Mercury, the trickster planet of communication, turns retrograde today in Capricorn, the sign of power, government, the establishment. The electoral college also counts their votes today. Could be bedlam, folks. If so, let’s hope it’s bedlam that veers away from the scenario depicted in What If…
Dear Mr. Rodriguez,
My agent suggested that I write you about the protagonist in my newest Dystopian political thriller, What If… The character is a complete original. I believe he’ll appeal to readers who are looking for something totally fresh and different, something other than Jason Bourne and that hackneyed James Bond.
He’s a businessman who has never held a political office and yet, he runs for president. That’s fine; anyone can run for president. My protagonist is a con man who had a popular TV show and knows how to manipulate facts, how to tap into anger and fuel hatred and divisiveness. He has been accused of being a sexual predator by a dozen women, charges he denies. He promises to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants whom he refers to as murderers, rapists, and thieves.
He promises a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S., says he will nominate Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe V Wade, and oh, yes, he promises to jail his opponent. His wife – #3 – is an immigrant who posed nude for some magazine. He refuses to release his tax returns. He loves Putin. He’s a blatant racist, misogynist, liar, and narcissist and the media gives him so much free air time that he actually becomes a presidential candidate.
I think this character will set the standard for a new type of Dystopian thriller. I’ve attached a sample chapter.
This is the worst idea I’ve ever read for a Dystopian thriller.
This character is completely out of the realm of possibility and strikes me as an anti-hero, not anyone the public would care to read about.
June 7, 2014
This protagonist, sample chapter, and story line have possibilities. Can you make him a bit more twisted? Give me some more detail?
June 8, 2014
Dear Mr. Connor,
Thank you for your interest. More twisted? Sure. He wins the election two years from now, a tectonic shock to every pundit and pollster and reasonable person in America. Before he’s inaugurated, the intel community reveals that the election was hacked by the Russians. But my protagonist doesn’t read Intel briefings because, you know, “I’m a smart guy.” He thinks the intelligence community is never right – after all, he points out, they said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he never did – and that they are acting out of partisan politics. He conveniently forgets that it was Dick Cheney who claimed Saddam had such weapons.
Every day, he makes blunders that would bury another candidate, that would lead to impeachment before the president-elect had even taken office. But my protagonist is immune and goes on a gratitude tour, as though the campaign is still in full swing. He appoints cabinet members that are racists, Wall Street cronies, war mongers, idiots who intend to gut the safety nets of Medicare and Social Security. In other words, they target an entire generation of Baby Boomers who depend on those programs. Many of these Boomers are the ones who demonstrated against Vietnam, fought for equal rights for minorities and women, and no one is more shocked than my protagonist when these Boomers take up arms and start a new revolution.
Okay, I’m intrigued. Where does this new Boomer revolution begin? What happens? What are the specifics? What does your protagonist do about it? Does he jail journalists and protesters? Does he create camps for immigrants, rowdy Boomers, and anyone who disagrees with him?
My protagonist starts making lists of government employees who have come out in favor of policies he’s against. Climate change. The right of a woman to choose. The right to health care, a vote that counts, relief from crippling college debt, a livable living wage….
In other words, the lists are how he begins implementing some of Hitler’s tactics. And yes, these tactics include camps – for illegal immigrants and other minorities, the LGBT community, for journalists and all citizens who skewer him. In less than a year after his election, this businessman turns democracy upside down and inside out. Yet, the media continues to normalize him and many of them do it so they don’t end up in camps. He has decimated the American economy, the unemployment rate rises to a staggering double digits. The number of homeless in America has soared into the millions.
His supporters, of course, insist he isn’t doing this, that the media is twisting the facts.
I submitted your full manuscript to our committee. They love the book, but they find your Dystopian world disturbing. I regret that I must pass on this one.
July 22, 2016
Holy shit. Your protagonist just accepted the nomination. Is your novel still available? We can bring it out immediately as an ebook.
July 25, 2016
It’s already an ebook and has sold about 15 copies. My family and I have moved to Costa Rica. Even though the people here think our politics are nuts, they like Americans. They have universal health care. The people are friendly and kind. He’s going to win in November and if I were you, I would move elsewhere. Anywhere. I hear that Nova Scotia is offering refuge to Americans. Just get out now before he’s inaugurated.
November 8, 2016
My wife is hysterical tonight. My God, how did you know? We put our house on the market last month and have two offers. We’re accepting one of those offers in the morning. My parents moved last month to Spain. How is this happening?
November 10, 2016
The how is irrelevant. Just get out before January 20.
May 2, 2017
Amy, we made it out. We’re in Barcelona. Heard from a colleague today that our publishing house was closed down, that several progressive news channels were taken off the air, that progressive magazines and websites and blogs have folded, that internment camps are burgeoning. Roe v Wade is expected to be overturned soon.
May 4, 2017
Hey Pete, we’re okay. Costa Rica is on the ring of fire and we’ve had a few quakes recently, but nothing serious. These quakes are nothing compared to what’s happening at home. My heart is breaking. The Dems are too weak and divided to be of any use at all. I hear the Boomers are fighting the good fight. Unfortunately, I think it all came too late. I hope I’m wrong. Here’s my blog URL: www.fightingon.com We each do what we can, from wherever we are.
From The Washington Post
Today, the president issued extradition orders for every American citizen who left the country between July 1, 2016 and the present. “These people are terrorists who threaten the Homeland,” he said in a statement to CNN.