This moment in history is a pivot point. On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, all the preparations have been made for the grand finale. Total surveillance. Check. Censorship. Check. Scapegoat identified. Check. Now it’s just a matter of tuning up the orchestra, dimming the lights, and raising the curtain. We are now ready to begin Global Totalitarianism, brought to you by—well, I’m not going to name the big donors, but it’s worth noting that we couldn’t have done all this without brainwashed viewers like you. Continue reading
What made Orwell’s 1984 a classic? The language of this high-school required reading isn’t particularly memorable, with the obvious exception of phrases like, “war is peace,” and “ignorance is strength.” The plot swings rustily on an ill-fated romance in the first part. The lovers, Winston and Julia, are unlikable, one-dimensional, selfish anybodies. In the second part, Winston’s torturer O’Brien, like Milton’s Satan, steals the literary stage for a bit, but, even so, his evil nature lacks style, compared to, say, Medea or the Judge. Remarkably, however, I will say, that, as tragedies go, 1984 pulls its hero down lower than any Greek drama or Cormac McCarthy novel that I can think of. Winston Smith ends in total dehumanization when he accepts Big Brother into his heart as his savior.
It may be the bleakest book. Continue reading
It’s news in Amenia when a local novelist starts thinking about writing. Over salads at Four Brothers Pizza in Amenia, I chatted with fellow novelist, Steve Hopkins, about my plans to continue the story line of my 2015 novel, Locus Amoenus. That book is a satire about a 9/11 widow who remarries and her son Hamlet becomes depressed. You get the idea. I think of the new work as a Hamlet Part 2, or possibly Covid-1984, or Covid 9/11, or some other such satire in the posthumous style. Continue reading
Next month, I will be talking to a group of anti-war activists about the role of literary fiction in undermining the bad narratives that prevent critical thinking. I look to my favorite political satirist, Mark Twain, as an example.
When Huck Finn ponders whether or not he should turn in his friend Jim, a runaway slave, he is deeply conflicted. Good Christian society of the day has taught him that slavery is sanctioned by God. Huck truly believes that to help Jim escape would be immoral. But he decides, “All right then, I’ll go to hell.”
It’s moments like this in literature that serve humankind best in its often-halting progress toward tolerance and peace. Throughout history, good, decent people routinely condone revenge, segregation, greed, fascism and war, simply because they follow those they admire most. Every era has its own peculiar blindness, and going against complacency and conformity of neighbors can be more difficult than directly confronting a tyrant. It is often a disenfranchised voice, such as Huck’s, that awakens the literature of a nation, makes it more self-critical. Sometimes the voice needs an author—a humorist, a poet, or a good story-teller—to help him speak in a way that he can’t be ignored or further ostracized. Continue reading
Reviewers are calling Locus Amoenus, “one of the funniest political satires of our time,” the 2015 novel that “everyone needs to read,” and ” a great book you will want to share with your friends.”
Victoria N. Alexander will be signing copies of Locus Amoenus at Brave New Books in Austin on Nov 27th, Black Friday, 7PM.
Brave New Books is “an amazing community of diverse and active people. We have politicos and anarchists, lefties and conservatives, but most importantly we are a bunch of curious people on a quest for the truth.”
1904 Guadalupe Street Suite B Austin, Texas 78705
512-480-2503 12-9pm Daily
Locus Amoenus synopsis: In this dark comedy, a 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, have retreated from Brooklyn to the idyllic rural countryside upstate, where for nearly eight years they have run a sustainable farm. Unfortunately their outrageously obese neighbors, who prefer the starchy products of industrial agriculture, shun their elitist ways (recycling, eating healthy, reading). Hamlet, who is now 18, is beginning to suspect that something is rotten in the United States of America, when health, happiness and freedom are traded for cheap Walmart goods, Paxil, endless war, standard curriculum, and environmental degradation. He becomes very depressed when, on the very day of the 8th anniversary of his father’s death, his mother marries a horrid, boring bureaucrat named Claudius. Things get even more depressing for Hamlet when his friend Horatio, a conspiracy theorist, claims Claudius is a fraud. The deceptions, spying, corruption, will ultimately lead, as in Shakespeare’s play, to tragedy. Continue reading
Today. Listen live Monday morning 9:00-10:30 AM ET. WGDR 91.3FM in Vermont. Jim Hogue will interview Victoria N. Alexander about her new post 9/11 political satire novel, Locus Amoenus. Hogue’s program is called the House at Pooh Corner. Go to http://www.wgdr.org
Victoria N. Alexander’s latest novel, Locus Amoenus, turns Shakespeare’s moody dark Hamlet (something is rotten in the state of Denmark) into a glib, manic 9/11 conspiracy theorist who discovers that something is very rotten in the United States of America. The 191-page novel was released at the end of June and hit #2 in Amazon’s dark humor category briefly in August while Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five held out at #1. The novel has been highly praised outside of truther circles for its originality and acerbic wit, taking on, not just the inexcusably lax 9/11 investigation, but also pointing out the disastrous consequences of federal top-down control, for example, farm subsidies and nutrition guidelines, pharmaceutical subsidies, standard curriculum, and the “jobs and security” provided by the weapons and intelligence industries. Mainstream reviewers, award-winning novelists, and other celebrated critics have favorably compared Alexander to James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Thomas Pynchon, Lewis Carroll, Barbara Kingsolver, Vladimir Nobokov, and Don Delillo, as well as the bard himself. Could this be a breakthrough for the truth movement? Continue reading
In Locus Amoenus, a 9/11 widow remarries and her son, Hamlet, learns from Horatio, a conspiracy theorist, that something is rotten in the United States of America.
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