and uncivilized nature of the world before the revolution. There aren’t many options available to someone with Malone’s history, so he becomes a cop, a member of another institution with a tainted history of violence and cruelty, extant in this future America as little more than glorified meter maids and health inspectors.
When Malone’s psychiatrist injects him with a potential cure for his brain damage, Alex initially seems happier, and his memories appear to be returning. But are they his memories?
What unfolds from there is a high-intensity mystery, as Alex and his unlikely partners in crime seek to unravel a sinister plot that strikes at the very heart of the nation and threatens to display the utopian society for the savage and superficial dystopia it is.
Leitner does an excellent job of sharing this cautionary tale of a revolution compromised by not only the flawed and dangerous men guiding it but also by a society engrossed in social media and an unwillingness to recognize the lack of justice associated with the court of public opinion as a substitute for legitimate courtrooms. Differences of opinion are escalated to the point of being perceived as assaults, and “cancel culture” truly becomes a thing as citizens sentence one another to death for crimes against their fragile sensibilities.
Reading Outrage Level 10 reminded me of the way Lenin–and later Stalin–essentially took the reigns of the revolution’s government apparatus and steered the force it gifted them toward their political opponents and enemies of the state who did nothing more than offer dissenting opinions. In all respects, it applies here in America just as effectively. There’s a worthwhile message to be found in these pages, that the revolution doesn’t end when the old structures are taken away. A constant state of vigilance is required to keep the new structures honest and focused on the goals of the revolutionaries.
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