Imagine a world where economic collapse has placed the general public into two classes: extremely rich and devastatingly poor. Where journalists are under siege but remain our only hope of getting to the truth. A world where a power-crazed megalomaniac tries to increase his influence by using wild ideology and fear of unknown threats.
It may seem like a story torn from the pages of today’s newspapers but it’s the basis for my young adult Sci Fi novel, The Nostradamus Code, set millennia into the future on a far distant human outpost. Written before a certain president’s unforeseen rise to power and before the term “fake news” permeated our consciousness like a hot meme it features a journalist as its hero. When I began writing the novel I feared for the future of journalism. I was afraid that the general public had grown tired of forking out money on newspaper subscriptions in favor of getting news snippets and sound bites from sexier sources than legitimate news sites. I wanted to remind readers of the important work journalists do in asking the difficult questions, not taking everything at face value and digging deep for the truth in our society. In a nod to the noir-ish elements of the story I call the journalists “Public Eyes” because it’s their job to bring corruption, crime and political scandal to the eye of the public.
Whatever fear I had for the future of journalism when I began writing the novel took a distant backseat to the horror of seeing the relentless onslaught it has had to face over the past year from forces on the right who are bent on delegitimizing mainstream news sources with their decries of “fake news!”. It seems a derisible and infantile response from a president faced with an uncomfortable truth but if enough people jump on the “fake news” bandwagon then eventually the public trust in mainstream media will become eroded to the point where the people in power can do what they want and declare any uncovering of their wrongdoing as fake and distract us with some fabricated non-issue. As Thomas Pynchon said, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”
I don’t ask you to buy a copy of The Nostradamus Code but please keep buying newspapers and help journalists continue to focus the public eye on the truth.
(First appeared as a guest blog on the Logikal Blog)