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
I was honored today to be interviewed by Susan Lindauer, a peace advocate and courageous whistle-blower who holds the distinction of being the second person wrongfully arrested and jailed for treason under the Patriot Act in 2001. The two-hour live interview is archived here on Truth Frequency Radio. Continue reading
Victoria N. Alexander’s new dark comic novel, Locus Amoenus, is the story of a 9/11 widow who moves with her son, Hamlet, to the countryside to start a sustainable farm. But when Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, marries a NIST bureaucrat named Claudius on the eight anniversary of 9/11, Hamlet becomes very depressed. Then Hamlet’s old science teacher, Horatio, arrives to tell Hamlet that Claudius, who worked on the investigation of the WTC towers, is a fraud: NIST never actually investigated how the towers came down and never tested for explosives. But there is more: young Hamlet had collected a dust sample at ground zero, which he had given to Horatio. Unknown to Hamlet, Horatio has sent the sample to scientists who have found evidence of incendiary material in the dust. Now Hamlet and Horatio have to figure out what to do. Is Claudius guilty of covering up murder or terrorism? or is he just a pawn?
Alexander’s novel re-imagines Shakespeare’s play to launch a scathing satire of post-9/11 political corruption generally, local and federal; something is rotten in the United States of America. From big ag to standardized curriculum, economic disparity, big pharma, intelligence contractors, and endless wars, no issue is left unexamined in this fast-paced, witty and tragically humorous novel. Continue reading
Interview starts at 9:55. Here’s a snippet:
AS: “What do you want people to get from this book?”
VNA: “Well, in the passage I just read where Hamlet [a conspiracy theorist] makes his big revelation. He makes some very logical points and asks some very good questions. But what’s the response to that? Evasion. Nobody really takes the point [chuckle]. Nobody really gets what he’s getting at. The whole thing is kind of ineffective, really [chuckle].
“One of the things I wanted to do for people, who have tried to talk to friends about some evidence they’ve read, is to give them a story that they can relate to. We’ve all gone through this. We all know what it’s like to bring up this conversation at dinner and have very good our friends treat us very coldly.
“And I wanted to give the conspiracy theorist a place in literature. He is a very important character, as was [Shakespeare’s] Hamlet, for really defining who the modern man is. Continue reading
Pleased to see my novel in the window at Oblong Books in Millerton.
Locus Amoenus by Victoria N Alexander
In this dark comedy, 9/11 widow and her son, Hamlet, move to Amenia to run an organic farm. Unfortunately, their neighbors prefer the starchy products of industrial agriculture, and Hamlet, who is now eighteen, suspects that something is rotten in the United States of America, where health and happiness are traded for cheap Walmart goods, Paxil, standard curriculum, fossil fuel pollution, and endless war.
Victoria N. Alexander, PhD, is also the author of Smoking Hopes (Washington Prize for Fiction), Naked Singularity (Dallas Observer‘s “Best of 2003”), Trixie, and The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature and Nature.
WBAI 99.5 FM with host Barry Seidman
Developing a Progressive Narrative
As many may already know, science fiction and speculative fiction in general can investigate and articulate the state of our nation and/or world in very direct but also metaphorical ways. We have talked about Star Trek, for instance, on Equal Time and how Gene Roddenberry was able to discuss humanism and naturalism via the small and large screen. And there have been many novels and short stories since at least the late 19th Century which have done the same.
Victoria N Alexander and Adrienne Maree Brown are two authors who have relatively new speculative fiction books out. Victoria, who has a PhD in English and philosophy of science, is also a novelist and the founder of Dactyl, a foundation that fosters dialogue between artists and scientists. She is the author of several novels including the topic of today’s discussion, Locus Amoenus. The novel brings Shakespeare into the post-9/11 world we currently experience and sows an emotionally powerful geopolitical drama.
Adrienne Maree Brown is an author, a life/love work coach, a singer (including wedding singer), events facilitator and a scholar on the late Science Fiction novelist Octavia Butler. In Octavia’s Brood, Adrienne has co-edited a collection of both speculative and science fiction stories founded on the spirit and creativity of the late author.
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