Admit it, you though this page would be blank, because nothing could be scarier than the hellscape America would become under a Trump presidency…right? Trump actively scorns diplomacy, restraint, and the lessons of history, and is planning to usher in an America defined by self-interest, hatred, fear, and willful ignorance. He bullied his way to becoming the presumptive nominee, belittling and cowing his opponents into submission—there’s something fishy about the way Cruz and Kasich dropped out so close to one another, we can’t imagine what Trump may have bribed them with. Now the way is clear for Trump to wreak havoc on our national consciousness until November, forcing us into nightmarish speculation about what his hopefully-never-to-be-realized reign of terror might bring.
Still, as bad as Trump is, fiction has given us even scarier versions of the future. Authors are sadistic and imaginative people, though, luckily for us, they know the difference between entertainment and a campaign for the presidency of the United States.
Here are five of our picks for plots that are scarier than a Trump presidency, and one that might be eerily similar…
1. Alternate history, Nazis win WWII
A charismatic, authoritarian leader garnering a vociferous following among the white (particularly male) section of the electorate by promising to cleanse our national identity of radical, dangerous, un-American elements and secure a homeland for all deserving white people Americans. The only thing worse would be if such a leader had been in power for the last seventy years as well…
Books: The Man in the High Castle, Dominion, about a million others
2. Alien Invasion
If you’re a human person who enjoys being alive on our pretty blue and green planet, then the arrival of a technologically advanced, sentient, and aggressive alien race is going to be a problem. Despite what we’ve been told in fiction, if the aliens decide to destroy us, that’s probably going to be the end of life on Earth, no matter who the president is.
Books: The War of the Worlds, The 5th Wave, All You Need Is Kill, Childhood’s End (sure the aliens are benevolent, but humanity still ends), and about a million more
3. Humanity-ending disease
When the inevitable pandemic arrives, it’s going to prove the Ebola alarmists and backwoods survivalists right, and that’s going to be really annoying. Except we’ll all be too dead to care.
Books: The Stand, Station Eleven
4. Post-Apocalyptic Dystopias
The world has been destroyed and in its wake a regime has arisen that strives to protect peace though rigid social classification, enforced homogeneity, and/or suppression of individuality and emotional freedom. The upside: if you’re a teenage girl, you’re probably society’s savior. The downside: a real-life dystopia will probably look more like anarchy of The Road or the hedonism of Brave New World than the charmingly repressive societies of Divergent and The Hunger Games.
Books: see above. Also, The Giver
5. Zombie Apocalypse
Right now it might seem like a brain-dead horde is railroading the normal political process, but I guarantee, when the dead actually do begin to rise, we’re all going to be in for an unpleasant surprise. But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Books: World War Z, Warm Bodies, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, basically anything published between 2000-2010
And the one that might prove eerily prescient:
6. The Handmaid’s Tale
Margaret Atwood’s classic speculative novel begins with a staged terrorist attack (blamed on Muslim extremists), followed quickly by a revolution that suspends the US Constitution, takes away the rights of women, expels undesirable racial and religious groups, and hangs traitors from the city walls. Oh, and everyone is trying to escape to Canada…sound familiar?