When I joined the US Army, there was still a Soviet Union. I remember the “good feelings” a segment of American society had towards the Soviet Union then, even going so far as to say the Communist state was a better and more noble nation than America. I said to myself: “Why would any rational person want to champion regimes that have killed ten times more people than the Nazis?”
Science fiction writers have used stories of parallel universes or alternative histories for social commentary and dramatic effect for ages. One of my favorites was Fatherland, a 1992 novel where Hitler and the Nazis won World War II. Its predecessor of the same theme was Philip K. Dick’s, The Man in the High Castle, 1963, which took it further with an occupied America divided between Nazi Germany and the Imperial Japanese.
Fatherland is a 1992 alternative history detective novel by English writer and journalist Robert Harris. Set in a universe in which Nazi Germany won World War II, the story’s lead protagonist is an officer of the Kripo, the criminal police, who is investigating the murder of a Nazi government official who participated at the Wannsee Conference. A plot is thus discovered to eliminate all of those who attended the conference to help the improvement of Germany’s relations with the United States.
The novel inverts some of the conventions of the detective novel. It begins with a murder and diligent police detective investigating and eventually solving it. However, since the murderer is highly placed in a tyrannical regime, solving the mystery does not result in the detective pursuing and arresting the murderer. The contrary occurs in the novel: the murderer pursuing and arresting the detective.
The Man in the High Castle is an alternate history novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. Published and set in 1962, the novel takes place fifteen years after a different end to World War II, and depicts intrigues between the victorious Axis Powers—primarily, Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany—as they rule over the former United States, as well as daily life under totalitarian rule.
The Man in the High Castle won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1963. Reported inspirations include Ward Moore’s alternate Civil War history, Bring the Jubilee (1953), classic World War II histories, and the I Ching (referred to in the novel). There is a “novel within the novel”, an alternate history within the alternate history where the Allies defeat the Axis (though in a manner distinct from the real-life events of the war).
In 2015, the book was adapted as a multi-season TV series, with Dick’s daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, as a producer.
Consider the following of an alternate America:
- Jews arrested at synagogues.
- Christians arrested at churches and police taking down license plates of those going to a drive-thru church.
- A sole paddleboarder being swarmed by Coast Guard and cited for being outside.
- A woman arrested for being at the park with her kids.
- Communist Chinese-made talking drones being used by police to monitor residents.
- Police telling citizens their “rights have been suspended.”
Well, you already get the punchline. This is not America in a parallel universe or alternate reality. This is 2020 America in real life, today, as of March 2020. The stuff of Orwellian dystopian sci-fi has become reality before our very eyes. Is any of this okay with you?
“Free” America, the country of my birth, the nation I served in the military to protect, and all of Western Europe (except for Sweden because they actually respect and trust their people) decided to follow the draconian containment policies of Communist China. We followed the Chinese-style containment policies of a dictatorship where people have no rights and can be imprisoned or killed at will rather than Sweden-style measures of a free society recognizing the seriousness of the disease but where people don’t lose their civil liberties, livelihoods, and businesses in total.
This is what our health “experts” told us: We had to do this. We had no choice. We had to shut down the economy to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “Yes, yes, 30 million Americans are out of work and 94% of the nation’s 300 million are under de-facto house arrest, but we had no choice,” they said.
I violently disagreed, said so at the time, kept a diary to track the mortality numbers in America and abroad, and wrote an article too. “There would be 100,000 to 240,000 Americans dead in two weeks.” That was what we were told. How many did die in those two weeks? 31,608.
Even one death from this virus is too much. However, that does not mean we deliberately destroy our entire nation of 330 million Americans. The coronavirus is far more contagious than the seasonal influenza flu, but the mortality rate is basically the same.
I loathe hysteria and hate the political and media elite scaring people. Fear is what bad people use to control populations. That’s true in a sci-fi novel or in real life.
Here’s more context. The number of people who died in one year in America.
- 37,000 die from car crashes annually – over 90 per day (*numbers corrected 5/16/20) – out of our 6 million car accidents
- 606,000 died from cancer
- 88,000 died from alcoholism
- 83,000 died from diabetes
- 67,000 died from drug overdoses
- 50,000 died from suicide
- 12,000 and 61,000 deaths from the annual flu
To be clear, my commentary (and anger) is completely apolitical. I don’t care about political party or ideology here. What I do care about is elected officials in America behaving like dictators and the media spewing forth a steady diet of fear when the science says we’re going in the right direction. “Science” meaning what we know rather than hypothetical projections based on nothing.
By late March, we knew the models used by the experts were grossly inaccurate and became clearer each day as the real numbers came in. Yet, political leaders continue to speak about infinite shutdowns rather than admit they wrongly and horribly destroyed the economy.
At the writing of this article, 80,846 have died from the COVID-19 virus. Do you know that numbers are intentionally being inflated? Someone dying with COVID-19 is not the same as dying from COVID-19. Why are these “games” being played? Health is supposed to be about facts, not political agendas or hysteria.
People are being shuddered in their homes who have little risk of getting the virus and if they do will only mild or no symptoms. But it is our vulnerable populations who make up the majority of deaths—especially nursing homes and long-term care facilities. In New York, the epicenter of virus deaths in America, the governor signed an executive order requiring these facilities to admit COVID-19 positive patients! These facilities did not have the necessary protective equipment. Results: nearly 5,000 patients dead! These were preventable deaths!
In America, healthy people are being economically destroyed, while our vulnerable populations are not being adequately protected, and those on the margins are being so frightened by the media they won’t even go to the hospital or see their doctor. When the dust settles, we will be a weaker America, but the government will be just fine and have even more power and control over our lives.
All of this seems eerily similar to my very first sci-fi book and series which my inner creative mind forced me to type after not writing a word of fiction in nearly 15 years. Jews and Christians persecuted–oh yes, atheists too because they’re a “religion,” surveillance drones everywhere, dictatorial governments, the merging of Big Government and Big Tech. I wrote the book back in 2012 and published in 2013.
I won’t go into how I knew right from the beginning that the apocalyptic projections of death were so false as to be criminal, other than to say it was simple logical reasoning, which is what our leaders are supposed to do. Also, I’m not arguing and never argued to do nothing. But it’s not an either-or proposition. We can do both–protect our vulnerable populations and allow our economy to live with people able to work and run their businesses following COVID-19 health recommendations.
In one of my latest Liquid Cool novels from last year–BioPunk Blues, Liquid Cool #7, who are the villains? The World Health Organization. What I’m asking is does this new “reality” that we’ve been thrown into without our consent or input, using the COVID-19 as a justification (or an excuse), seem disturbingly and terribly wrong to you? Do you also feel we are now on a wrong cosmic path which will have dire future consequences for this country? My subconscious mind obviously perceived we were already on this bad path when I wrote my first After Eden novel seven years ago and all of this just brought it all into the light for all to see.
What do you think? Are you as disturbed by this “new reality”?
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Austin Dragon is the author of over 30 books in science fiction, fantasy, and classic horror. His works include the sci-fi detective LIQUID COOL series, the epic fantasy FABLED QUEST CHRONICLES, the international futuristic epic AFTER EDEN Series, the classic SLEEPY HOLLOW HORRORS, and new military sci-fi PLANET TAMERS series. He is a native New Yorker but has called Los Angeles, California home for more than twenty years. Words to describe him, in no particular order: U.S. Army, English teacher, one-time resident of Paris, ex-political junkie, movie buff, Fortune 500 corporate recruiter, renaissance man, futurist, and dreamer.