How America’s Inevitable Autocracy May End

by Shelt Garner

While I talk a lot about there may be a civil war, I believe we’re going to just give up and become an autocracy. Which leads me to wonder how that autocracy may ultimately come to an end.

Political Extremism
In this scenario, while we drift through autocratic reign for decades, eventually, the regime grows too extreme — probably in the South — and, ultimately, the whole thing grows so unstable that it collapses in on itself. Sometime, maybe 40 or 50 years from now, a new American Republic is born.

Technological Advances
In this scenario, we reach something of a “Soft Singularity” because of Elon Musk and the whole globe’s economy grows unstable that our autocracy collapses and something new takes its place. We still have to put up with autocracy for decades, though.

Global Climate Change
In this scenario, the United States is something akin to a Russian political clone for generations until Florida sinks into the sea and that causes enough political chaos that a new Republic is founded.

The point remains — we’re fucked. Get out of the country if you can.

I’m Mildly Uneasy About Trevor Noah Leaving The Daily Show So Abruptly

by Shelt Garner

I’m not suggesting anything untoward about Trevor Noah leaving The Daily Show seemingly out of the blue. But, the more I think about it, something about him doing so doesn’t seem to make any sense.

You mean to tell me that Noah, who is pulling some high end girls left and right, would randomly, out of the blue, just leave The Daily Show without even giving any reason whatsoever? It would make a lot more sense if he was, say, on his way to replace James Corden at The Late Late Show.

That, I could understand.

Or something like that. Something where there was an obvious career upside for him leaving a show he’s been doing so well with for seven fucking years.

But, as I of this moment…nothing. He just decided to leave out of the blue. And, maybe, that’s exactly what’s going on. In fact, that’s probably what is going on.

So, good luck Noah. You’re going to do well wherever you land next.

James Bond’s Future

by Shelt Garner

The world is descending into fire and brimstone at an alarming rate, to the point that we may not live to see the next James Bond come out. But, just for fun, let’s mull how we might revamp the storied franchise.

A new Lisbeth Salander in the Bond universe?

The obvious “woke” answers are — a female James Bond. Or a black James Bond. Or an Indian female James Bond? But I think all those ideas kind of miss the point and might even kill the franchise.

What we need to do is for three movies turn Bond into the bad guy — sorta.

Use his status as the ultimate “legacy brand” to allow you to wallow in all the unwoke elements of his character one last time before even Bond is finally enveloped by the all powerful embrace of Hollywood wokeness.

Here’s how I would do it.

Have Bond up against a woman who wants the same McGuffin that he wants — or whatever. Someone who is his equal. While I think it would be neat if his foe was a Indian woman named Raj, I still believe that pulling Lisbeth Salander into the Bond universe would be a great way to juice the franchise in an interesting way.

My favorite Bond.

Get some young, tiny actress to play Salander and then let these two de facto superheroes have at it for three movies. I could see the whole thing being based on some sort of misunderstanding between the two of them. Bond does his usual Bond shit with a Bond girl…but…he’s a little too rough with her maybe? And this accidently roughed up Bond girl complains to Salander who decides to come after Bond with everything she’s got. Throw in them both wanting something from SPECTER then you really do have a three movie franchise on your hands. It would be so cool!

Given Salander’s absolute mortal code, having her fight it out with the old school, rakish Bond would be very entertaining. Salander could be a proxy for “woke Hollywood” sensibilities. Or something.

Anyway, the point is, doing something to put Bond in a bad light and then have him fight it out with the equally alienating Salander would be really fun because you could have people who took Bond’s side and people who took Salander’s side. In the end, of course, the misunderstanding is fixed and the two former rivals come to respect each other as they go their separate ways.

So Much Work To Do On This Novel

by Shelt Garner

I find myself reviewing Stieg Larsson’s writing and I’m taken aback by the difference between what he writes and my own ability. He’s so much better at putting his novels together in a coherent manner that I wonder what I’m missing.

The hardest job you’ll love.

What about how he did development am I missing? Did he do extensive character studies? Did he write a huge treatment the use that as the basis for his stories? I just don’t know. I’ve tried to reverse engineer what he did to the best of my ability, but it still seems like there’s something he did that I’m missing.

Though, to be fair to myself, I have to admit that my writing and storytelling abilities have gotten much, much better. All I seem to do these days is develop and write on this first novel in a projected six novel project….so something is bound to improve on the writing front eventually.

But I really need to buckle down and see if I can finish something — specifically a second draft — but sometime in spring 2023. That then gives me some slack to find beta readers / be a beta reader so I can querying in the fall 2023 querying season.

I am well aware that just finding a literary agent will be a huge deal — one of the greatest events of my life to date — and anything past that will be icing on the cake. But you have to believe. I really believe that I’m beginning to enter a new, more exciting phase in this project and some pretty cool stuff is just about to begin.

I hope. Of course, we could have a civil war just about the time I’m hoping to get this novel on shelves.

What To Do About James Bond (& Lisbeth Salander?)

by Shelt Garner

The core issue with Lisbeth Salander is, well, she’s not very nice or endearing. And to have her done right, she needs to really alienate the audience — the definitive anti-heroine. Then there is James Bond, who is, as a character, in something of a transitional phase.

Alicia Vikander

So, work with me here, why not have a three picture cross-over between Lisbeth Salander and James Bond? Have, for three pictures, Bond and Salander do some sort of twisted cat and mouse thing, where they both go after SPECTER for some reason.

Something that would cause them to hate each other but ultimately have sex in some cool way. Or something. Something that would make the audience go ooo and ahhh as the story progressed. As for who to play Salander in such a hypothetical three picture cross over, I think Alicia Vikander would be the perfect new version of Salander.

My favorite James Bond.

