“Trump still talking, still livestreaming, sailing above the unfolding devastation, justifying and raging, attacking his enemies, and then calling for a big strike, calling for it even as the internet was flickering out.” (P.105)
MARK DOTEN DESCRIBES, in his new novel, all too realistically what the end of the world might look like. From the recklessness and excessiveness of our current president, to the reactions from so many groups on social media, Doten paints a lifelike picture of society’s potential future. In Trump Sky Alpha, Rachel, a journalist, who survived the nuclear apocalypse caused by President Donald Trump, is assigned a story from The New York Times to investigate social media as Trump drops literal bombs. While she searches through circulating tweets and memes, she looks into an unknown person who goes by the name “Birdcrash”, who they suspect might be the cause of the internet shutdown. It turns out Rachel’s main mission is to find her dead wife and daughter.
Personally, I both enjoyed and detested this book. I recommend this book for people who enjoy the ridiculing of the 45th President of the United States. This book reiterates everything I already pieced together about someone’s president (he is not my president): he is reckless, childish, excessive, senseless and selfish. This is shown right away, when Doten describes Trump’s zeppelin–his eventual and outrageous mode of transportation. After describing an air vessel with lobsters with Trump encrusted on them and the whitest of white wines, Doten finishes off this description 3 pages later saying, “above it a massive American flag with Trump’s face superimposed, squinting and grinning, the flag itself animated LED-enabled fabric mirroring Trump’s expressions via real time video capture” (7). The novel has a great balance of mockery and truth when it comes to the political aspects of our world. I commend Doten for his courageous choices in characters. Though the novel has an overall topic of Donald Trump, the protagonist is clearly a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is ironic because many people, myself included, believe that Donald Trump has permitted hate on all fronts to be more acceptable against minorities. In addition to the political and cultural commentary, I would like to stress that this story is exceptionally and skillfully written, perfectly intertwining memes, movie quotes, interviews, and many other types of media into an essential and dark, satirical novel.
Though I did enjoy this book, I also was extremely overwhelmed by it. I don’t recommend this book for anyone who, like me, may not be as advanced a reader as this language requires. The audience must be prepared for a heavy subject and experimental style. I, personally, struggled to get past the first thirty pages in the novel. This is because Doten’s format is a clear parallel of Donald Trump’s excessive, unnecessary, and absurd character and his excessive, unnecessary, and absurd style of communication. In doing so, each paragraph is one sentence long, yet also two pages long–resulting in confusion for the audience, while perfectly recreating Donald Trump in writing. It also calls for the reader to be somewhat politically educated due to the book being politically motivated. The examples of different governors, senators, and specialists will be hard to understand if the reader is not knowledgeable in this way.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel more than not. When I looked into this book before reading it, I assumed it was going to be a purely a satirical novel. I was not aware of the powerfulness behind the truth in this fictional story. Trump Sky Alpha is indeed a dark and thought-provoking novel, which is necessary given the trying times we live in.
-Alecia Hobdy ‘19