Ah, MAGA 2020 & Beyond, the anthology that keeps on giving. Published in 2017 by right-wing sci-fi specialists Superversive Press, this book tried to imagine the glorious future awaiting America when Trump was re-elected, and now serves as an intriguing time capsule from a recently-evaporated era. If you’ve made it through the first, second, third and fourth posts in this series and still want more, here are a few more predictions that turned out to be just a tiny bit off…
“Insurance for Life” by Tamara Wilhite
An anti-abortion, private-companies-are-better-than-public-healthcare story. Trump has defunded Planned Parenthood, and a new option has arisen for women facing unplanned pregnancies: fertility insurance. With this plan, the mother of an unplanned baby will be granted a substantial sum of money to cover expenses, along with other safety-nets such as free accommodation during pregnancy. The main character is a woman who splits up with her boyfriend after she learns that he’s only interested in having the child so that he can net some of the insurance money.
As with a number of stories in the anthology, “Insurance for Life” would probably have been better off as a blog post. It’s a thin narrative stretched over a message but, in its favour, that narrative is at least reasonably well-constructed: the author adopts a gentle, empathic tone as she nudges us towards her point.
“The Great Joke” by Alfred Genesson
Blimey, that’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Alfred Genesson was a Rabid Puppy who ran a blog called The Injustice Gamer where he ranted about Neil Gaiman and tried to “trigger” people by informing them that Philip K. Dick was anti-abortion. Out of curiosity, I took a look at his blog and noticed that he took a long hiatus in 2018, but came back a few months ago to moan about how most modern horror fiction “is vile and normalizes evil” with the genre having been “long lost to degenerates.” Well, glad to be of assistance!
“The Great Joke” (Alfred’s sole published work of fiction, as far as I can tell) is inspired by “God-Emperor Trump” meme and posits a scenario in which Trump lives up to this nickname. After he’s elected, various liberal areas in the US rebel and start a civil war; the rebel forces are backed by North Korea, China and Venezuela. Meanwhile, Germany, France, Sweden and the UK are each on the verge of civil war as a result of allowing “invaders” in, and an alliance of Eastern Bloc countries are “now taking on the EU”. Trump is able to deal with this geopolitical turmoil: because he “meant what he said and got it done” he wins support from citizens who “were tired of lying politicians”. The twenty-second amendment is repealed, and Trump becomes effectively a monarch as the people simply don’t need to elect anyone in his place, while one of his sons is groomed to inherit the presidency.
The story is very brief, possibly because the author short-circuited his keyboard with drool.
“Equality” by Monalisa Foster
The year is 2036, and the location is Clinton – an enclave in San Francisco run along utopian left-wing ideals. No cars are allowed (save for electric vehicles that deposit deliveries) and firearms are deplored, with signs and warnings expected to be sufficient deterrent for violent criminals. Protagonist Libby (who thinks it’s sexist to call a woman “ma’am” and is so committed to animal rights that she dislikes even sitting on leather sofas) learns to her cost that these measures are not enough. One night a masked man assaults her, and she is saved from being raped and murdered only because a passer-by shoots the attacker dead. The gun-hating authorities of Clinton try to prosecute Libby’s saviour, but are overruled.
The ordeal throws Libby into emotional turmoil. She is dismayed that the karate lessons she’d been taking for self defence turned out to be of no use – so much so that she burns her black belt, even though this gets her a fine for polluting the air of Clinton. She also feels pity for the man who attacked her: after all, she has been taught that people only become evil because of things that went wrong in their lives.
Advised by her therapist to seek closure, Libby arranges a meeting with the person who killed the attacker. Expecting a macho vigilante, she is surprised to find that her rescuer is an elderly Hispanic lady who happened to be out looking for her cat that night, and who habitually carried a gun for safety. The two chat, and Libby eventually comes to the realisation that some people – like the man who attacked her – are just evil. The story ends with her taking up gun practice; a sign on the wall of the target range declares that God created men and women, but Samuel Colt made them equal.
Yep, we’re back for another tour of Strawmanopolis. The author tries valiantly to shape Libby into a multi-faceted protagonist, but the tone of smug condescension nonetheless permeates – and that’s really not the tone desirable for a story about a person dealing with the trauma of having nearly been raped.
And if you’re wondering about where Trump fits into this story, well, the gunwoman is saved from prosecution because “some Trump-appointed judge” ruled that the enclave is still subject to federal and state laws, while Libby’s parochial persona is established be her observation that a delivery driver “looked about as MAGA as they made them”.
Well, time for another break. Join me next time for a look at a batch of stories that are utterly horrible even by the standards of MAGA 2020 & Beyond!