Now, some context.

If you REALLY wanted to get edgy, you still make Bond’s foe a woman, but you make her an Indian woman name Raj who hates Bond and all things British because of the legacy of colonialism.

Anyway, I think it would be cool to pit Salander against the new Bond for three movies. I think it would be a way to sort of ender a very interesting, but unlikeable character — Salander — to a new generation of audiences.

Thoughts On The Ebb & Flow of Novel Structure

by Shelt Garner

Well, it’s happening again. I think I have everything sorted out with this novel and then, as I actually sit down to write it…things start to change. Which, I think is probably a good thing. I means the story is dynamic and flexible — or that I’m dynamic and mentally flexible enough to finish a novel.

But it can be really discouraging because it means that this latest version of the novel is going to be it’s own thing. I can’t just coast through it, changing a little bit here and there as needed. It’s going to be totally different in some respects.

Add to this that I am now reading other people’s work — specifically Stieg Larsson — and I am really beginning to feel sad at how much I suck. And, yet, the point is to just tell the best story you can tell relative to what you can produce.

I can’t be expected to dramatically and suddenly produce Larsson quality copy, given that he was a professional journalist in Sweden when he sold three novels and I’m definitely more towards the “failed journalist” end of that particular spectrum.

I just can’t fake myself out. I have to move forward. I have believe in myself and get something done. I guess I’m just annoyed that I’ve done all this work and writing and I’m STILL not set in stone on some pretty basic elements of the story. I continue to play things by ear going forward.

It’s very annoying.

Man, I Don’t Know How To Feel Like A Woman

by Shelt Garner

I’m re-writing this first novel AGAIN, and I’m being really, really careful with this scene I’m working on where I describe my female protagonist. It’s so hard. I don’t want to look like either a leering, dirty old man or someone who is so clueless about how women might think about their bodies that female audience members throw the book across the room.

It’s tough. Really tough.

But I have decided to try to read other examples of men describing women — specifically, of course, Stieg Larsson depicting Lisbeth Salander describing herself from her own POV. It is helping, even if I keep being reminded at how much more talented Larsson obviously was than me.

And, yet, I can feel my storytelling and writing ability getting better. Larsson was, after all, a successful Swedish journalist when he wrote the Millennium series. As such, I can only be so hard on myself.

Things are getting so much better with this story overall. Each time I start a new iteration of this first novel, it gets just a little bit better. And there have been many, many versions of this story so far. An embarrassing number.

I just have to keep believing in myself. I have to stay focused.

At Some Point After 2030, Neo-Luddites (Gaians) May Be The New Crypto Bros

by Shelt Garner

If you assume that the United States is in for a severe political crisis between now and 2025, one that may linger until around 2030, then you find yourself wondering what happens at that point.

Well, I think there’s a good chance that things like Extinction Rebellion will fuse with a general rejection of technology to the point that there may be something akin to a “Neo-Luddite” Movement. It may call itself something else, like Gaianism or something, but it’s coming.

It will happen because of the very practical nature of how all the AI and automation goodies that Elon Musk is working on will come to a head at some point in the 2030s and probably transform the economy in ways none of us can possibly imagine.

If hard AI is running a huge chunk of our society and economy…then are we even still in control? And that might be the agenda of the Gaians. They would want a return to “human control” and, with it, a return to all those jobs that have been thrown into the dustbin of history.

We might even see something along the lines of a real world Butlerian Jihad where any form of hard AI is destroyed. Or something like that. It may be short lived because the benefits of hard AI to the environment will become so apparent…or it may not. We may have some sort of freaky Twelve Monkeys problem in the 2030s.

Anyway. Good luck.

How Can You Have A Political System If Most Conservatives Willfully Believe Lies About The Left?

by Shelt Garner

I’m afraid we have a dead shark, guys. Our political system is dead. When you have otherwise well educated, normal conservatives quoting the pretty surreal lies that MAGA Republicans say about anyone who’s not MAGA….shrug emoji. You’re totally, completely fucked.

The bad guys have won and now the issue is how do we mitigate things going forward, rather than having any sort of political system. I suppose our best case scenario at this moment is anyone who wants to get out of the country, can. That may be 10 million people, but, like, I said, that’s the best case scenario.

Since we can’t have that, I guess just being able to avoid a civil war and maybe having a military junta is our second best option? Then there’s a tie between civil war and fascist MAGA autocracy.

The Traditionalists in my family are all-in with fascism. They don’t really know that they are, but the policies they support are pure cut fascist in nature. They are squeamish about the threat of violence element of fascism….but everything else….all systems go.

So, I don’t know what to tell you. If you can get out the country, then do so.

Is Someone Interested In The ROKon Magazine Story?

by Shelt Garner

I wrote a post called, “I Was Famous Once, And Young” and it’s been getting an unusual amount of traffic for a site that gets, well, gets almost no traffic. All the post is about is my lingering grief — way too many years after the fact — over a failed “English journal” in Seoul called ROKon Magazine.

My favorite ROKon Magazine cover.

Now, I have a very — VERY active imagination, so obviously I think someone is going to use that fleshed out outline I gave a manuscript consultant who ghosted me as the basis of a screenplay. Or something dark and dire like that. Or, I don’t know…maybe Jennifer 8. Lee is somehow interested in what happened with the magazine and that is generating chatter in her huge friend group and they look for “ROKon Magazine” and find that specific post which a “ROKon Magazine” tag attached to it?

It’s all very curious.

If someone is actually interested in that bonkers story, well, that would be great. Just don’t steal the story so much that I can’t use it as the basis of my six novel thriller project I’ve been working on for years now.

Only time will tell, I guess. But, as I keep saying — make decisions on what you do know, not on what you don’t know.