Smog Sirens in the Capital

Hail Regina (A satire of political & religious romp)

Book 1
Gatekeeper Press
Free sample

Hail Regina is a serialized social satire of, ‘political and religious romp’, set in the near future (2025-30). It is family-friendly and has a vintage quality to its writing style. Episode One has a fore-note, ’After the Crash…’ and a comical ‘prelude’ scene from a gala-ball, as readers transition between 2025 and 2027 scenes this opening is set in. We learn of the aftermath of the great economic crash. Its devastation pervades throughout the congregation of states. Those citizens who caused the crash, are rumoured to have been 'chastised' underground in the flagellation chambers of St. Dandy’s Cathedral. They have disappeared, whilst being interned in the Thallium Meatport. No inferior or superior citizen has been spared from the crash. In the wake of recovery, the Secular Party has devised an inspiration for the state. The party will reclaim the dilapidated docklands, spread along the waterfront of the Capital. Whilst the atomic test program remains on track, the party will bring hope to the citizens, as they are called upon to make their state—'great again'.

Atop of Constitution Hill, the statue of the Holy Mother Regina—gushes out the sacred waters of its fountain. Angelic beings are sighted gravitating around Her, whilst inexplicable horn-like sounds are heard—up in the skies and beyond the mountains. 

The ‘Wheel of Life’ on Hierophant Square, makes its a natural forward motion. It signals to the citizens that life in the Capital and the Ganglands is moving onto its next cycle, as it always has done.

With a radical decline in pregnancy and births, the children of poor inferior-citizens are harvested. They are ferried up river under the sweeping arch of the Golden Dawn bridge—to commence a new life in the State Distribution Bureau. Members of the Secular Party will adopt many of them. But they will not remember their birth parents. Trained Labradors, befriend them with doses of unconditional love—whilst they wait to be received by their new parents. The future generation of members of the Secular Party has thus been secured.

Episode One

The episode-chapter opens to the sounds of smog sirens and Radio Good Shepherd 91.8FM playing in the background. Dirk van Ritter is seated on the floor of his tenement, rummaging through the plans for the new Royal Docklands Centre precinct, to be built on the waterfront. We follow Dirk’s quest for elevation in the civil service, which is controlled by the ruling oligarchs of the Secular Party. Dirk’s informal promotion from a ‘low-inferior’ serving as a souvenir and information assistant, on the counter of the Tourism Office, will run parallel to the construction of the Docklands Centre, which unveils during Season's 2 and 3. He dreams of one day being the Predendary of the new Centre, if it can survive the politics surrounding the construction of the docklands precincts. 

Major stylistic influences upon this work go back to dystopian classics like, The 'Iron Heel' by Jack London (1907), 'We' by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1920), ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley (1932) and Ray Bradbury’s, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (1953). The futurist setting of the series - was party influenced by the London Docklands re-development. Commenced in 1981, it created a vast urban renewal program along the London waterfront. The city of London and docklands provided the initial components of imagery - to sketch the location, the politics and theatrical characters, which gradually formed within in the futurist dystopia -that the story ultimately inhabited.

The Hail Regina novella series, may be read at a simple, literal level. A story about a low inferior who quests for a better life; the delusions and hurdles to be overcome along the way. On a secondary, more abstract level, it touches upon some of the flaws and foibles of the members of high-society who run the politics of state and church.

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About the author

This is Kevin Karmalade's debut novella series. The 'Hail Regina' series will consist of 6 novella's (with 6-8 episodes per season). Karmalade sees Hail Regina as predominantly a vintage-style, theatrical satire. The work does not set out to mirror societal dysfunction or hypocrisy in the strong way - as some of the classic dystopian novels did in the past. Rather, Hail Regina should be understood primarily as a modern entertainment fiction set within the genre. It is written to entertain above all else.

Karmalade may be regarded as a mischievous, playful storyteller. A ‘jester’ of sorts, who reels us in with a simple story - then sometimes holds a mirror to our face. The writer is aware that on some level, the work naturally touches upon the obvious flaws of humanity. The theme of human liberation and freedom in literature is familiar to most. This serialized tale then, does not try to break new thematic ground. It does however present readers of all ages (from 14+) this classic theme, in an opaque, but contemporary and engaging way.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Gatekeeper Press
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Published on
Apr 17, 2019
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Pages
33
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ISBN
9781642376319
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Dystopian
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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It is 2027. The episode opens with a snapshot of the State Command Control-Tower. It is monitoring the State-leader, Royston Bustwick. He is speeding through the Capital in a platinum-coloured vehicle, with helmeted guards - strapped onto outside standing-boards, as they guard him. He returns safely to the Vivatrium with his chief-minder, Commodore Petersen. They alight to attend a meeting upstairs in the chamber of the Dominus Regis. They formally convene the Table of Knowledge, a type of cabinet, for the purpose of governing the state. Bustwick offers his Exchequer, Jack Spooner some meeting bread dipped in a spicy sauce. Bustwick proposes a toast, “To order out of chaos,” (an old mason proclamation).


