This 1998 Octavia Butler novel predicted a Christofacist United States with the slogan "Make America Great Again"

Originally published at: This 1998 Octavia Butler novel predicted a Christofacist United States with the slogan "Make America Great Again" | Boing Boing


Grifters gotta plagiarize?


It’s a harrowing but ultimately hopeful series. I would have liked to see how she concluded it.


What does is mean if we find that dystopian fiction seems to be having more real-world impact as a script for fascists and psychos than as a warning to everyone else?

With a recent read-through of the (excellent) Elan School webcomic weighing heavily on my soul, the question haunts me as the copycat schools kept springing up and learning not only from each others examples, but also from write-ups and complaints about their techniques. All also seemed to have borrowed from writings of or about authoritarian regimes and cults.


We have to acknowledge that some people use these novels as blueprints. Sometimes, like The Turner Diaries, they’re intended as such. Then we have to fight them on all fronts.


Sometimes, I consider works in the Patternist series as linked with events from this one - even though they were written earlier.


From Hello America by J. G. Ballard, first published in 1981.


Both Reagan and Clinton used the phrase but as for Trump himself plagiarizing Octavia Butler? The number of assumptions involved here would put the Drake Equation to shame: Trump would have to (i) Read Books, (ii) Read Fiction, (iii) Read Good Fiction, (iv) Read Good Science Fiction, (v) Read Good Science Fiction written by an African American Woman and, of course, (vi) comprehend what he actually read. I see no evidence that he might ever do any of these things.


Your first assumption was that he thinks of anything on his own…


Which Ballard took from Reagan…


Writers always take from real life to enhance fiction, after all…

Yep… I’m pretty sure that Trump just lifted the term straight from Reagan in 80, because he was running as a Republican and knew that would bring in the rubes!

But none of that takes away from Butler’s use of the phrase in her work (which the actual topic here, that some are forgetting), and how she shaped a narrative around such political language (not that I need to tell you that!)… I don’t think she was “predicting” anything, because that’s not how speculative fiction works and never has (again, not that you need telling on that point!). She was very much pulling on Christofascist language in use at the time (and since Reagan aligned with the Moral Majority), and thinking on where it could go. It really is a shame how often people get hung up on the idea that sci-fi authors are “predicting” anything, but rather are merely looking at the present, and extrapolating a “what if” into the future.


Spot on! Someone other than TFG writes his talking points. And the whole of TFG’s staff are, themselves, grifters…


The end of Talents implied that space colonization was starting, which she could have continued, but was a pretty complete end to the story by itself.


Anything so as to not have to focus on the successful Black woman who is the actual topic of this post, aimrite?



Saw a bumper sticker a day or two ago, “Make Orwell Fiction Again”


I found Parable of the Sower at a book fair in central Virginia in '95 or '96. I had somehow missed this book before that. I think the ideas changed me, and I still reread the book almost 30 years later. it isn’t just the speculative fiction part, it is the astounding beauty she channels while describing a world filled with horror. Parable of the Talents is also excellent, but somehow it did not seem to change my worldview - perhaps because I had already read the first book?


So this phrase has been used by American Nazis and Klansmen in the 1930s, Reagan and the Moral Majority in the 1980s and Trump and the Q crowd today. Perhaps the slogan ‘Make America Great again’ needs to be retired and not considered so great and patriotic after all. I can’t think of a more toxic marketing line.


Or teach people to replace “Great” with “White” every time they hear the slogan.

“America First” is another one that needs to be reframed for what it is: a call for Americans to condone or ignore the depredations of fascist regimes.


She would have, as well.


Of course “Let’s make America great again” had to be shortened to “Make America great again” in order to lose the idea that the process takes communal effort.


I read this book a few years ago, and it goes on my list of “books so good I can’t read them again”. Cormac Mc Carthy’s The Road is on there for similar reasons. Maybe in ten years or so I can read it again, but when I read it it was too close to reality. That’s an indication of how good it is. A crap book written about similar themes wouldn’t affect me in the same way.

He probably heard someone else say it, and then swiftly forgot, and assumed he invented it himself. I think he genuinely has trouble understanding that other people exist.