Movie monsters don’t scare me. Jason, Freddie Kruger, Dracula in all his forms, rubber lizards, whatever. I’m a scientist at heart, no, at mind, and those things are fake.
However, years ago I saw a film by David Lynch called Blue Velvet and it kept me up at night. The villain was a character called Frank Booth, played well by Dennis Hopper. The character was a bit over the top, but not by much. The thing that got to me was that he was so plausible. He wasn’t superhuman in any way, just amoral, antic, sadistic, and ruthless. I know there are people like him out there. We hear about them in the news periodically. (I met one once, but luckily he was shackled and surrounded by state troopers at the time.)
Paul Bibeau, the mind behind Goblinbooks and The Black Book of Children’s Bible Stories has just e-published a collection of nine short stories about Donald Trump and the people who support him. It’s full of horrific plausibility.
It does stray into the supernatural. However, it only strays into that hazy, dimly-lit area between the truly magical and the truly mentally ill. The narrators are unreliable by definition, so it is hard to tell between demonic possession and dissociative identity disorder.
We get to spend some time inside the minds of Trump himself, a beauty queen obsessed with murder, a paranoid loner, an artificial intelligence entity, and a bored suburban family man who joins the local right wing militia. There is the rise of the surveillance state and the slow fall of empire. All the stories are full of the ordinary, or what passes for ordinary in our era.
Bibeau has clear prose, good dialogue, and an eye for subtle description. His horror isn’t the horror of the beast crashing down the center of the street. His is the horror of the slight movement in the corner of your eye, or the realization that the mistake you just made has more momentum than you have strength.
H.P. Lovecraft and George Saunders adopted a baby boy, named him Paul, and brought him up right.
I recommend Trump Tales of Terror for your late night reading pleasure. It costs a dollar at Amazon, which is an absurdly good entertainment value proposition.