A New Edition From Strange Particle Press . . .

Friday, November 16, 2018

DONALD JESUS TRUMP IN THE YEAR 2034


I laughed when I saw it. Usually, books with titles like America 2034: Utopia Rising are awful--political tracts disguised as fiction. Sometimes they’re weird enough to be unintentionally hilarious. With the midterm election nearing and body count rising, I could some sicko laughter.

Then I read the blurb on the back. Futurist satire? Donald Jesus Trump? Force fields? The United Enterprises of America? I bought it.

After all, these are sicko times.

Besides, it begins with a character named Winston Smith (born in 1984) needing to take a piss. When I start a book with a scene like that, I’m setting that mood for irreverent shenanigans . But then that’s me . . .

I was bowled over by the torrent of craziness. I was reminded of my reading of new wave speculative fiction back in the Nixon years. Jonathan Greenburg has a wild imagination and keeps the weirdness coming hot and heavy.

Not only is there the United Enterprises of America, a Trump-centric, sociopathic fascist/corporate state, but also the United Peoples of America, a “Wetopia” held together by the telepathic effects of the hallucinogenic plant ayahuasca. A dystopia and a utopia--in conflict-- presented at the same time.

The Enterprises is a fiendish and brutal riff on what America under Trump could become. It's grotesque to the point that even a lot of Trump haters would be offended. Real policies and beliefs are taken to horrifying extremes. I won't go into any details, but it, like Trump, boldly goes into Adults Only underground comix territory.


Too bad he has no shame and is immune to satire!

On the other side, the Peoples seems to be based on conservatives fear and believe about liberals. It consists of the “Left Coast,” separated from the Enterprises by a force field technology and connected to a drug-induced We Are All One philosophy. Would Elon Musk, Larry Page, and Eric Snowden buy into what is essentially a mind-control cult?

If Greenburg is making a point about polarization and the dangers of cult-thinking--Trump’s appeal is that of a cult leader--it’s so subtle I missed it, and there isn't that much subtlety in this novel. 

I’m reminded of hippy-dippy naiveté circa 1969: “Like, wow, man, if we could just slip Nixon some acid, he’d see the light, and bring the troops back from ‘Nam, y’know?” I’m pretty sure that Hunter Thompson, William Burroughs, Abbie Hoffman, and even Timothy Leary would have laughed.

But I’m not sure if Greenburg is going for laughs here. His publisher is called Informing to Empower Media, which is straight out of the novel. Could it all be a “things go better with ayahuasca” commercial?

No matter. It's fucking bizarre. So much so that it manages be stranger than the latest headlines, which is quite an accomplishment.

I just hope that in a few years, we’ll be laughing at how outrageous it is, rather than being amazed over its accurate predictions. 

. . . I wrote the above before the midterms, and headlines are getting even stranger. There's a whole lot of meltdown and disintegration going on. My laughter gets even more sicko.

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