Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Water Thief” as Want to Read:
The Water Thief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Water Thief

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  245 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
CHARLES THATCHER is a private citizen, which is to say that he’s the private property of the Ackerman Brothers Securities Corporation. He’s got problems: the cost of air is going up, his wife wants to sell herself to another corporation, and his colleagues are always trying to get him tossed into the lye vats.

But when he discovers a woman stealing rainwater, he sees his ch
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 20th 2012 by CreateSpace
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 16, 2012 Bluestocking rated it it was amazing
As one harbinger dies, another rises to take his place

It seems fitting that Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451 and the mid-twentieth-century prophet of today’s world, should have died this week. For those of us who ever doubted the veracity of his predictions, let us take a good look around, at a society that has grown increasingly alienated by endless reality shows on flat-screen TV’s, a constant feed of iPod music through our ear buds, and subsequent self-medication through junk food and r
Martha Bryce
Jun 05, 2012 Martha Bryce rated it it was amazing
This is not a fun easy beach read but if I had my way, it would be on every high school required reading list. A futuristic, dystopian society, where all is valued according to its value, real or perceived to the corporation, The Water Thief carries within it the warning of the seeds that we Americans are sowing for our future generations. This is fiction that could easily become reality if we, the individuals, do not make the effort to change the seeds being sown. In its own way, it carries the ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Sheila rated it really liked it
More 2084 than 1984, Nicholas Lamar Soutter’s The Water Thief is set in a near-future dystopia where corporations have taken over from government, perception is more important than truth, and usurping a legitimate businesses right to regulate water might result in a death sentence—all for the common good of course. Socialism and big government are equally scorned as failed enterprises of the past. Human sympathy is the folly of the weak. And “futures” are sold, freedoms willingly traded off in t ...more
3,5 stars.

I hesitate how to rate this book. The premise certainly gets five stars. There are many dystopian books, but most of them deal either with a tyrannical government or with a post-apocalyptic future where society has collapsed. Society has not really collapsed in "The Water Thief". There is social order, order where unbridled capitalism and corporations rule.

The problem with the novel is its execution. Not that the writing is bad, or that there is no plot. But sometimes I had the impre
May 31, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
OK, remember when the nasty waiter in Dirty Dancing hands Baby the copy of "Atlas Shrugged" and says, "Give it back to me, I have notes in the margins?"

THIS is the book Baby should have handed back to him. This book details everything that is wrong with Ayn Rand's view of the world and what really happens if you let the "free market" take over. It is a case for regulation not as a limit to the market but as a critical protection for the human beings the market is supposed to serve. This book is
Jun 23, 2012 Visakh rated it it was amazing
Ever since H.G.Wells wrote When the Sleeper Wakes, dystopian societies have been a favorite subject amongst authors and readers alike. Twentieth century's writers painted vivid pictures of multitide of such societies and they let our imagination run wild.

After Battle Royale of Koushun Takami in 1999, the standard of dystopian literature took a deep plunge. With the release of the The Hunger Games trilogy, the quality of such works reached an all time low. The success of such books also make us
Jun 11, 2012 Keeley rated it really liked it
This is my first Goodreads Giveaways book I received, and if all that follow entertain me as much, I will be quite happy.

For the story itself, I have to admit that when I began it, I thought "oh dear, this guy is a great storyteller but this seems to have a biased agenda of anti-capitalism". While I enjoy the dystopian genre, I sometimes get a headache when people are too much against one certain thing, as though they had given no other issues a probing look as well. Upon reading some of the com
Mar 19, 2013 Kat added it
I was very excited to receive this as a Goodreads giveaway. :)

The premise is excellent but the execution lacking. I have the same complaint with Soutter's characters that I did with Ayn Rand's: they are one-dimensional devices created to express the author's philosophy. The main character is written as a clueless idiot so that he will ask questions in order to give the other characters a reason to launch into a monologue of their ideals. The story is an excuse to hold a debate on capitalism, and
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Silly me, I thought this was actually going to be a book about "water issues"... it a book about corporations. It is a world where corporations have taken over and rule the world.. Every aspect of a person;s life "costs" something. Greed, competition and lying abound. There is a price for everything.
The story is about Charles Thatcher, a mid-value worker in a world run by corporations. Even parents sell their childrens "futures" to the corporations.
Charles Thatcher begins to question the system
Jul 25, 2013 Frank rated it it was ok
Reasonably well written, the spelling is good and the punctuation is meticulously correct. The book has a plot based on an interesting contrivance: government is dead and gone, corporatism has won the day, and every human interaction has a financial accounting context. I found the narrative tedious and boring, there's no relief from the deadly, asocial mutual victimization. There's no story arc, no narrative thread, wooden characters and contrived conflict. The author intends this to be a counte ...more
Jul 12, 2012 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: dystopic
3.5 stars
This book was a Goodreads giveaway I received in the mail.

