This story keeps changing, even though the general concept is pretty stable now. I’ve pretty much decided there will be a planned for books in this series — at least — and not the original three. Having a fourth book will do a lot to improve the overall story telling I believe.
A major subplot of the novel I’m working on will be a presidential campaign that takes place kind of in the background and is used as something of a framing device. It is used because a presidential campaign is a great way — at least in my view — to slip in a lot of exposition as well as help explain some of the context of the story.
I still believe a lot of people need catharsis when it comes to what happened in 2016 and reading about it in fiction will likely do the trick. I mulled making the campaign allegory the entire novel’s plot, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the opportunity for a Hero who was involved in all that, but not direction. He has is own political issues he has to deal with, but he has a huge interest in the outcome of the race.
Anyway, it’s not going to be a direct 1-to-1 allegory. It’s going to be really muddled and maybe even so much so that it’s kind of comical. But the influence of what happened between Trump and Clinton will definitely be there. I hope that people respond in a positive manner, but a lot of it has to do with if my writing ability is up to the task.
As you may — or may not — recall, Charlie Manson was fond of The Beatles song Helter Skelter because he saw it as sort of the anthem of a coming race war in the United States. I would propose that you can make the case that there is a spiritual bridge from the Manson Murders to the Trump MAGA fuzzy collection of hateful ideas that now run the country.
Let’s take a look at what was going on in 1969. The whole point of the Manson Murders, as I understand it, is Manson thought if he murdered some people and somehow magically pinned it on African Americans he could start a race war. I would suggest that now 50 years later, we essentially have Donald Trump as the spiritual successor to Charlie Manson as president.
Trump is using the power of the bully pulpit to divide the United States in a way that’s not been seen since the Civil War. He really seems like he’s itching for a race war. And, you have to admit that while Trump may not be a psychopath like Manson, he sure damn well is a sociopath. the man is completely devoid of empathy.
Once you look at Trump and Manson critically, it definitely seems as though the dark vision of Manson saw 50 years ago is coming true under Trump’s watch. The extreme Right definitely seems one step away from itching for a race war, is all I say. They really want a white ethno-state replacing the “city on a hill” that I was told America was when I was growing up. Maybe Trump’s Manson-like worldview is watered down, but it’s definitely there.
Both Manson and Trump see as America as intrinsically white, the only difference is the means they use in an effort to divide the nation. Manson used brutal murders, while Trump uses Twitter. But their goes are identical — establish terror in the hearts of the white majority towards the goal of a dystopian white ethno-state. If I worked at The New Yorker or The New York Review Books, I would write about 3,000 words on this.
Alas, I’m just a loser nobody working on a scifi novel that provides me 200,000 words to do much the same if in an extremely diffused manner.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He is working on his first novel. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
Absolutely no one listens to me. All I do all day at this point is work on a scifi novel. But I do find myself — again — thinking that Taylor Swift needs to cover the great old rock song Would I Lie To You. She’s got the pipes to cover it well and it would be a perfect way for her to go full boar rock star on us.
But I’m just daydreaming. No matter how much I want rock to come back before I drop dead, it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. And, yet, if Taylor Swift came out with a rock album it might be a game changer. The reason why that particular song might appeal to her is she obvious has some serious hang-ups about people having the goods on her and she apparently thinks everything thinks she some sort of snake.
Anyway, Tay-Tay, I think you might single-handedly bring back rock music for a least a cultural moment if you were to plug in an electric guitar and freak the fuck out on stage with a great rock song like Would I Lie To You.