Hi, um, it’s Ian, uh, Ian Kilhansel of Bogus Publishing Group, and, uh, I got your manuscript in for your futuristic novel, 2014, set 30 years in the future.
And, don’t get me wrong, we are wanting to work with you and we think you would be a good novelist for us and we could make a lot of money publishing your novels, but this manuscript as you’ve sent it to us, well, frankly, it needs a lot of work.
I love the idea, and here we are in 1984, living the year of George Orwell’s famous work, and so you have this good story of a cautionary tale about how the United States could sink into the darkness. You have Communism falling in the early ’90s, and I know we all want that, I know President Reagan wants that, ’cause this Cold War has just gone on for too long. And then you have America becoming a lot like the Soviet Union, and in many ways even worse. So I like the idea, and you’re saying, don’t let’s become like this huge enemy we spent so many decades and billions of dollars to defend ourselves against. I like that. I think that has the makings of a good story.
The problem is, there’s so much that’s in here that just isn’t realistic. I mean, okay, you’ve got this terrorist attack on New York in 2001, the World Trade Towers get destroyed, that’s very dramatic, very iconic, but then the president just goes crazy attacking countries that had nothing to do with it, and the people just let him get away with that? I mean, only a decade or so since communism fell? People would remember. Please don’t pretend that our readers are idiots. They love the books we publish because we know they’re intelligent, and frankly, this just strains all belief.
Also, you need to be more creative with the rhetoric used by this President Bush character, and his successor, and their administrations and the news pundits, I mean, it’s just exactly the same thing they’re saying today about Communism, just replace the word “communism” with the word “terrorism” and that’s all you’ve done. So you need to be more creative there. It doesn’t make any sense to take these points that are made about an economic superpower with thousands of nuclear warheads and ICBMs and apply it to this ragtag, loosely-organized group of extremists who only barely manage to hijack planes with boxcutters and then can’t do it again. I mean, it just doesn’t fit. Nothing about it rings true.
Cos really, America is the only superpower left, and it has this huge military, bigger than all other countries in the world, and troops everywhere, and all these wars going on, and why? Who’s the enemy? In order for this to be plausible, you need to set up another superpower to be the enemy, because that’s the only way this huge military and all this warmongering makes sense, you need a big enough enemy to justify this, and these scattered Muslim extremists just don’t qualify. I mean, you’d have to be pretty dumb to fall for that.
So, while all this is going on, there’s an economic bubble followed by a crisis, and boy, we all know about that, don’t we? But I think you need to do a bit of economic research because, okay, the Fed pushes down interest rates and generates the malinvestment, the banks are protected by Fannie and Freddie, so they’re shielded from risk, so they drive up the bubble and then it bursts, all that makes sense. But then you go a little crazy: you have the politicians blame it on the free market! I mean, how could they even get away with that? Problems caused by extreme regulation on the most highly regulated industry in the country, and they blame it on the free market? No way! The press would be on them in a hot second! I mean, remember David Frost a few years ago taking down Richard Nixon? And he was a comedian! The press is savvy, the press is hard-hitting. I mean, you’d have to have the press so deeply in the back pockets of the politicians for them to go along with this clearly false rhetoric, I don’t even see how such a thing could be possible. I mean, the only reason the Soviet Union is able to do that is by imprisoning journalists and putting their own people in. But without that? For journalists to just take a politician’s word when it so clearly isn’t true? When you could easily debunk it with a modicum of research? You couldn’t even call them “journalists” anymore. They’re really government patsies.
Um, and again, you need to study your economics, especially recent events, because you have all these economists talking about how to get out of the crisis they need to keep pushing interest rates down, and as we just saw it’s the exact opposite! They need to release their controls and let interest rates climb back up to equilibrium. So unless your fictitous Fed chair–what’s his name, Ben Bernayck?–unless he’s never even HEARD of Paul Volcker, there’s just no way he’d be that stupid.
So, then, we have this new president, and he runs on this platform of hope and change, but then he gets into office and just keeps doing the same thing that his predecessor did, only more so! I mean, it’s hard to think that the same country that stood up to the Russians, the country that made the movie Red Dawn, would just lie down for this crap. You seem to have a very low opinion of the American people here.
