Reality™ 2048: Watching Big Mother


Worth reading 😎

This book is a discussion on the consequences of constant bombardment of marketed information, and what this entails for objective truth.

Derek Cressman’s Reality™ 2048: Watching Big Mother tells the story of Vera, a working “Establishment” member living in a highly advertised, commercialized world where social media, false advertising, and exaggerated facts have almost become a permanent virtual reality. In Los Angeles 2048, Vera is unassumingly involved in the industry dedicated to tailoring and distorting mass news in order to promote unnecessary consumerism and hide important issues under the guise of misinformation. Vera becomes increasingly repulsed by the ruling Establishment and looks for her own independence. She falls in love and involves herself with other dissatisfied individuals, all while under the constant threat of being “upgraded” to a permanently monitored mental screening device.

This books dwells on the present problem of extremely edited news in order to trigger reactions to scenarios that are barely real so that attention is deviated from actually important events. This comes hand in hand with our current world of all-around ads and commercials and branded content, fighting for the relevance of entertainment and consumerism over truth and substance. The world in this book is a very extreme version of our current one. The planet is divided into two political continents; Globalia and Chinasia, and into two social classes: Establishment and Vue. Everyone has either a MyndScreen or a MyScreen, a device which is inserted into the brain or used as a helmet which immerse the user into a fully virtual reality populated by ads, reality television, and a Chatterfeed (the global social media a bit like Twitter). This fabricated reality gives some insight into the current world, for example, it seems to suggest that constant stimulation requires a steady stream of information, and in order to break through this norm of steady streaming, protests and terrorism become more pointed and sadistic to provoke reaction.

The ideas in this book are very insightful anticipations based on accurately represented current problems. Some characters and the development of the plot itself, however, fall short of the mark. The relationship between Vera and Chase, for instance, is very strangely concocted and is too abrupt to be convincing. Their behavior as a couple is also inconsistent, as they find places where MyndScreen signals don’t work as though being together were dangerous and illegal even though it isn’t. They additionally take pictures and share them thus expunging their efforts anyway. The character development of Aneeka Randall just plainly fails to follow any logic and is just a meaningless tool that pushes Vera into wherever the plot needs to go.  Vera additionally sometimes says things in dialogue that were never hinted at before and therefore come out as surprising and distancing to the reader. The construction of characters is gapped and is perhaps the most flawed aspect of the book.

Interestingly, this book is set apart from perhaps the majority of sci-fi books in that it provides a history to its imagined future. There is a large portion of the book (about 40 pages) dedicated purely to Vera reading a historical account of how this world came to be. Although it is innovative to provide such a detailed account of the intricacies which make up the author’s speculation towards the future, this text is spending a lot of effort on details which are not immediately relevant. Additionally, it self-acknowledges that “this book dumps a whole lot of really important information on you, but it doesn’t engage you. A good book should show, not tell” (202). With this in mind, Cressman’s choice to still write a woefully unengaging and not very necessary historical account is baffling, even if he is trying to make a point of how entertainment wins over information.

In this book, ideas are interestingly played out and are very relevant to how humanity live their lives every day, technologically speaking. Although the actual characters and plot need more work, this Orwell-inspired confrontation of globalism, capitalism, and modern supporters of Ayn Rand (both of who are mentioned) is a good discussion on how far detached reality has become. This discussion overall refers mainly to marketed data and commercialized information based for manufactured social identities which exist only online, and how objective truths are purposefully hidden in a sea of loud, provocative, and unimportant news bites. If propaganda and entertainment television were to gain even more power, then our reality would also turn into a Reality™. The dystopia presented in this book is not, at this point, such a far cry. Although much of the “speculation” element of speculative fiction is erased, Cressman’s ideas have an evident basis and for this, this book is worth a read. 

Reviewed by

Book editor, freelance content writer, and translator with a literature MA. I'm passionate about all kinds of literature and art. I enjoy editing, reading, and writing creative and informative content to the best of my abilities. Originality, insight, and entertainment are priorities for me. #Scifi

About the author

Derek Cressman has written two non-fiction books, The Recall’s Broken Promise and When Money Talks, which received an honorable mention in the 2016 Foreward INDIES Book of the Year Awards for political science. He edits and writes for The People’s Rule, an online journal for democracy. view profile

Published on May 22, 2019

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80000 words

Genre: Dystopian

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