The 28th Amendment – Author Blog

The now-retired television show The West Wing had (and still has, apparently) many loyal and devoted fans who saw that Aaron Sorkin and his alter-ego Jed Bartlet were doing a far better job running the country than the Bush Administration ever did or could.

This fantasy is the premise of my novel The 28th Amendment: an actor who portrays a fictional US president on television does his job a little too well, and gets drafted into the 2020 presidential campaign — threatening the re-election prospects of the real (Republican) president.

In my book the TV show is called The Oval Office, the fictional president is Alvin Bosco (a different kind of pear), and the real president is Burton Grove (i.e. George Bush) – so anyone who watched The West Wing will quickly recognize the milieu.

As transparent as this all may seem, it represents only a framework for the book. The overall plot, and most of the major characters, derive from other sources of inspiration.

B.E. Warne, the host of the West Wing Continuity Web site who reviewed my book, described it as having “a touch (or two) of science fiction” — a comment which surprised me.  When I asked for some elaboration, Warne attributed the science fiction label to one of the protagonist’s on-going attraction to incredibly unlikely coincidences.   As unlikely as these coincidences are, they’re not events that violate the laws of physics; cf. for example some of the stunts in the James Bond movies — now that’s science fiction.

So on that view I defend my story as being at least possible.  Whether or not its inherent improbability qualifies it as science fiction I will leave to the academes.

I’d love to hear from other readers as well.  Please let me know what you think.

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