And then the damned thing exploded

Background: back in November, this country looked around and decided that a carnival barker with a penchant for nude teenage girls, sexual assault, corporate bankruptcy, and a distinct aversion to the truth, was just what this country needed. I held my nose to vote for the other option, having hated that woman for most of three decades (because I found her to be a power-hungry sociopath, and still better than the clueless narcissist.)

So then he took power, and actively began working to undo twenty decades of civilized behavior by emulating the most egregious aspects of such lovely places as the mid-twentieth century Juntas of Central and South America, or the Big Man politics of post-colonial Africa.

If he was more competent, it would be one thing. When he was elected, my fear was that we had empowered Sulla. Later, I revised that down to Caesar. Finally, it appears that the Mendoza Line for the orange shitgibbon will be Caligula.

I’m not sure he’ll stay above it.

(Sulla didn’t destroy the Roman Republic. It was already dying. Caesar just put it down for good. Caligula broke the Empire.)

But it also emboldened my friends Bob and Phyl. Bob’s even more of an old hippy than I am, and decided that joining the ACLU in that big spike wasn’t enough. (I’m now an evergreen member, because they NEVER waver, regardless of which jackass they are defending.)

People were inspired by the words of the President’s bottle-blond-spokes-bimbo who didn’t like to describe his words as flat-out lies, and instead described them as Alternative Truths.

And so Bob and Phyl decided to put together the Alternative Truths Anthology to celebrate the mendacious, lying weasels who are just out to loot the treasury and oppress anyone who isn’t a white, cis, loudly-Christian (anyone here ever read the Book of Matthew?), male, billionaire.

There appear to be a lot of very angry people out there, and not just me.

The deadline for stories was weeks, rather than the usual months.

And I get this email from Bob asking me where his story is.

Uhm, what?

Shit, did I owe Bob a story for something and I’ve totally forgotten?

Nope. Bob just wanted my take on things.

So I listened to writer-brain.

I was inspired by the Alt-National Park Service folks, who went quietly rogue, and imagined that dystopian world where the agencies dealing with the Interior and Science all decided to fight back. To lead a physical rebellion, and not just an emotional one.

I started writing a story about a pair of Park Service Rangers in the post-second-civil-war era, when the United States had fragmented into nations, rather than regions. To envision what civilized folk would have to do when facing a world where the right wing considered 1984 and the Handmaid’s Tale to be good starting points.

It was inspiring. It was liberating. It was really kinda fun.

Couldn’t stop at just that first story because so many ideas kept popping up and demanding that they go on the story-list. Story number 1 went into Alternative Truths. All of them will come out in November as a cowboy novel. In the old days, cowboy novels were 20,000-40,000 words, so about the same length as The Science Officer, for comparison, or what we would classify as a novella these days.

Here are the titles I have for book one:

  • The Last Ranger
  • The Maiden
  • Forty-Niner
  • Posse
  • Refuge

But let’s talk about the Alternative Truths Anthology. It came out on Thursday, ahead of the original goal of Day 100 goal for publication. Bob and Phyl assembled a stellar cast of writers, some twenty-four in all, I think. And they accepted The Last Ranger to be among those.

I’m not sure if it qualifies as hopeless dystopian or hopeful, since it is about the side of civilization that is actively fighting the entropy embodied by a man who thinks sexually assaulting teenage girls is an exciting hobby. Or who never met a lie he wouldn’t tell. Or who thinks that welching out on contracts and settling later for pennies on the dollar is the best way to conduct business. Or actively recruiting racists who are planning the next Holocaust into his administration and putting them in charge of things.

He has permanently damaged this nation. Already.

Unless his kind are crushed like cockroaches, you will be able to tell your grandchildren you were there for the Fall of the American Republic, and its descent into madness, anarchy, and/or an aristocratic hellhole.

Think either Mad Max movie, without the sand.

Can you tell I’m still angry?

The group writers represented in the anthology are also angry. And we didn’t do it for the money, because Bob was never offering professional rates. Instead of six cents per word, it was two cents, plus a royalty share (which rarely make any money). And the royalty share was only ever going to last three years, after which whatever money came in was going directly to the ACLU in their eternal fight for manners against the denizens of the pit (who are today usually represented by the Republican Party, but that’s not eternal, and I expect the wyrm to turn one of these days).

But then something incredible happened.

The damned thing landed on Thursday, and promptly EXPLODED.

Thank you.

We spent a good chunk of time in the top 500 titles for sale on all of Amazon. That’s in the top 500 of something like five or eight million books people could spend their money on. I’m pretty sure Bob and Phyl earned out the advances they paid. And that was Day One. I’m not sure how long it will sustain, but we’ve made our point.

There are a lot of angry people out there.

But that’s the spike.

I need you to do two things now. Not just for me, but for everyone.

One: go get your own copy, or buy one for a friend who needs someplace to channel their discomfort or anger. Or both. The ACLU is getting a writer share from day one. And in three years, they will start getting it all.

Two: After you read it, write a review. What touched you? What sparked your imagination? Or your rage? Or your funny bone? Last I looked, we had already gotten over ten reviews, all amazingly good. Either 30 or 50 is the next threshold, and you can help get us there.

The more reviews we get, the wider the bots spread us out among the “you might also like this one…” for people. And the longer we sustain the Bestseller list, the more we will catch the eye of people who only read the charts for ideas, and the news organizations that cover the news.

I can’t imagine at this point that Bob won’t carry through with his original threat to make this a series of anthologies. He has bottled lightning here, which is a very rare things indeed.

We must push.

There are a lot of angry people out there. You seem them marching for the first time in their lives. As well as asking how they can run for office to try to make the world a better place.

But there are also people who went into a spiral of depression. They need to know that there are people out there fighting for them.

Have you told them how much they mean to you? Nothing more than that. Depression is a terrible cloak that descends and wraps you up. You can’t get out of it, but must accept it and understand it, so that you can find the holes and wriggle free.

Been there. Done that. Got the scars.

Friendly words help.

This anthology is all about rage, at least for me.

But it is also about the love we have for each other. For the hurt, the sick, the lost. For those who need to be protected from the assholes and sociopaths of this world. Even if they work for the President.

They have been given a place at the table, when they should be whipped like curs and driven from the building.

This is your wake-up call.

The Resistance has begun…