After some strange, but short rituals are completed, Royston Bustwick begins to preside over the agenda under a classical architectural feature – the painted dome of the Dominus Regis. He is depicted in a similar to the way Christ might have sat with his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. From here, on this day - he rules the state. A vote is taken to keep Governor Graves on life-support. This allows Bustwick to maintain dual roles and powers, as he fills in for Graves whilst his coma continues, as it has for the last 20 months. The Exchequer has objected. He believes it costs too much to keep a lame-duck governor in a permanent coma. We surmise that Spooner has alternative motives: he dislikes Bustwick enjoying this increase in power and position. What Spooner really wants is the State-leader's job.


When Jack Spooner is invited to take some meeting bread from a tray, it casts a shadow over the Exchequer as a potential ‘Judas’ figure. Commodore Petersen has informants everywhere throughout the Capital, who keep an eye on Spooner. The Exchequer as the anti-hero has begun to oppose the Docklands building project. As the meeting progresses, the oligarchs appear less worried than he, that the cost blow-outs can be contained by Sir Percy, Director-General Fagan and their officials within the Infrastructure and Tourism Bureau.


Dirk van Ritter – is discussed, especially his antics at Sir Percy’s gala-ball where he became the ping-pong champion at that charity event, held at St. Dandy’s - back in December 2025. The oligarch’s are raucous at hearing he might be a genuine ’foot-washer’. One who is attracted to washing the feet of others, possibly as a fetish, or possibly as an act of genuine service – we do not know. But if he is one, the oligarchs decide they want him to wash their feet, the next time they engage in that ritual.


Readers are introduced to the Attorney-General, Reginald Thudmore. He stands to propose a maverick plan to feed 5,000 citizen’s at some 12 sittings per day. After the great economic crash, millions have been turned out of the Capital into debt-internment camps. He is compelled to want to feed them more productively. He proposes to fund the compulsory acquisition of some ‘faster-food’ outlets. His slide show explains to the oligarchs how they are able to dispose of vehicles, and have the citizens lined up instead - in rows to get a meal. The proposal is met with enthusiasm and is finally passed by them.

In this episode, readers are asked to regress some eighteen months back into 2025, into the lead-up to a Gala Ball. Sir Perceval Lamb attends a meeting at St. Dandy’s Cathedral, where he applies to hire the Old Vestry as a venue—for his charity event. He must first obtain Archbishop Garibaldi’s permission. The character, ‘Kevin Karmalade’ enters the scene for a short cameo: one of several guises he will have through the series. In this scene he has been rostered on as a temporary under-butler.


Perceval Lamb and Dirk are shown into the rectory. Lamb puts his proposal to the archbishop. Dirk accompanies Lamb, as part of his training. The reader becomes aware Archdeacon Alfonso may also be ‘in’ on Lamb’s unusual charity arrangements. In the room, exotic deacon-servants serve dinner to Lamb, Dirk, Garibaldi and Alfonso. The archbishop and Lamb 'chortle' together as the archbishop slurps his peacock stew.


Before Garibaldi will allow Lamb to hire the most prestigious heritage venue in the state, he interrogates Lamb politely. Lamb attempts to win favour with Garibaldi, by showing him secret documents, smuggled out of the Dominus Regis. They are the equivalent of cabinet papers, which the archbishop is keenly interested in. Although Garibaldi has a moral choice not to take or read them, he doesn’t hesitate to digest them. The Gala Ball is approved so that preparations can be commenced.


This tongue in cheek episode uses a language and tone that is a throwback to traditional drawing-room scenes of the Victorian era. The Regina series to a limited extent, borrows elements of language from that era. It's placed with restraint and gives the scene a subtle sepia or vintage feel. Karmalade’s admiration for writer, Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) is apparent in his writing style and choice of words. Both writers have an affinity for words in and of themselves. Even allowing at times, words to take precedence over the insights and movements of the characters.

The Old Vestry is being made ready for the ball. There is much activity afoot. Micah, the head-technician, Dirk and Tristan, discover a dwarf curate, Tom O’Malley. He’s rummaging in the Vestry kitchen-larder, trying to pilfer some alcohol. Seizing the opportunity to improve the entertainment, they forcibly recruit O’Malley by ensnaring him into playing a lead role—in one of the stage-plays they will present.


It is the evening of the ball. Sir Perceval Lamb stares out the window from the first floor. He can see the guests arriving in their mythical tarot-card and or period costumes and masks. He looks down into the churchyard gardens. He can see two teams setting up, with the guests starting to mill around the edges and onto the bleachers of the playing courts. The game appears to be organised. There are rules, scoreboard, a ground layout, equipment and spectators. The umpires present themselves in uniform with whistles and flags. 


A radio commentator from Radio Good Shepherd 91.8fm is seated. He begins to commentate a live broadcast as the games get underway. The guests watch the activities; drinks in hand as a set of human-burnings are prepared and executed.


The burnings are treated like an affable sporting contest. It is an exclusive spectacle that Lamb has carefully organised—to invoke the celebratory mood for the rest of the evening’s program. The radio announcer commences the public broadcast, as the choir joins in on cue. We are drawn in, partly through the professional enthusiasm of the broadcast, and partly through what is taking place: the preparation and ‘burning’ of the main actors, who perform the ritual mock immolations. 


