Movies, TV shows, music and books increasingly feature progressive views.
Heck, visit Newsbusters.org and you’ll see a steady flow of programming asking audiences to think, and vote, a certain way. Take the most recent “Murphy Brown” episode, or virtually any from the low-rated reboot.
The team behind “Appalling Stories” offered something different. The 2017 book featured tales that mocked Leftist tropes. The sequel, “Appalling Stories 2: More Appalling Tales of Social Injustice,” shares even more examples of what happens when artists tweak liberal groupthink.
HiT reached out to Paul Hair, who co-wrote the first book and contributes an original story to the new anthology, about the cultural forces behind this sequel. NOTE: This reporter penned the book’s foreword…
HiT: How did reader reactions shape the second “Appalling Stories” installment?
Paul Hair: HiT interviewed us about the first “Appalling Stories.” HiT readers responded to that and purchased the book. It let us know there’s a market for people who want to read tales other than what the legacy publishers are producing. So we wanted to publish another anthology of pulp fiction stories with themes and subjects that you just can’t find anywhere else.
But we wanted to make it different too.
David Dubrow, Ray Zacek and I wrote the first anthology. We wanted more authors for the sequel. And boy did we get good ones.
There are some names that readers will recognize instantly (such as Mike Baron, co-creator of comic book superhero Nexus, and sci-fi author Jon Del Arroz).
Others will be writers that people might be discovering. In both cases, readers will find thrilling short tales that are satisfyingly entertaining.
HiT: What were some of your favorite reactions to the first volume?
Hair: Readers chose different stories as their favorite ones. That tells me that we succeeded in publishing well-written stories, with the varied genres appealing to people of different tastes. All of us had more than one reader who chose at least one of our stories as the one they liked the best.
I’m not sure if any one tale was favored over the others. But if I had to guess, it might have been Ray’s “Detainer,” which is one of the longest tales, and which presents a detailed world.
HiT: What inspired your contribution to the book, “The Order That Changed the World?”
Hair: Years ago, Piers Morgan posted a tweet with regards to Americans’ right to bear arms. He wrote, “America has over 5000 nuclear warheads. Quite hard to defend against a ‘tyrannical U.S. government’ with that kind of firepower. #GetReal.” It’s still on his Twitter account as of me writing this.
America has over 5000 nuclear warheads. Quite hard to defend against a 'tyrannical U.S. government' with that kind of firepower. #GetReal
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 13, 2013
That blew me away.
The U.S. has fought many wars in my lifetime, including the wars that began following September 11, 2001. And anyone who may have suggested nuking our enemies out of existence was either someone spouting off, or someone who was immediately condemned for thinking such a thought. And yet here was a talking head who made the comment he did about nukes and American citizens.
So as a [conservative] author, you’d better do everything you can to form alliances where you can.
So when the time to start writing “Appalling Stories 2” came about, I created a story after thinking about that quote. And how does the concept of nuking Americans factor into, “The Order that Changed the World?” People will have to read it to find out.
I’ll only say it’s timelier than ever, and that I completed the whole tale before Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) made the comments he did about nuclear weapons and Americans just last month.
HiT: What advice do you have for right-leaning authors eager to tell their own stories their way?
Hair: Dedicate yourself to writing a story. And by that I mean, actually write a complete story. Prior to doing the first “Appalling Stories,” I spoke with many people about joining me in writing fiction. A considerable amount of them expressed some sort of interest. But they didn’t have follow through. And that’s probably an issue for a lot of aspiring writers.
In short, write fiction if you want to be a fiction writer.
The other big thing is making connections; promoting others’ work and being bold about asking them to promote your work. I’m referring to other writers, those in the entertainment industry, and so forth. It’s very freeing to try to tell your own stories on your own, but it’s very difficult.
I think this is especially true if you don’t adhere to the increasingly oppressive worldview that now dominates our culture.
“The un-American act of blacklisting unpopular political beliefs and opinions has become a common a cause for the organized left and just one more example of how the left that is killing liberalism.”
— ‘Sources Say’ is Greek for ‘Fake News’ (@NolteNC) December 19, 2018
So as an author, you’d better do everything you can to form alliances where you can.
On that note, this is why Hollywood in Toto is so valuable to authors like me. Quick, name another entertainment-focused site that isn’t left-of-center? Not easy to do. Is it?
HiT: Is there a third volume in the works? What themes do you hope will be found in it, and why?
Hair: Maybe. We want to see what sales are like for “Appalling Stories 2: More Appalling Tales of Social Injustice.” Then we also have to ask ourselves, “Do we have truly new tales to tell in this series or are we just going to be repeating ourselves?”
Speaking only for myself, I’ve had an idea of writing a different anthology where the theme would be: superhumans and theology. Each author would explore a theological idea within a setting where superhumans exist.
What do I mean by superhumans? Maybe the author tells a superhero tale. Or maybe it’s about superhuman people who don’t run around in tights. Or maybe it’s set in a fantasy universe. Or in outer space with aliens.
It’s wide open.
And as far as exploring a theological idea? Possibly even more latitude for the individual authors. I’m not thinking of doing an atheist-converts type story, but rather thinking of more complex ideas such as: why would Providence gift an individual with superhuman abilities, what theological conflicts would a superhuman person have with using his abilities to fight wars and other battles, and how would a person with superhuman abilities justify using his abilities to do what is right and good in a world full of evil?
A lot of people may want to shy away from theological subject matter. I don’t.
But like I said, I don’t yet have any solid plans for what comes next. All I can say is, if people want to see more of my and my co-authors’ work, buy “Appalling Stories 2!”