Outrage: Level 10 by Lucy Leitner is a novel of a possible future. Leitner is a journalist and advertising writer from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. She holds a master’s degree in journalism but has turned her interest to writing. Leitner has written several books, including Working Stiffs, and also had her shorter works published in anthologies and at godless.com.
In Leitner’s future a revolution changed America. Like so many revolutions, it was based on ideals, fairness, equality, and the good of the people. What happens after the revolution, like so many other revolutions, is vastly different from the original goals. The goals are still there but corrupted. It happened throughout history in the French and Russian revolutions, for example. What started as healthcare for all, an end to violence, and offensive behavior ends in mob rule egged on by key figures.
Several modern themes are carried to their limits: the role of the police, sensitivity/offensive names and behaviors, ending violence, our attachment to social media, and what Rousseau would call the general will. An interesting theme that is lightly played throughout the novel, and perhaps explains how society evolved into chaos, is the people’s lack of understanding of history. The people know the Holocaust and Tuskegee but don’t grasp the details or make the details fit their thinking.
At first, I thought this novel may have been a little simplistic on details, but I quickly came to realize that it was part of the satire of the new society. Leitner combines a unique type of humor in a dystopian society that seems to lift the reader above the harshness of the society. The characters are well developed and believable as well as the general plot. Leitner takes the seeds of today and lets them thrive in an uncontrolled environment of tomorrow. Thomas Jefferson said, “The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate.” Leitner shows us a democracy that rests on the foundation of an emotional electorate. Well Done.