The plot of this book surveys the influence of corporations and the power they wield over individuals. The protagonist, Charles Thatcher, questions the shape of his environs and grapples with understanding why things are the way they are, how they came to be and how to cope/change the current course of his environs.

I found the world Charles found himself in to be one that is psychologically chilling. The premise of a world cons
Aug 08, 2012 Kammie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I am so excited to have won my first book! I can't wait to read it and post my review!
I have been looking high and low for the book that would point out all the horrible consequences of Ayn Rand's ridiculously simplistic, destructive pseudo-"philosophy" of objectivism. I hate everything that woman ever wrote with a passion. Not only that, she's a very mediocre novelist. But Ayn Rand created the Cradle of Multinational Corporate Selfishness, and all the neocons and tea party types still think she's just the bees knees, even after the real estate debacle and the bankster's feloniou ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Lily rated it liked it

This book really reminded me of a movie I recently watched with Justin Timberlake called 'In Time' (2011). This movie is set in a futuristic age where people live to the age of 25, then a clock on their wrist activates and counts down a year. Time is actually the currency of this world, and you work to get more time, you use time to buy the things you need, etc. It was actually really really good so I recommend you check it out.

The reason why I am bringing this up is that in this movie, there i
Aug 15, 2015 Evangelos rated it it was ok
With all the economic troubles the U.S. and the world has faced these past several years, I was fired up to read a book that dealt with economic issues. The novel hooked me at the beginning. I wanted to see what this world was like. I soon began to realize that this "future dystopian" society is not too different from our current economic and political state. The majority of Americans are strangled by debt, working very hard to pay for nearly everything they do, and too desensitized from politic ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Paul rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
6/28/12: The author contacted me directly, asking me to read & review his self-published novel. I agreed, but have only been able to get to it in installments. Now, however, I should be able to finish it. I must say, it's pretty good. Review pending.

7/5/12: Right after I wrote the in-progress entry, above, I ran into a long segment consisting of two characters talking about life under a republic, almost a Socratic dialog, and I thought "uh oh." My premonition was correct, for this long conve
Sarah Weathersby
I really wanted to love this book. I first got into dystopian novels in high school in the '60s with George Orwell's 1984, and Animal Farm. I even wrote a term paper on the works of Orwell, after I also read some of his earlier work including Keep the Aspidistra Flying and Coming Up for Air. I was the first person to check both of those out from the public library.

I love the concept of fighting against a society where capitalism rules. Everything is for sale. Parents sell futures on their childr
Jan 04, 2015 Trish rated it it was ok
Would have given it two but the formatting was fucking awful (it has the word "page" written before each page number). Excellent concept. The plot, when it existed, was good. But there was a lot of polemic masquerading as dialogue (as in most of the book), a lot of clever one liners that didn't really do anything for the plot. Wants to be noir. Only succeeds in being slightly annoying.

Politically, the book was written by the most annoying anarcho-liberal you ever met at Occupy. You know the one,
C Lynn
Feb 22, 2016 C Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A response to Ayn Rand, this is a libertarian dystopia in which corporations rule. It's a rather extreme vision where people are believed (and encouraged) to act solely on their economic self-interest. People sell their futures or even their children's futures to corporations so most are to varying degrees debt slaves. When a person's futures lose too much value s/he can be sold for organs or sent to the rendering vats for soap. I enjoyed this dark vision and a plot in which the protagonist, in ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Kim rated it it was amazing
Yep, 5 stars because this book will stay with you for a long time. A world where capitalism is king, and selfishness is taken to a new level. Fair warning, there is not much that is warm and fuzzy about this book, it is most definitely a serious read.
Mar 31, 2015 Chip rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Loved this book. Plan on rereading it again soon.
May 25, 2012 Brantley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who have studied political philosophy prior to reading.
Recommended to Brantley by: Author's review request
Shelves: fiction
The author of this work posted an add somewhere on Goodreads asking for people to review his work. I enjoy dystopian works, so I put down Brave New World for a day to knock this one out.

