‘The Next Civil War’ Reads Like Dystopian Realism


In his book The next civil war, journalist Stephen Marche warns that the United States is dangerously approaching widespread political violence. Marche interviewed dozens of experts for the book, and his predictions sounded like science fiction.

“At the time, I thought of it as ‘dystopian realism,'” Marche says in episode 512 of Geek Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “There are all these dystopian novels out there, and it’s like, ‘Let me describe the reality of what’s going on. You don’t have to invent things. I will get the best models available and show you how they are, and that is enough to continue, in the dystopian realm. “

The book presents several future scenarios. In one, fights erupt between local law enforcement and the U.S. military. In another, refugees flee a devastated city in New York following a major storm. These sections are written like a novel and try to harness the power of fiction to create an emotional connection with the characters. “It simply came to our notice then The next daywhich was originally a piece of fiction written for Congress about what a nuclear attack would be like in Lawrence, Kansas, “says Marche.” This became a television movie, which was the most watched television program world at that time and caused Reagan to re-evaluate the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Treaty and, in fact, had major political impacts. “

Fiction about an impending civil war is already very popular. Most of these are right-wing stories that attract survivors and trainers. “They have very specific visions of what a collapsed America would be like,” Marche says. “It’s never a nuclear winter that they imagine, because of course no one would survive that. They imagine something very similar to the Wild West, where you’re alone, and you need to garden for yourself, and you have to “Assemble, and you have to run away from the bandit groups, basically. So the far right is very committed to fantasy.”

Marche says serious warnings about the future have their place, but our culture may have been exaggerated when it comes to producing dystopian fiction. For his next book, he is considering something more optimistic. “I wrote this dystopian book, but the book we probably need is a utopian technology book, where it says, ‘Here are some beautiful things that technology can do,'” he says. · Solarpunk “.

Listen to the full interview with Stephen Marche in episode 512 of Geek Guide to the Galaxy (on top). And look at some of the highlights of the discussion below.

Stephen Marche in his novel The wolf’s hunger:

I was always obsessed with wolves. The Werewolf Things I had seen a bit in my PhD, which was about Shakespeare, in which I did a paper on various magical transformations in that period. So I knew part of the story of werewolves, but for the book I got into it a lot. And it’s fascinating because it really goes back in time and is in all cultures. So there are werewolf versions in Japan, and there are werewolf versions in the Canadian Indigenous culture, and there are werewolf versions in Africa: they don’t become wolves, they become dogs. So this general story is the one that exists and fits with something really general to the human condition that I think is quite powerful.

Stephen Marche on the Civil War:

The US military command is very clearly built around a chain of command that is fully bound by the US Constitution, and when [civil order] it breaks, the army will make a choice as a unit and someone will be at the head of the US Army. The generals will leave and the generals will leave, but they will not take any force with them. What you will have are paramilitary units that do not feel that the government is a legitimate government, and [feel] who are freedom fighters. This is what usually happens in civil war. It is not as if the military is breaking up on two sides, as in the first Civil War. You have the army, and then you have a lot of people out of the army who don’t consider the army legitimate and take the violence into their own hands.

Stephen Marche on secession:

At the end of the book I look for solutions, and in fact I think secession is one of the most reasonable solutions for the United States right now. When couples get to the state of America, just sit the kids down and say, “It’s time to divorce.” This is the civilized solution. Now, secession in America is very, very difficult, not impossible, but certainly unconstitutional, and it also requires a great deal of international negotiation. But having said that, I really think we’re getting to a point now, especially with the incipient abortion decision, where you’re basically going to have almost two different countries anyway … I think it could get to a point where California would be better off on its own. alone, Texas would be better for itself. They don’t share much in any way.


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