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Nightmare Fuel / Victoria

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     The Alternate History Novel 

For the Alternative History Novel

The story has incredible amounts of this, with most of the successor states turning into outright dystopias, and/or horror movie settings. Even the heroes dole it out in spades.

  • Where to begin? The book opens with the near-future United States descending into lawless tyranny, with random terrorist attacks a weekly occurence and the government responding with forced racial integration and the deputizing of literal gangbangers as federal militia. The violence is described in a generally understated way, which adds to the horror by making it seem an accepted matter of fact. Particular examples include the murder and rape of a class of schoolchildren by a mob of recently paroled felons.
  • By contrast, the effects of the superbug flues and plagues that strike America (launched by domestic and foreign terrorists) are described with more detail. Both the physical symptoms, the society-wide panic and not least, the psychological effects on the quarantined victims as they slowly waste away in isolation.
  • The economic depression, with hyperinflation, million-dollar bills not worth the paper they are printed on, collapsing social trust and working men literally starving in the streets. The protagonist himself bleakly surviving on cold potatoes in his unheated shed is mild in comparison, but honestly bad enough.
  • The actual civil war, which is Yugoslavia- or Syria-level brutal. In just the opening shots, the Federal Government (possibly by accident) bomb a kindergarten, murder the leader of the secessionist states, and send a rampaging horde of gangster soldiers through upstate New York, looting and burning. The rebels retaliate by taking hostages, torturing federal agents for information and lynching and publicly executing loyalist POWs. All the while, various militias on both sides fight in the cities and the countryside with even more ruthless and desperate violence.
    • For an example, here is a report on the purge of Newark, in which the Rev. Ebenezer Smith and his militia clear out the criminals and gangs supporting the Feds:
      Singing "Onward Christian Soldiers," they proceeded to beat the crap out of any gang member they caught. (...) Some had guns, others had ropes, kitchen knives or tires and gasoline cans. When they turned the corner onto Newark’s main street, a bunch of gang members opened fire on them. A few fell, but the rest came on. They mobbed the gang members, hanged a few from the nearest lamppost and "necklaced" the rest, stuffing a gasoline soaked tire around their necks and setting it on fire. (...) The gangsters, pimps, whores, drug-dealers, and drug-users ended up lumenaria, in such numbers that the street lights went out, their sensors telling them that it was dawn. It was.
    • Rumford ordering the cold-blooded torture of three Delta Force soldiers in a deliberate mock-up of a medieval dungeon. This is presented as a necessary evil, but the scene is still deeply unpleasant.
    • The fate of the secessionists captured by the federal government, as described by General LeMieux. They are deprived of all property and rights and put through Red Chinese-style Thought Reform, and their children are turned over to homosexual organizations to raise—Which in this dystopian future means something like NAMBLA.
  • The final downfall of the US comes as a shock, even preceded by various local secessions, mutinies and unsuccessful military campaigns. One day, the President, VP, majority leaders and most of the Cabinet are killed in a suspicious-looking terrorist attack, and the ambitious Chairman of the Joint Chiefs sets up a military dictatorship. Then ... The whole thing just peters out, as the military desert him, and the United States simply is no more, with every local authority left to fend for itself. There are no more orders from Washington—It's simply GONE.
  • The Christian martyrs suffering under the Islamic invasion endure nighmarish scenarios. Especially those who are crucified. And even more especially those who are first enslaved, and then suffer an even worse fate.
    • The Islamists crucify children, making special cute little crosses for them. That description might well be the single most horrible thing in the entire book.
  • Colonel William Hocking Kraft. He's on the good side (if you can call it that), but you don't want to get on his bad side. His combination of utter Machiavellian ruthlessness and way-out devotion to absolute monarchy and Retroculture makes him a frightening leader, who completely dominates the government even before he is elected Governor. His ruthless measures include: extortion and entrapment, launching wars of conquest, and a live-televised mass purge of Marxist professors to cleanse the virus of leftism out of the land.