I tend to stay away from reviewing fiction most of the time. Something in me does not want to be overly critical of a world that does not actually exist. Therefore, I will only touch briefly on the design of Mr. Soutter's world of corruption. Instead, I will cover the implications of the work and the entertainme
Gil T.
Jun 24, 2012 Gil T. rated it it was amazing
When it comes to dystopian type stories, “1984,” “A Brave New World,” et. al, there is always a lesson to learn or a possible warning about how certain extremes can create a bleak future. This book is no exception. “The Water Thief” tells of a near future where democracy is not only dead, but that it was killed by capitalism. I remember reading Ayn Rand’s book, “Atlas Shrugged,” and learning that corporations and the rich are needed for the world to continue to exist. This book approaches those ...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Review originally posted at Layers of Thought.

John’s quick take: A dystopian tale about what happens when corporations and capitalism replace government and democracy.

John’s description: Charles Thatcher belongs to Ackerman Brothers Securities Corporation, one of the biggest corporations in a near-future world where all governments have disappeared, to be replaced by businesses whose only concerns are making money and beating the competition. Generosity and free access to anything are believed
Remy Benoit
Nov 03, 2013 Remy Benoit rated it it was amazing
This work by is an absolute must read for everyone who holds precious freedom of choice.
Indeed, it is a must read for everyone who cherishes life, growth, creativity, love, freedom.

We are besieged by the machinations of the corporate world, by lobbyists, by political spin, by rough riding unlimited campaign contributions designed to buy votes. We are cheated in school by often being given 'feel good history' as opposed to real history in all its blood, pain, growth, war, victory, failure, nastin
Jan 04, 2015 Tira rated it really liked it
I picked this up on the recommendation that it was the world that Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged Utopia would be. Having read Rand and given her work much thought as it became more politically popular, I was curious where a writer might go with it, and rather than Utopian it is a quite Dystopian novel. It is, for readers of Rand, as though the author inhabited Rand's character of Cheryl Taggart-the shop girl turned wife of the powerful James Taggart, only to learn he neither admirable or capable, but ...more
Dec 23, 2013 Patty rated it really liked it
This book imagines a world sometime in the future where the form of rule is Capitalism and everything - and I do mean everything - is for sale. From the moment you are born you have a value and your futures are bartered and sold by your parents. You have a computerized ledger that tracks your "caps" and you pay for your air, your water and even your friends. In this dystopian world we meet Charles Thatcher, a mid level employee of Ackerman Brothers Securities Corporation - or rather he is owned ...more
Apr 19, 2015 Romie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stranger approached me at a conference and handed me a copy of this book, because based on some things he'd heard me say, he thought I might like it. That stranger was the author, Nicholas Soutter, and he's right — I do like it. It's essentially an American retelling of 1984: bureaucratized trust-no-one totalitarianism founded on Objectivist instead of of Leninist principles.

This is a conscious dialog, sometimes explicit in the text, which is often funny. In Soutter's world, all transactions
4 1/2 Stars

What an incredibly intelligent and interesting read! The world building was well-developed and very believable for a possible future. A future completely controlled by corporations in which citizens are classified by how useful they are to the corporation they are tied to. A future where everyone's perceptions of the world they live in are closely monitored and manipulated by the ruling corporations. A future where the corporations are the ruling power; governments have been long sinc
Jun 11, 2012 Patcarnaroli rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Engulfed in politics, philosophy, and the workings of the human psyche (whether such workings be for better or for worse), The Water Thief engages in the very same debate which has quite recently brought many people to simultaneously admonish the ideals held under socialistic values and praise - often with a sense of national pride - the individualistic sense of autonomous detachment which the Age of the Corporation endures.

The story provides a level-headed ap
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Degranon: A Science Fiction Adventure
  • Pipe Dreams
  • For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America
  • Writing from the Center
  • Creation
  • Eden's Root (Eden's Root Trilogy, #1)
  • Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now
  • Paradise
  • The Spiritual Life of Children
  • The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods
  • Shopping for Buddhas: 25th Anniversary Edition, with a New Preface by the Author
  • Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets
  • Georgia on My Mind and Other Places
  • Reveille for Radicals
  • Nano Comes to Clifford Falls: And Other Stories
  • Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit
  • The Big Jump
  • Darklandia

Share This Book

“Never tell the same lie twice. Lies have to be fresh, constantly changing. You cheat on your spouse, come up with a new excuse every time you're home late. Don't, and you get eaten.” 5 likes
“Sarah Aisling: I can’t defend against these charges because I can’t afford a litigator. But I can’t afford a litigator because I’ve been charged.

Judge: You should have had insurance against contract suits.

Sarah Aisling: I did.

Judge: So what’s the problem?

Sarah Aisling: They canceled my insurance when I filed the claim.

Judge: So sue them!

Sarah Aisling: I can’t, I don’t have a litigator.

Judge: That’s very cute, Mrs. Aisling.”
More quotes…