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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Two State Solution for the U.S.

I wrote EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED in 2009.  It was a time when I thought the United States was more fractious than I had ever dreamt possible.  Everyone seemed to agree that the Bush years had been a great big fat eight-year detour off the path for America.  But the country seemed to be literally torn in half about which was the correct way forward.  It was not lost on me that the recent election of the first black president was a progressive milestone of epic proportions, one even people my age never thought would happen in our lifetimes.  Neither was it lost on me that the backlash against his election was unleashing (or perhaps simply laying bare) a white-hot conservative anger that harkened back to the Cold War in invoking the specter of socialism and to even darker times in its implicit racism.  The United States was, somehow, at once both in Star Trek times (remember when "black president" was shorthand on TV shows for a vaguely defined date in the near future?) and in antebellum times.

EKD was my nightmare tongue-in-cheek vision of what two American states would look like.  The idea is nothing new - certainly Harry Turtledove covered similar ground in GUNS OF THE SOUTH and the follow-on series - but it was probably the first time in my life that I believed a divided America was a genuine possibility.  I had long heard of the supposed "right" of Texas to secede from the union as a historical quirk, a Jeopardy answer, a footnote in the history of our union.  Now, I was hearing people talk about it legitimately.  The governor of Texas, even.  Republicans, who, ten or twenty years before had been the dull, gray-suited defenders of the bureaucratic status quo were talking about armed revolution - in some ways fomenting it, although they all immediately disavowed every act of domestic terror that followed in their ideological wake.

I chose 2016 as my "point of departure" which is a term usually reserved for alternate history, but since I knew EKD was taking place shortly in the future, I like to use the term as well.  Although never explicitly spelled out in the text, I heavily implied that a Democrat being elected in 2016, which seemed like all but a certainty then (and even more of a certainty now) would lead to actual revolution.  My thinking was that conservatives hate Obama so much, and want him out of office so much, that the idea of a third term with a Democrat in power would drive them to sheer madness.

Now it is 2016.  Not quite November yet, but that'll pan out however it does.  I do want to know, though, what do you think about the future?  Do you think we can go on the way we're going?  Sad to say, but the idea of a "two state solution" which was always a term used to refer to Israel and Palestine splitting up in some sense, now seems to be a possibility for the U.S.  Do you think there's a peaceful way to dissolve the union?  Will revolution be necessary?  What will those two (or more) states look like?  Economically, can we afford to break up?  Politically, can we afford not to?

EKD was my attempt to answer just some of these questions.  What are your answers?  And what did you think of mine?  Let me know in the comments below.


  1. I'm sure this issue must've been fun to explore deeper in your novel.

    If the split happens, I'm hoping for three states - cuz I'm not stepping into one run wholly by either of the two top parties. There are too many crazies on both sides.

    I love that Hamilton (the musical) has become such a runaway success at this time of the country's history. First, I love it because the show seems to strike a chord of pride in America - something that's felt lacking in recent years. Also, I think it's a good reminder that America has never been a cohesive, let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya environment. It's a place where differing opinions are supposed to be encouraged and listened to, not shut down by Twitter mobs when those opinions step outside whatever the militant social network types deem to be THE only acceptable stance on an issue.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Nicki! I agree there's something scary about attempting to police our thoughts. On the other hand, social media does allow for the disenfranchised to have a voice. I think there's going to be a push and pull for a while as we reach a new normal for public discourse. Which, as you pointed out, is the way it's always been in America, rosy colored nostalgia notwithstanding.

  2. This undercurrent of societal unrest has me rethinking which side of the Civil War in 1860 I would have been on. The big problem I see is the division of states makes more of a jagged line than a straight one, and in some cases the division goes within states. This new split wouldn't be simply a "North vs. South" and that means the two countries would collide in more places.

    That would get ugly fast, no matter how it happened.

    Also, I can't help but look through the Orwellian lens. His work changed my paradigm.

    1. Hi, JEN! Thanks for stopping by. We definitely would not have the relative simplicity of a single division. I've read some places that America could easily be divided into ten countries culturally. When you think about it, we're basically the size of Europe and in some ways just as diverse, except that there are dozens of countries over there and here we're just one. I'm hoping, of course, that this never happens, but the cynic in me worries that it could.


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