Red Queen is a story about the yearning for freedom and agency in a world dominated by bureaucrats and propagandists, and it would not have been published by a major house. The world of Red Queen is just a decade or two away, and looks very much like the world we live in, just a few steps worse. In the tradition of Heinlein’s If This Goes On–, I have extrapolated from current trends and imagined the politics that result. The authoritarian tendencies we see in modern western states will probably be reversed at some point–but what if they just keep getting worse? This is especially true of the US, with its 9/11-justified surveillance and interception of every citizen’s email and message metadata, and a penal-industrial complex that imprisons about one in three black men at some point in their lives, often for victimless crimes like drug possession. A more serious terrorist incident might lead to even more restrictions on freedom and privacy. And that’s where Red Queen begins.