This is a review by a guest reviewer, Castalia House narrator Jon Mollison:
Regular readers of this blog need no long and detailed rehashing of
the decades of success globalists have achieved by injecting their
message fiction into every nook and cranny of every medium of news and
education and entertainment. Regular readers of this blog have all too
often put down books, walked out of theaters, or snapped off the
television with an angry snarl of, “enough with the message fiction!”
Nor do they need yet another reminder that technological advances have
reduced the barrier to entry for books and comics and videos such that
the left-wing stranglehold exists solely by dint of decades of inertia
and capital accumulated by their forebears. This being the Current Year
Plus One, we can take that wonderful theory and expose it to the harsh
light of scrutiny to see how well it works in practice. Before we grab
our Deerstalker Cap and hold our magnifying glass up to Superversive
Press’s latest collection, “MAGA 2020 & Beyond”, we need to get something out of the way.
This is not message fiction.
decades, “message fiction” has been used to describe “ugly left wing
lies wrapped up inside pretty fiction packages”. Mainly because that
was the only message fiction available. Right wing message fiction was
consigned to the dustbin of unpublishable Now that the Pandora's box of
self-and small press publishing has been opened, the peddlers of
message fiction and their supporters want to change the meaning of the
term to encompass all fiction with any message. But
just as they no longer get to decide which messages are conveyed via
fiction, they also no longer get to decide the definition of “message
fiction”. And so the meaning retains its stink of left-wing
propaganda. Hence, this collection of pro-Trump essays cannot be
classified as "message fiction".
Granted, MAGA 2020 & Beyond”
is filled, cover to cover, with the exact same sort of heavy handed
symbolism and wishful thinking and oversimplification you would expect
given the title and cover art. And yet it isn’t message fiction, because
the messages conveyed by these tales are neither ugly, nor left wing,
nor are they predicated on a view of the world that just ain’t so.
These works represent a direct challenge to message fiction.
So it isn’t message fiction, but is it any good?
of it is good. Some of it is great. Some of it is lousy. I can't
tell you which is which, though. That you'll have to discover for
This collection contains thirty pieces of fiction and
non-fiction, many of them by well recognized authors such as Brad
Torgerson, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Declann Finn, Milo, Ivan Throne, John C.
Wright, and Jon Del Arroz. It also includes works by rising stars such
as Alfred Genesson, Dawn Witzke, Marina Fontaine, and the inimitable
While the writing snaps and pops across the board, the
styles of works in this eclectic collection of authors runs the gamut.
The tone of the stories varies wildly, from Del Arroz’s over-the-top
wahoo story of a TrumpMech piloted by young Barron fighting an
irradiated Kim Jong-Unzilla (spoilers!) to the Christine Chase’s much
more understated tale of a young woman serving as the audience for her
grandmother’s reminisces about the days of fighting the black bloc and
driving them from the streets way back in the early 2020’s. The weight
of the message varies within the works as well. Sometimes the point of
the story is a thin patina, as in Marina Fontaine’s story of a man
coming out of the conservative closet and admitting his wrongthink to
relatives. Sometimes it has all the subtlety of a Neil Blomkampf movie,
as in Scott Bell’s story of police officers forced to head into the
bleak hellscape of a city set aside as a reservation for socialists to
live out their dreams of starvation and death camps where their idiocy
can’t hurt decent Americans.
As to the non-fiction, they covering
an equally wide spread of political ground. Ivan Throne offers an
apologia for Trump that resonates with those who appreciate the
multivariate ways in which the God-Emperor operates to destabilize the
Deep State. John C. Wright’s unique erudition shines through as bright
as ever in his think piece on how the cockroaches have and continue to
scurry about in the wake of the 2016 election. My personal favorite of
the non-fiction pieces is Monalisa Foster’s essay on the nature of
language and her experience as a right-wing writer bobbing along in a
sea of the left-wing subculture of writing.
That broad spectrum of
approaches solidifies the book's appeal for those across the political
spectrum - at least that part of it that lies to the right of NPR.
Edited by Jason Rennie, an excellent judge of work and a fine editor,
"MAGA 2020 & Beyond" in unafraid of a little experimentation. Some
of the experiments work, and some don't, but they are all worth reading,
if only to find out where your personal line lies between "fun" and
The skinflints among this book’s readership will feel
likely cheated and argue that the works they don’t like somehow took
enjoyment away from the works they do. That’s an unfortunate way to view
this book, given that one of the underlying themes that consistently
occurs in each work is a message of optimism and hope for the future.
Like America herself – like Trump himself for that matter – this is not a
perfect book. It has a few sour notes and no one will like everything
they find between its covers, but on the whole, this book is fantastic.
It stands for something much greater than itself, and it inspires those
who embrace it to do more, to do better, and to make more of themselves.
It's also worth noting that MAGA 2020 & Beyond
largely forgoes pessimistic sneering at the common culture in favor of a
more sunny approach. This book oozes with optimism and takes the path
of building something worth reading rather than conducting more Monday
morning quarterbacking of the dumpster fire that is American media.
It's a positive approach to replacing the dumpster fire with a roaring
backwoods bonfire, complete with an invitation to men of good will to
join in the laughter and fun. In that, this book also represents
another example of the shift in the cultural war from a decades long
Republican rear-guard action to an aggressive attack by the right-wing
newcomers who seek to capture the cultural high ground through building
something up rather than trying to tear something down. As such, this
book represents a far more effective action than all of the think pieces
ever written by the National Review crowd.
Of course, the real
question for readers is whether or not this collection is worth the
money, and the answer to that is a resounding YES. You probably won’t
like all of it, but there’s a definitely something in here for everyone.
For certain definitions of the term, “everyone”.