Richard Major: ‘Why I wrote the world’s first satirical novel about Trump’

IndieBooks’ Richard Major has been talking to Oxford Today about how he came to pre-write a satirical novel about Trump.

‘…In autumn 2015 my family and I were living in Budapest. On a certain night of November, a night as dark-and-stormy as any gothic yarn might require, I enjoyed an elaborate nightmare. I saw the students of a huge Northern ex-polytechnic invent a mascot, a made-up student. They cobbled its portrait together with Photoshop, using visual scraps from here and there; they registered it for its course, meaning to write its essays, and eventually get it its degree – for at this dreadful place no student need ever speak to a lecturer. Only the creators outdid themselves. They emptied into their concoction all the filth of their own ids: ideas too dire to air on their own Facebook pages. Their mascot became hypnotically awful; became nationally infamous; rose to supreme power; dragged the country into general ruin. – Such was my nightmare. 

In a way it’s easily analysed. As everyone knows, Mary Shelley had a similar dream, which she wrote up over the next three days; this eventually grew into the novel Frankenstein. We had been talking about Frankenstein before I went to bed that night; here was Frankenstein’s creature reimagined. 

The difference is that Mrs Shelley, being an optimistic Liberal, gave her  monster no political role. Its public acts are limited to murders; it didn’t stand for office in the Republic of Geneva. 

But what if it had? There’s a kink in human nature (Augustine called it the mysterium iniquitatis) which draws us toward iniquity, if the iniquity’s sufficiently extreme and bizarre.Frankenstein’s creature was so frightful, so unreal – physically as well as morally – that it would surely have spoken to the basest layer of humanity, always a lively constituency. Wouldn’t it have been enthralling? So enthralling that in the end it would be irresistible? 

Anyway, I jotted down my dream; in pious imitation of Mary Shelley I managed this in three days, between lectures. Then I put it away and pretty much forgot it. 

A year later it came to mind again because history had jumped tracks.  Autumn 2015 is a long, long time ago. The issues in international politics were the Paris climate agreement and intervention in Syria. Even American politics were adult: either Jeb or Rubio was to be the Republican nominee; the debates were about the economy. Donald Trump was low-comic relief at the margin of affairs; I’d scarcely heard of him. 

But now it’s as if Shakespeare’s hunchback had hobbled downstage, dropped himself onto the shoulders of the groundlings, been carried with howls across London Bridge, been deposited in the palace, given the crown. We have slid (suddenly, how suddenly!) into an age of made-up monsters. Satire cannot keep up with the phantasmagoria…’

Intrigued? Luckily begat is still available on our website for the special launch price of just £5.

 

Explaining May’s…

No sooner had we announced the release of Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe, our expert analysis of the 2016 European Referendum, did Theresa May announce a 2017 snap election.

So now Cameron’s Catastrophe – which will be launched on 12th July – will have an unexpected, and yet to be named, successor…Will it be the majority May expected? Or did she miscalculate?

Guess today’s result to win a free copy of Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe•!

Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe uses expert analyses of hundreds of surveys and focus groups run by Ipsos MORI to make sense of the UK’s 2016 EU referendum: how we got here; the context, content and process; lessons from 1975; what remain did wrong; why the leave campaign was so successful; voters attitudes; and the aftermath. It also explores what the 2016 referendum result, the 2017 general election results and life without the EU, means for the future of the UK.

If you haven’t had enough politics talk today you can read a couple of bits on the election from the authors here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/paul-baines/conservative-lead-polling_b_16920440.html

http://talkradio.co.uk/news/election-hinges-how-many-labour-supporters-turn-out-says-ipsos-mori-founder-17060714851

SIR ROBERT WORCESTER is the founder of Ipsos MORI. ROGER MORTIMORE is Director of Political Analysis at Ipsos MORI and Professor of Public Opinion and Political Analysis at King’s College London.  PAUL BAINES is Professor of Political Marketing at Cranfield University and a specialist in the application of marketing in politics. MARK GILL advises governments and organisations around the world on public opinion research.

Pre-order today to receive a £5 discount.

*Winner to be announced 9th June 2017. One chosen at random from correct guesses.

Halloween at Dragon Hall

 

We have a treat for you this Halloween: an evening of strange and ghostly stories, held in the shadows of Dragon Hall, Norwich.

‘Strange Tales for Halloween’ by Wayne Adrian Drew, will take you on a haunting journey through classic and contemporary tales of horror – all set in East Anglia – from Black Shuck (the devil’s dog), to witches, ghouls and the ghastly lantern men. Above, you can hear Wayne read an extract from Black Shuck, recorded with the National Writer’s Centre.

Actor Richard Holliss, in the role of Montague Rhodes James, the famous ghost story author, will introduce actors Robin Watson & Susan Seddon and author Piers Warren, who will all read a selection of truly chilling stories suitable for adult audiences only. Meet some of the (living) authors, enjoy a complimentary drink and expect dim lights and sinister sound effects at this not to be missed traditional celebration of All Hallows’ Eve, held in the candle lit shadows of spectacular 15th Century Hall!

This Halloween event marks the launch of Wayne Adrian Drew’s Shadows on the Fens, an anthology of new and classic supernatural fiction set in East Anglia. Pick up a signed copy of the limited edition hardback (Indiebooks, £18) and meet the author on the night.

Find out more and book tickets.

‘Major’ Book Launches

quintember-book-launch-invite-richard-major

Shadows in the Bookshop

Our highly anticipated anthology ‘Shadows on the Fens’  will be launched at 7pm on  Friday 30th September at Waterstones in Cambridge, accompanied by Autumn Nightmares– a special event celebrating the ghost story tradition in East Anglia.

Many great writers have set their finest ghostly tales in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, and over 20 of these are contained in this anthology. Several of these tales have not been available for many years.

The anthology features three new stories too. These include Black Shuck the Devil’s Dog, by Piers Warren, who is the winner of a special competition we held with the Eastern Daily Press to find a local writer who is carrying on the region’s famous tradition of the ghost story.

Tickets for Autumn Nightmares are £4 (redeemable against the purchase of the book) and are now on sale from Waterstones’ Cambridge store and on its website.  Tel: 01223 351 688

This event, only really suitable for adult audiences, will feature actor Richard Holliss in the persona of M.R. James. (Montague Rhodes James was a distinguished academic who was based at King’s College Cambridge, and the author of what are regarded as the finest ghost stories in the English language). Author Piers Warren, and actor Robin Watson, who recently triumphed in a production of The Dresser, will be joining him to read a selection of stories with accompanying sound effects etc.

Autumn Nightmares – An Evening of East Anglian Ghost Stories. Halloween comes early this year when on September 30th, at Waterstones in Cambridge, the launch of Shadows on the Fens, Wayne Adrian Drew’s anthology of new and classic ghostly tales, will be marked by a very special event. Please be aware that there will be low levels of lighting and ghostly sound effects at this chilling theatrical series of readings designed only for adult audiences.

Shadows Front Cover FINAL.png

 

‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ Out Today

9781908041272The first full account of the 2015 election is published today. It’s been a great pleasure to work with the doyen of political analysis Sir Robert Worcester and his colleagues Roger Mortimore, Paul Baines and Mark Gill, and they’ve produced a guide that’s both packed with data and insight and also completely accessible to the general reader. There’s already a lot of media interest in what the team have found and the conclusions they have drawn, both about 2o15 and what it means for British politics now and in the future. To join in the debate, order direct from us and we’ll send it with free first class postage.