  • The mass purge - or rather, massacre - of Marxist professors in question. Kraft rounds up the "Cultural Marxist" staff of Dartmouth University and lectures them on what he views as their "crimes." Any who speak up to debate or argue with him are immediately shot by a sniper in the rafters. Then, in a gruesome scene of ISIS-like theatrical violence, Victorian soldiers dressed as Crusaders hack the captive professors to death with gladii as opposed to simply shooting them. All of this is broadcast on live television with a soundtrack of Dies irae.
  • To some, the rise of the Christian Marines themselves may seem like nightmare fuel. A reactionary militia infiltrates the military and law enforcement agencies, overthrows the failing and corrupt democratic government and institutes a hard right-wing state with theocratic tendencies that bans non-Christian religions, kills Marxists and puts women back in the kitchen and homosexuals out of sight. Criminals are publicly hanged and left to hang.
  • The Midwest is said to lose double-digit percentages of its population during the war. When order is finally restored, the man in charge is a literal neo-Nazi Fuehrer whose cartoonish evil would not be out of place in a Judge Dredd comic. The really awful thing? Everyone still agrees about him being better than the warlords and lawless chaos that preceded him.
  • Everything about Cascadia. From a totalitarian state ruled by a mad pagan cult that makes the Khmer Rouge look almost sane in comparison, to the brutalized, feral resisters who fight back against the rulers and their mercenaries with primitive weapons and skin one of the "Living Gods" alive, to cannibalism and finally a barren wasteland ravaged by great hordes of out-of-control, seemingly-almost-intelligent, beyond-creepy wild beasts milling about looking for whom they might devour... This state is pure horror land.
    • A minor but telling example is the reaction of the Resistance when Rumford has all their leaders summarily executed and replaces them with his own yes-men. In very brief: There isn't one. They're too brutalized to care if their foreign allies decapitate them and impose a new regime, as long as they can get some peace.
  • The Aztecs. In the post-apocalyptic future, Mexico is openly ruled by the worst of the real-life Hollywood Satanist drug cartel death cults, who build literal pyramids and institute large-scale cannibalism and human sacrifice.
  • Japan has reverted to the Showa era, complete with all the most exaggerated World War II stereotypes. If the Japanese admiral who liaises with Rumford is any indication, the new military regime is far crazier than the real-life one ever was—And now it is perhaps the major superpower in the world, which explicitly has one of the largest nuclear arsenals of all to throw into the game. This admiral's Ernst Juenger-like nihilistic conversations with Rumford about how human life and dignity are nothing and a mindless hive of marching, devouring ants is the model every worthy society should aspire to emulate are nightmare fuel in themselves for the bleak philosophy alone.
  • Azania's technocratic Lady Land presents a different kind of horror than any of the other successor states. Their system is also totalitarian, but uniquely clean and antiseptic rather than gory: dissidents simply and quietly end up behind bars, as opposed to drawn and quartered in town square or the equivalent. They alone in America have preserved an advanced technological society, and advance it further, supported by a secularist, transhumanist and effectively fascist feminist ideology that is the very antithesis of traditional Christian thought. Even Kraft is frightened of them, because unlike those of the various dysfunctional liberals of old, their system works, at least in the short term. He compares it to the French Revolution, which completely overturned the old monarchies of its time: unless crushed before it grows too strong, Azania might do the same to the fledgling Retroculture civilization.
  • The treatment of the surviving Azanians by the Victorians themselves. As noted they are literal "Feminazis," more or less, but it is nonetheless disturbing. Imagine being, for example, one of the fighter pilots of their Amazon Brigade, a respected, educated person and defender of your country. But your country loses, and everything you believe in is destroyed before your eyes. Then you are captured by religious fanatics determined to re-educate you into a submissive war bride for some soldier, and they put you through an indoctrination that seems to deliberately reference the treatment of the Handmaids. If that does not make you comply, you will not even be a wife, but a slave without any rights at all. And this happens not just to you, but everyone you know and care for who has not been killed in the war: friends, comrades, the leaders you looked up to, your own wife and daughters, if any.

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