SF, Fantasy, or Alternative History?

I’ve written science fiction and fantasy professionally for slightly more than 47 years, and if I’d put some of what has been in the news in recent days and weeks, any editor I’ve ever had would have said, “That’s not believable. Not even close.” Or words to that effect.

We have a President telling a rally that Californians wear special masks that they can’t take off even when they’re eating.

Friends and neighbors are claiming that the requirement for protective masks to curb the spread of a virus are instruments of oppression and tyranny. I mean, cloth or surgical masks aren’t anywhere like tools of torture.

The acting head of Utah public health lifted the mask requirement for Iron County because the rise in cases has only been 20%, as opposed to the record numbers of cases and hospitalization in adjoining counties.

Right-wing militia members plotted to kidnap and execute a female governor for enforcing public health measures. When Trump condemned the governor’s public health measures at a campaign rally, the audience responded by chanting “Lock her up!”, to which Trump replied,”Lock ’em all up.”

The President is claiming that the country has “turned the corner” and heading in the right direction as case numbers and hospitalizations are reaching new highs in many places and increasing in 41 of the 50 states. What’s even stranger is that huge numbers of people believe him.

The same President is claiming that children ripped from their parents arms are being treated “so well.”

And that in the steepest economic decline in ninety years that United States has had the best economy ever under him.

Or that he holds international meetings in his own luxury hotel chain and bills the government, in fact, overcharging the government – three dollars for every glass of water, for example.

He continues to insist at his rallies that Mexico is paying for his wall, but every dollar has come from U.S. taxpayers, often shifted from other federal programs.

He claims that five foreign auto makers are building new manufacturing plants in the U.S. when no plants have been even announced, let alone built.

Interestingly enough, Trump offers the most lies the most often in forums and media where they can’t refuted as the lies they are or can’t easily be refuted, just like an evil genius would in a F&SF book… except a fictional book based on Trump couldn’t ever have been published except as a farce – at least until now – because editors would have rejected it for being too improbable.

6 thoughts on “SF, Fantasy, or Alternative History?”

  1. Tom says:

    Trump’s Already Won

    A consequential presidency has enabled peace and prosperity.

    WSJ Opinion

    Wonder Land: Joe Biden is Bernie Sanders in sheep’s clothing. Compared to the Democrats’ grim vision of America, President Trump is the optimist.

    By Maria Bartiromo and James Freeman Oct. 30, 2020

    Win or lose, America’s 45th president deserves credit for a more competitive economy, a nation at peace and a secure rule of law. Donald Trump doesn’t trample Americans’ rights. He doesn’t start wars; he ends them. And he makes comments that offend people. The cost of supporting Mr. Trump is enduring awkward moments when he says things that presidents shouldn’t say. The benefit is that he champions U.S. liberty and prosperity, and a thriving America is a benefit to the world. …

    “What me Worry?”

    1. Tom says:

      The NZ herald reports a Travel Advisory out for the US. Not to do with Covid-19.

      Since the Trump Administration is pushing the liberty of isolation and Nationalism successfully we can continue to ignore the alternative history prevalent in the rest of the world. At least until we need some resource we do not have.

  2. Postagoras says:

    You have to remember that Trump hosted The Apprentice for 14 seasons. His schtick has to be a popular one.

    Whenever I speak with someone who is aghast that Trump is President, I ask them if they ever watched The Apprentice. And, pretty much, the answer is No.

    But a ton of people had to be watching. This cartoon version of an executive tickled the fancy of many Americans before Trump ran for office.

    His manner and the assured way that he believes his own BS is very convincing for many people.

    As has been said many times, his supporters take him seriously but not literally. And his detractors take him literally but not seriously.

    1. Anyone, whether they agree or disagree, who doesn’t take Trump seriously and literally doesn’t know what’s going on… and that’s putting it politely.

    2. Tom says:

      I watched some Apprentice fake reality shows. In 2015 and 2016 I went back and watched some more, to remind myself who he is and who he was. That is why, when put together with what was already available on the internet before 2016, I could not understand how he could possibly have anyone vote for him into the most powerful position on earth.

      Like being the owner of a china shop and bringing a bull in for advertisement.

      Now, I would not be surprised to see him there for another four years to complete the destruction of the USA. No Fantasy involved.

  3. Adam Pair says:

    I don’t think anyone can predict the events that are coming this week and beyond with much success. Imagining Trump somehow remaining in office seems unlikely, but as Mr. Modesitt stated, all of these present circumstances are not very believable. Yet here we are. This man is likely to behave like a drowning rat if things go badly. I would rather not contemplate him winning. For better or worse, we will see what happens very soon.

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