And you end up with this big worldwide surveillance network, the NSA spies on people through their phones, everyone has a computer in his home that the NSA can just look into any time they want, and people are just okay with this? They’re not descending on Washington with torches and pitchforks? Another recent movie you might want to check out is Footloose: look at how people cherish their civil liberties and never tolerate even the slightest infraction. You have no real mechanism for oppressing the people and stopping them from speaking out, in fact, you have this worldwide open network of computers where people can come on and type whatever they want, what’s happened to people in your future that they just accept something that extreme? There’s no explanation for this anywhere.
And speaking of extreme, we get into some real science fiction here: the president now has this fleet of flying killer robots that he can send all over the world to take out his enemies. And he’s actually telling the people that he has the right to send these robots anywhere on the planet and kill whoever he wants, he doesn’t have to charge them with a crime, he doesn’t even have to justify it after the fact! He even kills American citizens this way! I mean, first of all, if you want ANYBODY to believe this, you’ll have to get rid of the Constitution and just have the president declare martial law. But again, just 20 years after communism falls? This is ridiculous! Nobody would stand for it! It would be like trying to fly a Swastika in 1965! It’s just not realistic. It’s completely unthinkable that a president would just be able to get away with this, without incredible opposition from pretty much everyone.
So this is a very dystopian future you’ve created here, which is good, but you need to do it realistically. You either need the Soviets to just take over America, or you need to set up a new enemy that’s so powerful that we need to go trillions of dollars in debt to fight them. And you don’t have one.
And some things you have are just so insane they stagger the imagination. You have a mass-murdering president with a secret kill list, that continues to wage war and even attack countries America isn’t at war with, and you have him win the Nobel Peace Prize! I mean, WHAT? You couldn’t even pull this off in The Twilight Zone. It’s just too ridiculous.
And I do want to say this, it bothers me that you made this president black. I mean, I get why you did it, for story reasons, because the first black president is a great way to sell hope and change to the people, so that explains why an obvious rogue like him could get away with just blatantly lying like he did throughout his campaign. You can believe that. But then, he gets into office and does all of this, and the black community doesn’t turn against him in droves? Where’s Jesse Jackson or someone like that to publicly denounce him? Or prominent black celebrities, going after him for this blatant betrayal of everything they stand for? I really hate to use this word, and I’m sure you didn’t mean this, but it comes across as a bit racist, like you think so little of the black community that they’d just be suckered into all of this just because the president happens to be black. I’d definitely revise that part, because I think you might really offend black readers by portraying them as being this small-minded and easily duped.
Amazing that this war criminal gets re-elected, and I think you really need to make this 2012 election more realistic. I mean, this Mitt Romney clown? Who’s basically this clone of the president as far as his policies are concerned, but look at how lame and idiotic he is! And THIS is the guy the Republicans put up? They don’t have anyone any better? Why would ANYONE vote for a candidate that’s a clone of this President’s policies, but is so completely unlikable? It’s almost like the Republicans just threw the election to him.
I mean, I get that you need the president reelected for story reasons, but it’s like you feel the only way that can happen is if his opponent has the same policies, and is a complete moron to boot. No, the Republicans would absolutely seize this opportunity to nominate a freedom-loving, pro-capitalist candidate to come forward with a humble foreign policy, bring the troops home, respect civil liberties, repeal this Patriot Act thing you have going on, maybe even reign in or at the very least audit this out-of-control Federal Reserve, and THAT is the kind of candidate they’d nominate to take this dangerously criminal president out of office once and for all. Unless they’re all taking stupid pills or something.
I think the only way you can make this reelection plausible is if he just rigs the election, because it’s just too nonsensical to have a president this terrible get re-elected. That really strains suspension of disbelief.
Things locally are just as ridiculous. You have police raiding homes without warrant and killing the family dog, you even have police arresting cameramen who are filming them while performing their duties, they’re shutting down kids’ lemonade stands, for crying out loud!
And then we get to 2014 itself. And I’m sorry, but the events in that year just get even more insane and unbelievable.
It really sounds like everyone in this dystopian future of yours has just completely taken leave of all reason, from economists to journalists to even the Nobel Committee. And it’s like the people have just taken on the government like their religion, and the president and politicians are infallible high priests and whatever they say goes. Absurd, insane, and frankly, a bit insulting.
So, all in all, good dystopian science fiction concept, but I think an extensive rewrite is in order. It’s just too crazy to think that the country could get so mindlessly jingoistic in so short a time. I mean, that just could not happen, just 20 years after the fall of communism. No way that could happen.