Outrage Level 10 by Lucy Leitner

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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Unfit by R. J. Benetti

Unfit is a fascinating mix of dystopian science fiction, bizarro, and splatterpunk that blends smoothly into a narrative that is equal parts disturbing, heartbreaking, and sardonically hilarious.
Clarissa has a crying baby in her cart. We’ve all seen it before, many of us having experienced it from Clarissa’s perspective.
It’s frustrating.
It’s embarrassing.
Other shoppers judge her as she desperately struggles to get the baby to be quiet…but nothing calms the infant.
There’s only one way to silence the crying and screeching, and this is where everything takes a particularly dark turn, followed by a few more turns.
R. J. Benetti has essentially written an episode of Black Mirror that hasn’t been optioned yet, and it’s almost a shame this isn’t a more visual medium, except that I’m not sure anyone would want to see this played out on screen.
If you’re looking for social commentary and bleak prognostication, this is the story for you.

This title was released as a Godless exclusive title that you can obtain for yourself by going to http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device. The link is below:


I Eat Babies by Gerhard Jason Geick

Continuing a tradition started by none other than the author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift, Geick presents not only a strong defense for the consumption of babies, but an entertaining glimpse into the future.
With food scarcity a real concern, what better solution than to devour babies and unwanted children?
As presented in A Modest Proposal, the argument was that it serves a twofold solution, removal of a hungry mouth from circulation and a suitable meal provided for those who might otherwise be starving. I Eat Babies provides us with a refreshed and reinvigorated baby eating platform for the modern age.
Using the drabble form, Geick succeeds in packing a hugely amusing–albeit perverse–collection of themed snippets of story into small packages. The important thing is that he does it well.
Personally, I have to say this is a successful teaser for his upcoming collection of drabbles, double drabbles, and pentadrabbles.
While I understand that this medium might not be for everyone, this collection has been made available for potential readers at no cost, so there’s no reason not to give it a chance. I know I will be picking up the new collection when it becomes available.
Maybe we can enjoy the new collection together, over a main course of baby stew?

This collection is available from http://www.godless.com or through the Godless app on your preferred mobile platform. The link is below:

I Eat Babies (Dark Drabbles Vol. 1.5) by Gerhard Jason Geick

Sweet Tooth by Matthew A. Clarke

If you take a dash of Brave New World, toss in a healthy dose of Bladerunner, and blend it all with a bit of sadism, you’ll end up with Sweet Tooth by Matthew A. Clarke. It’s a short story that overall feels like a transcript for an episode of Black Mirror.
The ultra-wealthy have finally done away with the poor and undesirable, and they’ve replaced those forgotten and discarded people with Hollows. Hollows are manufactured in bulk to perform the menial tasks and services the ruling class deems beneath them.
Candy is such a hollow, designed to be an escort–though not in a sexual sense, as she isn’t equipped with the necessary parts.
In tribute to the banality of all existence, we first discover Candy is becoming aware beyond her programming because she’s unhappy about someone else deciding how her hair should look. Other Candy models are disappearing, and there appears to be a man involved in those disappearances. Our Candy finds herself in the predicament of needing to unravel the mystery behind the missing hollows while maintaining her facade of going along with her base programming.
In a sense, this is a truly depressing, dystopian vision of a possible future, extrapolating on the income inequality and class warfare we already experience. More than that, it showcases that no amount of weeding out undesirables based on social status will erase the sort of people who become serial killers today. Those types of people will always find a new group of “less dead” as criminologist Steven Egger refers to the typical victims of serial murderers. Clarke captures that grim reality in this story.
Is there a happy ending?
Is such a thing even possible in a world like that?
You’ll have to read the damn story for yourself to find out.

Sweet Tooth is a Godless exclusive title available at http://www.godless.com or by downloading the Godless app on the mobile device you utilize for reading digital texts. The link for the story is below:

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi: Narrated by Almarie Guerra

Paolo Bacigalupi paints a grim portrait of America’s future in The Water Knife. It feels substantially grimmer when one considers just how plausible it might be.
We’re introduced to a global warming prediction come and gone, where the fertile regions for farming and ranching have shifted hundreds of miles to the North of where they are today, as the desert inexorably reclaims the land we’d believed we tamed. Water has become the most valued resource we have and is finally treated as being as precious and necessary as it has always been.
Southern states have sealed their borders against one another and the National Guard of those respective states have become the private military forces enforcing those border separations and the water rights of the territories they patrol.
Perhaps more horrifying than the abject human misery and exploitation we find within this narrative, there’s a bleak dystopia that’s taken hold. The separation between corporate interests and the interests of the state has become more blurred than they are in the world we see around us today.
The characters we meet and follow through this twisted tale of espionage, cruelty, and power struggles are well-developed and fully three-dimensional in a way that breathes a searing, dust-filled life into the story. As the Nevada water knife, the journalist, and the Texas refugee follow their separate threads throughout the story, those threads become a tangled web of intrigue, betrayal, and murder.
Bacigalupi displays a keen understanding of people, human nature, and the drastic toll we’ve taken on the world around us to an extent that is both depressing and almost awe-inspiring. It’s virtually impossible not to love this book even as the story itself leaves the reader/listener feeling hollowed out and helpless. Unlike so many dystopian glimpses of our future, this one lacks some magic solution to resolve the underlying failures of the society involved. The mystery is solved for the readers, but we’re left with no sense of satisfaction that resolution is just around the corner, and that makes this book more honest than many.
The narration of the audiobook is expertly performed by Almarie Guerra, tackling the characters well enough that they all feel as if they’re distinctly separate voices within the audio edition of this novel.