It’s genuinely an accomplishment to get a book near the top of the Amazon #100 chart. It’s even more of an accomplishment to do it when you’re an author that nobody has ever heard of who had never written a book before. And it’s the giant golden star on top of an accomplishment cake to do it writing a book that has no real audience, written under a fake name by people also using fake names, and is barely a book.
But such is the way of things. And so “QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening” made international news when it skyrocketed up Amazon’s charts, fueled by a clutch of five star reviews and coverage on the TV news and web.
Hell, I got interviewed by NBC News and syndicated radio about it. But beyond the hype, beyond the head-slapping realization that Amazon allowed itself to gamed by a conspiracy, beyond everything swirling around the book is the book itself.
To my knowledge, nobody has actually reviewed the book as a book, rather than as an outlier.
Is it any good? Will a reader who has never heard of QAnon be converted to the cause? Or is it just a sermon delivered to the faithful, a giant slab of bias that confirms everything they already believe?
I read it. And the answer to the question “is it good” depends entirely on what you already think of QAnon. If you’re already a believer, the book will confirm what you already know. Q proofs are real and spectacular. Child trafficking is everywhere and nobody is innocent except Trump. Q is a hero, and his acolytes are preparing to usher in a brave new world of peace and freedom, based on palatial locales like North Korea. The Clintons and Obamas are pure evil. Everything is so much worse than the media is telling you.
But if you’re a QAnon skeptic, like me, the book comes off as less a book and more a half-baked (if that) collection of rambles. Some of them make more sense than others, and some don’t make sense at all. All of it is very cultish, like some kind of attempt to make a new scripture out of a movement that has an almost messianic view of President Trump. No person reading this book who isn’t a believer is likely to be convinced of anything other than QAnon people are crazy and should be institutionalized.
But beyond the content, the book barely works as an actual literary device. It’s extremely difficult to actually read, full of long, dense paragraphs stuffed with esoteric details and random digressions. The density of the writing makes any point almost incomprehensible, lost among irrelevant bits of trivia, Q worship, and accusations not supported by evidence.
A given chapter is likely to bounce around between decoding Trump tweets to the “real story” of some political event to some random Clinton ephemera. There’s not a lot of organization to it, and even less narrative flow. And the citations it relies on are almost all either Q drops or Wikipedia pages.
It’s poorly formatted, choppy, written in garbled English, and often simply recites facts punctuated by folksy exclamations of “can you believe this?!?” And because the authors likely didn’t know what everyone else was writing, the book is incredibly repetitive, often rehashing the same events over and over, such as Trump’s “calm before the storm” remark, or elements of the FISA “scandal.” Multiple times it makes references to upcoming events that have already happened, showing how much of a rush job it was.
Finally, there are also typos, missing words, and factual mistakes galore. The book misspells Trump mentor Roy Cohn’s name several times, gets basic facts about the impeachment process and Senate procedure wrong, has virtually no understanding of historical events, and even refers to a “basketball match” at one point. Did nobody even give this a cursory copy edit?
Much of the actual “proof” offered by the book has no evidence to support it other than being asserted by Q at some point. But that’s not evidence, it’s accusation. And when you start with an un-evidenced accusation, and use it to prove even more accusations, what you’re left with is pure fiction that pretends it’s the truth.
A good example is in the chapter by well-known Q decoder SerialBrain2, who claims that Q “told us about three attempts by the deep state to assassinate Trump. The first? The horrific massacre in Las Vegas, which left 58 Americans dead, 500 more wounded, and thousands traumatized.
Because nothing in Q-land happens the way the media reports it, SB2 claims that the massacre was actually an attack by MS-13 gang members on a secret summit between Trump and Saudi Arabian prince Mohammad bin Salman.
There is literally no evidence this is true, and a great deal of evidence it’s not. For one, Trump was flying between Bedminister, NJ, and the White House when the massacre took place. There is no possible way he could have snuck a flight to Las Vegas in, then turned right around and come back to the White House.
But beyond that, it reduces the actual suffering of the people killed, wounded, and scared by the attack to mere props in a conspiracy theory. The real people don’t matter, only the fake game you’ve used them in. But since it’s just the first of SB2’s “assassination attempts” listed in the book, it sucks the reader in to find out what the others were. That’s how conspiracy theories work: the more detailed the gibberish, the more plausible it is.
Once you get past the proofs and the old lady who tries to teach you how to make memes and the absolute firehose of dubious proofs and the racism (there’s a lot of it) and the worshipful comparisons of Trump to Jesus – then the book goes totally off the rails.
The last two chapters are a loooooong interview with a former NYPD trafficking detective (who has no idea what any of this “sealed indictment” stuff is about) and a rant about Alex Jones. By then, you’ll have either utterly given up and long ago stopped reading, or you’ll already be a believer. It’s hard to imagine anyone hanging in to read the whole thing.
Ultimately, the QAnon book seems destined to have a short life that makes a lot of money for its anonymous creators, and is tossed in the trash later in the lives of the unfortunate souls who bought it.
But at that point, the authors will already have gotten their money. And really, isn’t that what this is all about in the first place?