20 Feb 2015
JOHN CLARKE on Denis Beckett and his latest two books: Demogarchy and Drowning the Lifesaver
I doubt even Shakespeare would have had the genius to script in fiction what veteran maverick Denis Beckett has just done in fact.
He has managed to get a paid commission to write a book for the most dystopian, autocratic company since Cecil Rhodes’ British South Africa Company, while simultaneously writing another book that rivals Thomas More’s Utopia for its vision of a perfected, democratic, and contented society. The generous commission from the company, which epitomises “oligarchy” (rule by a few), effectively cross-subsidised the writing of a book that epitomises the complete opposite – “the rule of all”. There is not even a word for the latter, so Denis had to coin one: “Demogarchy”.
Both books attest that he is an extremely talented writer motivated by a Dickensian vocation to bring about a society of just mercy and merciful justice. He defected from law to journalism because he wanted to be paid to search for truth “where I thought I might find it” rather than “come to a conclusion pre-determined by a client or employer”.
Denis is quite open with potential clients that “you buy my time, not my pen”. Still, I feared that if the oligarch knew that Denis was donating some of his left over time to mentoring/tormentoring me in the craft of authoring books, they might show hesitation, notwithstanding his reputation for truthfulness and honesty.
Read the full article in the Daily Maverick