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This book should be read alongside Margaret Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Attwood paints a picture of a repressive born-again Christian society emerging from the ruins of the old USA after a sketchily-described series of catastrophes. Attwood's Gilead appears to be set up for one Strawman sort of purpose - to describe how unspeakably awful and shitty life would become for women, once the far-right Christians get their own way and set up a dominion. You get that,but you also get that Gilead would not be a barrel of laughs for anybody, save for the religious maniacs and the manipulative cynics who end up at the top of the heap once Dominion is achieved.
Attwood doesn't go into too much detail as to how Gilead is born. ''Victoria" does. While the underlying politics and religion stink as pungently as it does in Attwood's world, this book sets out a plausible and worrying set of scenarios - worth reading at a time when in the real world the Alt-Right is in the ascendency, more and more people are falling for the nonsense, there is a dysfunctional President at the top, like the blackhead on the boil, the right-wing Christian establishment in the USA is complaining of wholly fictitious persecution whilst seeking to deprive eveybody else of civil liberties and insisting God is wrathful with His people... it's almost, gods help us, life imitating Art. Or vice-Versa. This sort of gives a framework to the absolute toxic shite a lot of people believe in right now. and not just in the USA.
The author is a confirmed anti-Semite, segregationist, Luddite, anti-intellectual alt-right conspiracy theorist. The only reason he cannot be called a neo-Nazi is because Nazis are too modern for him, what with their environmental protection laws, campaigns against smoking, focus on state guaranteed education and technological research. Some of his beliefs are even more backwards and worse than those of Nazis and that takes some doing!
The book reflects aforementioned author's beliefs and, despite the author refusing the alt-right label, it is a revenge fantasy targeted at those the alt-right movement paints as enemies. Those enemies are at the same time extremely strong (as to be a huge threat) and extremely weak (so much sometimes as to be bumbling idiots), in the best traditions fascist propaganda has to offer. Look at the acceptable targets of Mein Kampf ymmv page, this book targets the same and for the same reasons.
It's bad. It's not even amusingly bad. I felt dirty after reading it, as if I have read someone's torture porn fic or similar. I advise everyone not to read it.
I would also advise deletion of the main page for this work. If you think there is too much references on other pages for it to be viable, I am ready to work for a month to remove them all. It's that bad. This book doesn't deserve any mentions anywhere.
I heard the phrase once in a review, and it's really the only way I can describe Victoria. It's fractally wrong. It starts off somewhat wrong, but the more you read, the more you see how every tiny detail is just wrong.
So at first glance the book is an alt-right Mary Sue Self Insert revenge fic. The armies of Christian Conservative Good casually curbstomping every flavor of liberal cause. Evil homosexuals, evil feminists, evil racist caricatures, evil environmentalists, evil college professors, evil federalists, all fall like grass before the lawnmower. The Nazis, they're okay if they could just shake that evil modernism, far superior to Dirty Commies any day. So far, so standard, but look closer...
Not only are the heroes steeped in atrocity, from human trafficking, to hostage taking, mass deportation, tarring and feathering an old man, torture, summary execution, nuking a US city, but the book is just badly written. New villains are introduced, only so they can easily be dispatched in the same chapter. Rather than a coherent narrative, the plot is a series of unrelated incidents of the Glorious Ascension of Victoria.
Don't even ask me how the titular state functions, between it's socially enforced Luddism, strong emphasis on state's rights, hangings left and right and most baffling of all, how it fought it's way of federal tyranny only to be owned in various ways by the Russians, Prussians and Chinese, a plot thread completely dropped when they engage in nuclear brinksmanship with China over enabling the Japanese conquest of Cascadia.
That's right, kids. Lind says no to federal power, yes to selling American land to foreign developers and assisting foreign invasions. Also to nuking cities as pest control to kill off the darkies.
I love how all the most horrifying bits are just casual offhand references. Like none of these things need to be discussed. "Sure, we sold thousands of women into slavery. Now let me tell you about trains!"
No. Just... No.
Political fiction is always a tricky thing to talk about, especially here, but I think I can do it. See, Victoria isn't a book that aligns itself to the left or the right. Victoria's alignment is clearly 'Batshit Insane'.
Our story begins with John Rumford, who is kicked out of the marines because of Political Correctness Gone Mad and also because he was harassing some Muslims. He lives in a world 20 Minutes into the Future where America has been taken over by 'respect' and 'tolerance' and other objectively good things in sarcastic quotation marks, and this has somehow destroyed society. John forms the Christian Marines, a group of old-fashioned, non-PC crusaders to put the country back on track by - not a joke - telling women to Stay in the Kitchen, killing college professors because all educated people are secretly Cultural Marxists, and nuking black people, whom they refer to as 'Orcs'.
Yes. It's one of those stories.
Unsurprisingly, it's a hilarious trip through political So Bad, It's Good territory. Here's an excerpt on feminism!
Someone wrote a Self-Insert Fic where the villains are feminists whose grand evil scheme is to make boys play with dolls. And that's just the beginning. Rumford bans computers and cell phones, thinks poverty 'builds character', allies with literal Nazis, and exiles all non-Christians (and Puerto Ricans) from 'Victoria', which remains a perfect Utopia despite Rumford's tendency to kill anyone smart enough to operate a tin-opener on the assumption that they must be a communist.
As hilariously bad as this is, the story does go too far to be funny at times. Those wacky straw feminists? Upon defeat, as their comeuppance, those who don't immediately fall in love with the traditional gentlemen of the 'Christian Marines' are sold into sex-slavery in the Middle East. And that's not all.
The author believes Muslims are evil, atheists are heretics, LGBTQ folk are paedophiles, and all of these people deserve to die, along with anyone who disagrees. This book begins with a Racist Grandma vibe but it becomes very clear that the author (actually a man in his late 60s - unmarried, can't imagine why) is an extremely vicously intolerant man.
But this is a book that makes you think. It certainly made me reflect on how far a bigot will go to try to persuade himself that he has the moral high ground, in spite of thinking that all non-Christian, non-American, non-White, non-Male, non-Idiots are evil and should be shot, nuked or raped, as should anyone who disagrees with him.
Apparently, far enough to write a shit book.
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