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On Liberty Island


Liberty Island is a website for conservative ‘literature’ set up by Adam Bellow, son of Saul. A disproportionate number of the stories on the site’s front page are classified as ‘dystopia’ or ‘horror’, which suggests that the Islanders may be just the teensiest bit paranoid. Conservative values triumph, by turns, over a pandemic, an invasive social service sector, a genetic disorder that turns babies gay – beneath that one someone’s commented ‘a real thinker’ – full employment, and a Lovecraftian tentacular monster. There are no romance stories or nature writing because they are for the weak; ‘military’ stories have their own replete section. One writer, Lari Vine, contributes a weekly send-up of Hillary Clinton’s campaign diary to the ‘humor’ section, in which she cracks jokes such as ‘It’s my day to babysit a recovering Chris Matthews. The other day he got his nose too far up Obama’s ass and he strained something.’ Guffaw.

For Bellow, these weird little pustules are weapons in a ‘culture war’. Last month he wrote in the National Review that the conservative publishing revolution ‘is already here. It’s just that most conservatives haven’t noticed it yet.’ Most conservatives are probably pretending not to notice, hoping it will go away and stop embarrassing them, but Bellow is determined to reach out. He recently posted on Buzzfeed an ‘introduction to 21 writers you probably have never heard of’. You haven’t heard of them because of a conspiracy between ‘the powers that rule the lit-crit, fanfic, and commercial publishing worlds’, of course, not because they are utterly, utterly shite. Top of his list – Bellow’s conservative counter-revolutionary hero number one – is Robert Zubrin, author of The Holy Land, a dystopian sci-fi novel in which ‘fanatical Earthling planet assassins are spreading chaos through the galaxy’ but the ‘liberal Western Galactic Empire’ is powerless to stop them because it’s too ‘nice’. Here’s Bellow’s introduction to his number 4:

Spare him your pained expressions of empathy and politically correct euphemisms: dwarf attorney Will Tripp, Pissed Off Attorney at Law, will use them only to defeat you in court and – laugh all the way to the bank. Picture Peter Dinklage in a three-piece suit.

The moral seems to be that dwarves can be arseholes too. Take that, liberal illuminati.


  1. Chris Larkin says:

    It’s quite difficult to balance the knowledge that all the writing is probably shocking, with the fact that I will sort of always want to read something called ‘Southern Fried Cthulhu’ and still arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. That said, after much deliberation i’m off to read ‘Southern Fried Cthulhu’.

    • StevePoling says:

      Having contributed the aforementioned “Lovecraftian tentacular monster,” I confess that it is sadly lacking in paranoia, or polemics. This review has me feeling a need to incorporate “romance stories or nature writing,” say Boy meets AR-15 or a contemplative meditation upon dynamite fishing.

  2. jaspreetsinghboparai says:

    My favourite piece on Liberty Island remains ‘the Big Obama Mountains’: https://www.libertyislandmag.com/forum/openrange/view.html?t=84 . It’s as addictive as crystal meth, and just as healthy and good for the skin.

    The funniest part of the song is the single comment posted below it by an enthusiastic reviewer:

    “Love it! I was laughing so hard that I woke up my husband…and that is very hard to do.”

    If you like morbid curiosity you’ll love this website.

  3. @luxante says:

    Bizarro World! I worked with Adam Bellow at the Strand a lifetime ago. He seemed OK then. Alien abduction?

    http://t.co/FMW062U0eY via @LRB

  4. zeidman says:

    I’m disappointed you didn’t point out my dystopian novel, Good Intentions, listed #6 on Adam Bellow’s list. I guarantee you it’s as bad or worse than my fellow conservative authors’ “utterly, utterly shit.” (I corrected your spelling, unless you meant Shiite, which would give an even more bizarre meaning to your blog).

    You can find my book at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0970227620/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il?ie=UTF8&tag=zeidmanconsultin.

  5. zeidman says:

    Sorry, I should have looked up “shite” before posting my reply. It means “the principal character in a Japanese Noh play.” Don’t worry, my novel has no such character, so it’s definitely worth reading.

  6. Geoff Roberts says:

    ‘I’m the Mother in Mother’s Pride’ kind of advertising inevitably has the converse effect to that hoped for by the advertiser. When a writer tells you that his book is quote definitely worth reading unquote, give it a miss.

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