Remember Bowling Green (An Alternative History Novel #1) by David Niall Wilson and Patricia Lee Macomber Book Review

Write on: Sun, 28 Jun 2020 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 1582


Remember, Remember, the 10th of March
The Day of Ronald Krump's start
I see a reason, that time-traveling treason
Should make his campaign stop

Disclaimer: I know one of the authors personally and have done projects with him. I'll try and keep the review as unbiased as possible, though. Still, take my review with a grain of salt and judge for yourself.

Politics is not something I usually get involved in when discussing my fantasy or science fiction. My Supervillainy Saga protagonist, Gary Karkofsky, is a progressive anarchist but that's because it makes it more fun to tell stories with him. Also, what some people consider to be politics like "gay and trans people exist" are only such when you wish to deny reality. However, sometimes I just enjoy a good satire and Remember Bowling Green is an unbashedly political science fiction satire that I think will be enjoyable to Americans with a certain view of the White House's occupant during its publication. If you don't share that view, feel free to give this one a skip. This is very much for people who are at least exasperated by the current administration if not outraged.

The premise is that Frederick Douglass, famed real-life abolitionist and statesman, is a time-traveling warrior for justice. In what is a deliberate homage to Doctor Who, he attempts to use his abilities to go around the world and deal with a variety of surreal events. If you find this absurdist then, yes, no kidding. This is a fantastical journey that uses humor to talk about its points.

In this case, Frederick is attempting to prevent the Bowling Green Massacre that is a fictitious terrorist attack in real life that was cited as a reason for the Muslim travel ban. In this universe, real estate tycoon Ronald Krump has taken over the town of Bowling Green in order to set up events that will propel him to leadership of America. If you object to the idea of a thinly-disguised Donald Trump actually being a Lex Luthor-esque supervillain then this is not the book for you.

There's no attempt at both-sidism as Ronald Krump attempts a variety of criminal acts like rounding up the elderly to hold hostage their relatives, launch a terrorist attack at a baseball game, and other dastardly deeds in order to make "Bowling Green Awesome again." The Hamburgler is more nuanced and that's the point. He's also explicitly racist and as much interested in profiting from his world-domination plan as he is it actually succeeding.

If there's one thing that bothers me about the book, it's the fact Frederick Douglass is kind of terrible at his job of fixing history. At one point, after numerous attempts to stop Ronald Krumpt have failed, Frederick goes back in time to attack Fred Trump (err, sorry, Fred Krump) before he's become a billionaire. The fact that Fred is able to overwhelm our hero is pretty terrible because I'm sure Douglass would have whooped Fred's ass.

The supporting cast primarily consists of Frederick Douglass' "companions" who are the poor, confused citizens of Bowling Green, Kentucky that are wondering why an evil billionaire has their city on lockdown. Honestly, as a resident of Kentucky, I think there would have been more people ready and willing to join Krump's armies but I appreciate the fact not all of us are depicted as totally onboard with the supervillain's plans. I particularly liked Walt and felt he added a humanizing touch to everything.

Doctor Who fans as well as progressives will get the most out of this book as will, oddly enough, people who know a great deal about Donald Trump's past. There's a huge amount of in-jokes about the man's shady dealings, failures, and scandals that only a die-hard scholar of the man will get the entirety of. Frederick Douglass is a great protagonist and I kind of wish they'd do another novel with him. Maybe he can fight President MacDonald Drumpf.

Available here

Last modified on Sunday, 28 June 2020 22:10
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.