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And The Last Trump Shall Sound:  A Future History of America

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And The Last Trump Shall Sound: A Future History of America

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Author: Harry Turtledove
James Morrow
Cat Rambo
Publisher: CAEZIK SF & Fantasy, 2020

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Book Type: Anthology
Genre: Science-Fiction
Sub-Genre Tags: Alternate/Parallel Universe
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"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." – First Corinthians 15:52

From New York Times bestselling author, Harry Turtledove, critically-acclaimed novelist, James Morrow, and Nebula Award finalist, Cat Rambo, comes a masterful anthology of three sensational novellas depicting a dark fictional future of the United States.

And the Last Trump Shall Sound is a prophetic warning about where we, as a nation, may be headed. Mike Pence is President of the United States after years of divisive, dogmatic control by Donald Trump. The country is in turmoil as the Republicans have strengthened their stronghold on Congress, increasing their dominance. And with the support of the Supreme Court, more conservative than ever, State governments become more marginalized by the authoritarian rule of the Federal government.

There are those who cannot abide by what they view as a betrayal of the nation's founding principles. Once united communities break down and the unthinkable suddenly becomes the only possible solution: the end of the Union.

The authors' depiction of a country that is both unfamiliar and yet unnervingly all too realistic, make you realize the frightening possible consequences of our increased polarization?a dire warning to all of us of where we may be headed unless we can learn to come together again.



Nicole Yoshida clicked the remote's channel-up button, first once, then twice. The same story led on Fox News, Fox-CNN, and Fox-MSNBC. At President Pence's order, the governor and lieutenant governor of Connecticut had been remanded to protective custody on a charge of treason for refusing to cooperate with federal court-mandated immigration sweeps.

Connecticut State Cabinet officials had unanimously resigned in protest; the media said they had, anyhow. On a temporary basis?so every network's newscasters assured their audience?the chief of the Connecticut State Police had been appointed acting governor of the state.

The governor of California made a disgusted noise and turned off the TV. She remembered when the news channels each had a different spin on things. She remembered when some of them dared disagree with the federal government, even on important things like the first coronavirus pandemic.

It hadn't been that long ago, either. They'd stayed that way well into President Trump's second term. The good old days, she thought sourly. Then consolidation hit television and radio and what was left of the newspapers. That social media had already gone the same way made finishing the job easier.

" 'Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,' " she quoted.

Her CHP bodyguard?one of her CHP bodyguards?let out a snort. "Yeah, the whole country is Donne to a turn," Captain Myron Flegenheim said with malice aforethought.

She winced to let him know she'd noticed what he'd done. "How long till the Last Trump blows for me?" she replied, just as maliciously.10

His pained expression told her he'd hoped a governor would be above such things, and she'd just disappointed him... again. "The United States is washed up," he said. Then he added, "Anybody got a cigarette?"

"Go outside," Governor Yoshida told him.

"I always do," Flegenheim said.

And he did. Even almost a third of the way through the twenty-first century, even with vaping driving cigarette manufacturers batshit, some stubborn people with a nicotine jones still got their fix from good, old-fashioned tobacco. Captain Flegenheim was one of them. He was polite about it, but he was.

Being polite helped only so much. People who smoked smelled bad all the time. The odor clung to their clothes, their skin, their hair, their breath. You couldn't tell them so, either. They refused to believe you. They'd got so used to their stink, they were noseblind to it.

Nicole Yoshida wished she were. She'd thought now and then about asking Chief Musavi to take Flegenheim off her guard rotation and to replace him with a nonsmoker. She hadn't done it yet. He The captain had a lively, sardonic wit, which was about as uncommon in cops as it was in politicians.

As if to prove as much, he asked, "When the Feds come for you, will they give this office to my boss?"

"They'll be sorry if they do," she answered.

That Ali Musavi is not just a Muslim but a Shiite Muslim? headed the California Highway Patrol, might have been one reason the Feds hadn't tried to seize her yet. That he was further left politically than she was couldn't hurt, either.

"They're never sorry for anything. That's part of what makes them what they are," Flegenheim said.

"I know," she said. "Boy, do I know!"

"How long can things go on like this?"

"What an interesting question! If there are no other questions, class is dismissed," the governor said. She'd taught poli sci at UC Berkeley. She'd got into academic politics there?an excellent train-ing ground, she often thought, because the stakes were so low. But she'd wanted to play the real game, too, so she'd left the university for politics politics.11

And here she was, in the governor's mansion in Sacramento. And the game was getting realer than she'd ever dreamt it could twenty years earlier.

Captain Flegenheim made a discontented noise. "Joke as much as you want. They aren't joking in Washington."

"Yes, I know," Yoshida said. They'd been over this ground several?dozen?times before. "Why do you think the CHP is as militarized as I can make it? If I need more muscle, I can call up the California National Guard."

"You can till President Pence federalizes it," Flegenheim replied. "That'll take?what??thirty seconds, tops, from when you order it to active duty."

"It will if California officers obey the president's order."

He looked at her. She hadn't been so blunt before. Well, things hadn't been so bad before. "Funny, but you don't look like Jefferson Davis," he said, then softened it a bit by adding, "You'd look silly with a little fringe of beard under your chin."

"Heh," she said. It wasn't much of a laugh, but in the year of our Lord 2031, with Mike Pence, star-spangled fascism, and the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost calling the shots from D.C., you took what you could get and were glad to get anything at all. In a different tone of voice, she went on, "Would you step into the outer office for a while, please? I need to make a conference call, and I don't want any witnesses."

"Okay, but do you really think that will do any good if the Feds aim to hear what you're saying?"

Nicole Yoshida only shrugged. Some Silicon Valley people, whose expertise she trusted, said nobody in Washington could crack her encryption. Maybe they were wrong, maybe not. Either way, the FBI probably already had a good notion of what she meant to talk about. As a song older than she was said, you didn't need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blew.

Copyright © 2020 by Harry Turtledove

Copyright © 2020 by James Morrow

Copyright © 2020 by Cat Rambo


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