Gazing up from schools and institutions to governments and international bodies, it seems there is a blanket agreement that ‘transwomen are women’ and ‘transmen are men.’ How such total dominion has been established so quickly has been speculated on by everyone from conservative Christians to radical feminists, but until Simon Edge none have attempted to fictionalise the trans take-over of reason.
The project to make mention of biological sex taboo is so bonkers it’s hard to find a comparable analogy. But Edge, in The End of the World is Flat, has managed it by honing-in on the comparatively bizarre belief that the earth is a disc. His fifth novel centres on the fall of ‘The Orange Peel Foundation’, an organisation with a noble aim to ensure that maps are accurate and not biased toward the northern hemisphere. Through avarice, ambition and inexperience the charity’s director Shaun squanders the charity’s reputation; allowing The Orange Peel Foundation to become a vehicle for the whims of a deranged Californian billionaire.
As the plot unfolds, masked mobs pull down ‘problematic’ statues of Christopher Columbus, moronic celebrities triumphantly display their ignorance and a new enemy emerges, the ‘TERGs’ or ‘True Earth Rejecting Globularists’. So cheeky is this satire, were it a film lawyers would’ve forced the producer to add a disclaimer stating “any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, organisations or actual events, is purely coincidental.”
For the committed gender critical crowd, in-jokes punctuate every page. But the work is more than a clever jab at trans ideology; it stands alone both as a modern morality tale charting one man’s descent into lies, and a warning about the vulnerability of the liberal values upon which modern society rests.
The characters have not been drawn merely to perform political parts; Edge has sculpted them with care, imbuing each with all the desires and foibles of real life. The board at the Orange Peel Foundation lay out Shaun’s fate with the detached cunning of gods on Mount Olympus. Shaun’s disturbingly plausible descent is accelerated when he comes under the tutelage of a master of the dark arts of public persuasion, the diabolically charming Robinson White. Dazzled by the brilliance of celebrity endorsement, and thrilled by his own talent for deception, Shaun finds himself presiding over a movement which seeks to monster opponents and harness the atavistic anger unleashed by social media.
There is a certain irony to reading a book, a medium dating back over a thousand years, which satirises events that have unfolded precisely because of the digital age. The book is punctuated with excerpts from Twitter, passages which perfectly capture how a platform purportedly designed for the sharing of information has become a vector for lies and narcissism.
Edge’s timing is preternaturally perfect, and the postscript to The End of the World is Flat contains an acknowledgement that Stonewall is now crumbling. But unlike this pacy work of fiction, transgender ideology spans the globe, and when it comes, the reckoning will be messy and brutal. There will be no apology to those whose careers have been ruined, nor to those whose bodies bear the scars of this vicious assault on reality.
The current climate is stifling, whilst brave cultural commentators have brought critiques of the authoritarian Left into the mainstream, the influence of reason on ideologically captured institutions remains limited. That Edge has sought to satirise woke group think through a novel feels significant; fictionalising the trans war on reality is a way of reifying it in the public imagination. The End of the World of Flat is a well-crafted, humane and engaging novel; no doubt its success will be certain when it is added to the ever-rising pyre of problematic books.
The End of the World is Flat is available in paperback from Amazon from 9th August and you can pre-order here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/End-World-Flat-Simon-Edge/dp/178563240X