You may have noticed the thoughtful comment by Enuf to my last post in which he said he found the Anomaly Trilogy “imaginative and enjoyable”, but that he thought Chapter 11 of the second part well-deserved the epithet “sick”. and “and in a bad way”.
Personally, I think this is a sane and reasonable response. This particular chapter doesn’t make cheerful reading and isn’t supposed to. Essentially it relates to a kind of pleasure resort used by the dictators of the various rogue regimes in the Anomaly universe where they practice the exact opposite of what they preach. In this case, this involves the rape and immolation of children, especially young boys. However, this isn’t a practise I describe with a great deal of detail but, as Enuf has discovered, explicitly enough for him to describe it as “sick”.
There is a species of porn on the internet that gets its kicks from the graphic depiction of grotesque and unpleasant sexual deviancy that embraces rape, cannibalism and torture. In my early naïve days of posting fiction on the internet, I was actually rather put out when someone wrote to praise my short story Color Bar not for the reason I wrote it, which was to focus on the injustice of American discrimination at the start of the Twentieth Century, but because he rather enjoyed the idea of raping young black women. That anyone would get that message rather horrified me, but now I know how commonplace it is for some people hunting for porn on the internet to find pleasure in reading about or even viewing the very things that I would have thought everyone would naturally condemn.
So, it goes without saying that Chapter 11 is meant satirically. But what is it a satire of?
Well, the Marquis de Sade in his novel Juliette portrays a world where the wealthy of the world (including the Pope and Empress Catherine the Great) all indulge in perverse sexual behaviour that invariably includes torture, immolation and buggery. In fact, so prevalent is the practice that the heroine’s greatest dilemmas are when she is insufficiently vicious and cruel.
Does this have a basis in real life?
Unfortunately it does, though perhaps not to the extent that the Marquis de Sade depicts. Very many of the unpleasant rulers that you can think of have behaved in ways that would have them in chains in the current Operation YewTree investigations in the UK. Dictators from Uday Hussein to Beria to Chairman Mao and Genghis Khan enjoyed sexual activities where rape was almost the best that their victims could expect. Time and time again, you read accounts of one dictator or another over the centuries whose idea of fun was gross at best and who often preached and enforced a morality totally at odds with what they practiced.
And I can’t help thinking that such hypocrisy by the worst type of dictator is more than likely to persist into the far future.