Earlier this year I reviewed MAGA 2020 & Beyond, an anthology from 2017 in which a band of right-wing science fiction authors imagined the glorious future that would result from Trump’s re-election. My general assessment was that it hadn’t aged very well.
Not all of the authors involved were deterred, however, and on October 30 2020 – days before the election – the book received a spiritual successor entitled Divided we Fall: One Possible Future. Granted, the two are from different publishers and the overlap in contributors is fairly small (they share two authors and a cover artist) but nonetheless, MAGA 2020 & Beyond and Divided we Fall are two takes on the same premise: that the 2020 election will lead to either a shining city on a hill under Trump, or a swampy dystopia under the Democrats.
So, having covered each and every story in MAGA 2020 & Beyond, I decided to take the plunge into its unofficial companion piece. Wish me luck.
“Fourth Estate” by Mack Henckel
Written from the perspective of a fictional journalist, Victor Parker, who began his career under Reagan; while brought up a Democrat he had eventually become a conservative by the time Trump was elected – although he maintained a non-partisan persona so as to avoid the ire of the liberal media. The first half of “Fourth Estate” is taken up by a potted history of US electoral politics and Parker’s own life story (which has a distinct feel of being semi-autobiographical) but the narrative reaches its point with 2020. First, Parker looks into the protests following the murder of George Floyd:
When some independent YouTube reporter types began finding things like preprinted professional signs as well as pallets of bricks left in convenient places, I pounced […]If this lead where I thought it did, I could get so much fame, it wouldn’t matter if I damaged a famous brand left of centre. Far left of centre.