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.

 

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Mr Brexit: the Man with the Plan

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 15.00.38We’ve heard a lot about Britain’s destiny as a Global Powerhouse outside the European Union – but not so much detail on exactly how this will happen. So in the week that Article 50 is triggered, IndieBooks is proud to announce a new book that maps out Britain’s glittering economic future. And who better to pen it that Sir Reg Futtock, the Prime Minister’s newly-appointed advisor on Post-Brexit Prosperity.

For fifty years, Sir Reginald’s career has been synonymous with British business: from launching the world-beating Austin Allegro to taking RBS up to and beyond the pinnacle of international banking. Now he is bringing this wealth of experience to helping Britain plan for success in the post-Brexit world.

In Mr Brexit: the Man with the Plan, Sir Reg will set out why we joined, why we left and who will be the winners and losers as Britain returns to Splendid Isolation. This book is not clogged up with facts and evidence: instead, Sir Reg uses his own experiences, from sacking 31,000 staff at Marconi to bribing members of the Saudi Royal family, to explain how Brexit can achieve its essential purpose: ensuring that Britain’s wealth-creators remain in charge.

Although Sir Reg has a busy schedule caddying for Don Trump and grovelling to a range of foreign despots, he has promised us the book will be ready for publication in August.

 

Entertainments for the Trump epoch

“The election had an apocalyptic feel to it,” says Mr. Thiel, wearing a gray Zegna suit and sipping white wine in a red leather booth at the Monkey Bar in Manhattan. “There was a way in which Trump was funny, so you could be apocalyptic and funny at the same time. It’s a strange combination, but it’s somehow very powerful psychologically” New York Times, 11/01/17

‘Apocalyptic and funny’, respectively, also describe our two latest releases – entertainments for the Trump epoch – ‘begat’ and ‘Attu’.

Attu, released shortly before Christmas, but available for free today on the kindle store, is an escapist eBook for those currently absorbed with anxious political thoughts (so everyone)…

‘A mischievous president announces the End of the World. He’s joking – isn’t he? Eight billion people around the world aren’t so sure.’

 

Today is also the perfect opportunity to announce our latest acquisition – begat – perhaps the first serious comic novella of the Trump era, by Dr Felix Culpepper of Cambridge University.

‘begat’ – out this spring – charts a national plunge into political and social madness with eerie parallels to today’s apotheosis of Trump. It is a satirical study of how an apocalyptic monster is created: ‘the mob drains all the evil stowed within their ids into one phantasmagorical abortion of a human, cherished for his deformities’.

As a taster, you can download an extract of ‘begat’ from our website.

Our Brexit Titles

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-14-01-54Today’s Guardian has a fascinating piece on publishers’ plans for post-Brexit books. So we thought we’d give a preview of the two – perhaps three – IndieBooks Brexit-linked titles due out in 2017.

In the lead is ‘Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe’, the follow-up to last year’s guide to the 2015 election, ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’. Political analyst and pollster Sir Robert Worcester leads a team of academics and experts exploring how the EU referendum came about, how the campaign was fought and – crucially – what lay behind the outcome, with insights into the state of Britain and what it may mean for the future of politics. As always the team are working on the data right up to the print deadline but it’s currently due in the shops at the start of April.

And with Article 50 about to kick off the most important negotiation in British history since 1973, what better time for us to reissue the UK Government’s official guide to EU negotiations, the imaginatively-titled “Negotiating in the European Union”. It gives the inside story on alliance-building, multi-lateral negotiations, procedures, tactics and even the best restaurants to recover in afterwards, and is illustrated by the FT’s cartoonist Banx. This is due out later in January. Let’s hope Boris has his copy to hand.

And finally, for all those who found ‘Five on Brexit Island’ a bit of light relief, we’re hoping to sign up our own tongue-in-cheek guide to Britain’s post-Brexit future entitled ‘Mr Brexit: the Man with the Plan’.

More to follow on all these and more.