Fiction authors imagine a world where Donald Trump is US president
magine it’s 2017 and Donald Trump is president. He’s been informed by national security adviser Sean Hannity that Russia has launched a nuclear missile to Canada and war may be unavoidable.
Only a fellow celebrity can make it right - at least if you ask Richard Hine, author of the novella Kim Kardashian Saves the World (After President Trump Nearly Ends It).
“I’ve taken the idea of how ridiculous it would be to put a reality TV star in the realm of the presidency, and how you need a bigger TV reality star to step in,” explains Hine, whose book is among a wave of fiction about the Republican presidential nominee.
If Trump’s political rise is proof that reality can outwit the most inventive minds, then some are trying to win back the narrative by jumping into the future. Thanks to the speed of digital technology, several authors managed to complete and release Trump fiction for the GOP convention, with titles including Operation Golden Mane: The Donald Trump Incident, Donald Trump Builds a Wall: A Funny Story and Trumpocalypse Now: A Horror Satire. Last month, The New York Times published a short story by acclaimed fiction writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose The Arrangements views the campaign from the perspective of Trump’s wife, Melania. “She sagged suddenly with terror, imagining what would happen if Donald actually won,” Adichie writes. “Everything would change. Her contentment would crack into pieces. The relentless intrusions into their lives; those horrible media people who never gave Donald any credit would get even worse.”
Andrew Shaffer is another Trump fiction author, a pro at parodies from Fifty Shames of Earl Grey or How to Survive a Sharknado. Shaffer’s The Day of the Donald is set in 2018, with a wall along the Mexican border under construction and a would-be Trump biographer mysteriously dead. Shaffer bills his story as “a completely untrue, utterly unauthorised but not thoroughly impossible thriller”. “Here’s a guy who’s a ready-made Bond villain - he’s rich, he’s eccentric,” Shaffer says. “Plus, look at that hair. You can just imagine him walking into a room where James Bond is tied up and then cackling maniacally.”
The books aim for laughs, but the authors say they want to address serious issues. Hine supposes in his novel that a Trump victory was made possible by voting restrictions that kept students, minorities and other presumed Democratic voters from the polls. He also critiques how candidates use the media.
“It’s so easy to make fun of Trump’s bombastic, arrogant and narcissistic style, pointing out the flaws in his statements and fact-free approach to his tweets,” says Hine, whose Twitter parody @RealDonalDrumpf has more than 40,000 followers. “So I wanted to write something that comes out of a slightly different angle. I wanted to say something about celebrities and social media and how Trump has used social media and traditional media.”
Paul Bellow, the pseudonymous author of Trump Drumpf: A Political Satire Novel, said his book arose from conversations with friends about the election. The story takes us to 2023, when the country is being run by President Trump and Vice President Facebook.
“I joked about writing both a pro-Trump and anti-Trump book and profiting from both sides in true capitalist style,” he said. “However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write a satire knocking not only Trump but also some of the other current problems in America - ie education, private prisons, etc.
“Buried under the candy-coated shell of this book, I’ve tried to shine light on a few huge problems that America will be facing in the near future.”