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The Last Man on Earth: Erik Dargitz on the Odyssey of Fletcher

by Celina Tran

Erik Dargitz is a Seattle-based advertising creative director and author. His debut novel, The Odyssey of Fletcher is out on the 20th of October 2023 and available for pre-order.

Wedging itself into everything from dinner table talk to classrooms and children’s sleepovers is the question, “What would you do if you were the last person on Earth?” Seattle-based writer Erik Dargitz brings this distant, theoretical first-date icebreaker to reality in his debut novel.

The Odyssey of Fletcher is a marvel of a rib-tickler. It follows socially awkward, skinny, and self-conscious video game junkie, Fletcher. A global virus has wiped out the entire male population, but somehow, Fletcher is still kicking. In this new world, there are physicians, cults, and brutal gangs, all of whom have something in mind for him. Fletcher might be the last man you’d pick for the job, but he is the only one around. He tries his very best to be a real man, but this only leads to more problems… for him and humanity.

Hi Erik! How are you doing?

"I’m doing good, yeah. I keep telling people that I’m equal parts super excited and absolutely terrified [about the upcoming book release]. It’s been something really private, and I don’t really have a huge group around me that has read it, so I’m excited to see what people think. I hope they like it.”

The Odyssey of Fletcher, your debut novel, your baby - Tell me a little bit about it.

"Well, it’s my baby number one of the year. My wife and I are having a baby girl a few weeks after this book is published. What can I say about it? I’ve always loved that sort of satire that’s not all slapstick, but where you can also poke fun at bigger issues, so The Odyssey of Fletcher is essentially a book I would’ve wanted to read. It started out as an idea in my notes app that I thought was really funny, and then it just stuck in my mind and I eventually had to start writing it."

Your novel is obviously a pandemic book, did the inspiration for it come from the real-life COVID-19 pandemic?

"No, funny thing, it was actually a complete coincidence! I think I first put words to paper in 2018, and a draft was just finished in 2020, which is when the pandemic hit. We were all in lockdown when I asked my poor friends to read a pandemic book."

The Odyssey of Fletcher is obviously very humorous, but you also address and discuss the opposite situation – tell us a little about that.

"That topic is particularly interesting because, but if you were to flip it, you’d essentially get a Handmaid’s Tale type of book, and it really isn’t funny at all. You know, I get to put my name on the book, but there are so many people who should be credited for the ideas. That specific thing (the opposite situation) should’ve been addressed, but it wasn’t in the first draft. Nick Hodgson, my editor, actually had the idea to include it. "

There were times Fletcher wasn’t very likeable. Was this intentional?

"Without spoiling too much, Fletcher makes the situation worse by trying to be “man enough”, and I had to make him difficult to like at some points. Finding the line between a character being redeemable and completely unredeemable was difficult. I mean, can people find their way back? That was definitely a question I was playing with."

What can we expect from The Odyssey of Fletcher?

"My hope is that readers find a balance of humor and heart in the story."

This is your debut novel, and I know you have a few projects going on, but what is it that inspired you to start writing to begin with?

"My mom is very writing-driven, so I was exposed to books and writing early. She actually even worked as an author’s assistant for a while. She definitely sparked my love of writing. And then at some point I just decided to stop dreaming about writing a book and just give it a shot. But I’ve always loved the process."

And can we expect anything else from you anytime soon?

"Maybe! I have this other book I’m working on. It’s about a guy who gets caught between a Big Tech conspiracy and this underground anti-tech community. There’s a lot to be done, but I really like the idea. I learned a lot from writing The Odyssey of Fletcher, though, so in many ways this one feels easier to write!"

Oh, also! What’s something you would do if you were the last man on Earth?

"I love the question! It's a great one. What would I do if I were the last man on earth... Well, first I’d walk onto the nicest golf course I could find, some super private club—with no membership and no tee time. That’d be glorious. Then, I’d find the dopest house I could and make myself at home. Something with a huge pool for sure. Then I’d probably want to learn everything I could about solar power and get that up and running before the grid shut down or whatever. Then I’d be set. Oh, P.S. If there are still women in this scenario, like in Fletcher, I should probably add that my wife would be with me. She’ll definitely read this, after all."


The Odyssey of Fletcher is out the 20th of October 2023, and is available for pre-order now:


Website & Socials

Twitter (X): @dargitz22


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