The episode explores the first phase of the burnings of (mainly) Church of England clergy by the English monarchy from 1555-58. It satirises the stupidity of this. It was triggered by clergy who wouldn't follow Roman church doctrines of the day, like the doctrine of Christ’s actual presence (as flesh and blood) in altar bread when consecrated at mass. The re-creation of the original burnings at a charity ball in this episode is unusual. This is because of the humorous way the misuse of power and the execution of the past clergy—by the then monarch are treated. 


Although scholars have studied such events for centuries, the Regina novella brings the issue to the fore again—in an irreverent way. What is thematically implied is, what other senseless and immoral things does society do today? That is, what senseless things do humans do to other humans?

It is 2027. The episode opens with a snapshot of the State Command Control-Tower. It is monitoring the State-leader, Royston Bustwick. He is speeding through the Capital in a platinum-coloured vehicle, with helmeted guards - strapped onto outside standing-boards, as they guard him. He returns safely to the Vivatrium with his chief-minder, Commodore Petersen. They alight to attend a meeting upstairs in the chamber of the Dominus Regis. They formally convene the Table of Knowledge, a type of cabinet, for the purpose of governing the state. Bustwick offers his Exchequer, Jack Spooner some meeting bread dipped in a spicy sauce. Bustwick proposes a toast, “To order out of chaos,” (an old mason proclamation).


After some strange, but short rituals are completed, Royston Bustwick begins to preside over the agenda under a classical architectural feature – the painted dome of the Dominus Regis. He is depicted in a similar to the way Christ might have sat with his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. From here, on this day - he rules the state. A vote is taken to keep Governor Graves on life-support. This allows Bustwick to maintain dual roles and powers, as he fills in for Graves whilst his coma continues, as it has for the last 20 months. The Exchequer has objected. He believes it costs too much to keep a lame-duck governor in a permanent coma. We surmise that Spooner has alternative motives: he dislikes Bustwick enjoying this increase in power and position. What Spooner really wants is the State-leader's job.


When Jack Spooner is invited to take some meeting bread from a tray, it casts a shadow over the Exchequer as a potential ‘Judas’ figure. Commodore Petersen has informants everywhere throughout the Capital, who keep an eye on Spooner. The Exchequer as the anti-hero has begun to oppose the Docklands building project. As the meeting progresses, the oligarchs appear less worried than he, that the cost blow-outs can be contained by Sir Percy, Director-General Fagan and their officials within the Infrastructure and Tourism Bureau.


Dirk van Ritter – is discussed, especially his antics at Sir Percy’s gala-ball where he became the ping-pong champion at that charity event, held at St. Dandy’s - back in December 2025. The oligarch’s are raucous at hearing he might be a genuine ’foot-washer’. One who is attracted to washing the feet of others, possibly as a fetish, or possibly as an act of genuine service – we do not know. But if he is one, the oligarchs decide they want him to wash their feet, the next time they engage in that ritual.


Readers are introduced to the Attorney-General, Reginald Thudmore. He stands to propose a maverick plan to feed 5,000 citizen’s at some 12 sittings per day. After the great economic crash, millions have been turned out of the Capital into debt-internment camps. He is compelled to want to feed them more productively. He proposes to fund the compulsory acquisition of some ‘faster-food’ outlets. His slide show explains to the oligarchs how they are able to dispose of vehicles, and have the citizens lined up instead - in rows to get a meal. The proposal is met with enthusiasm and is finally passed by them.

In this episode, readers are asked to regress some eighteen months back into 2025, into the lead-up to a Gala Ball. Sir Perceval Lamb attends a meeting at St. Dandy’s Cathedral, where he applies to hire the Old Vestry as a venue—for his charity event. He must first obtain Archbishop Garibaldi’s permission. The character, ‘Kevin Karmalade’ enters the scene for a short cameo: one of several guises he will have through the series. In this scene he has been rostered on as a temporary under-butler.


Perceval Lamb and Dirk are shown into the rectory. Lamb puts his proposal to the archbishop. Dirk accompanies Lamb, as part of his training. The reader becomes aware Archdeacon Alfonso may also be ‘in’ on Lamb’s unusual charity arrangements. In the room, exotic deacon-servants serve dinner to Lamb, Dirk, Garibaldi and Alfonso. The archbishop and Lamb 'chortle' together as the archbishop slurps his peacock stew.


Before Garibaldi will allow Lamb to hire the most prestigious heritage venue in the state, he interrogates Lamb politely. Lamb attempts to win favour with Garibaldi, by showing him secret documents, smuggled out of the Dominus Regis. They are the equivalent of cabinet papers, which the archbishop is keenly interested in. Although Garibaldi has a moral choice not to take or read them, he doesn’t hesitate to digest them. The Gala Ball is approved so that preparations can be commenced.


This tongue in cheek episode uses a language and tone that is a throwback to traditional drawing-room scenes of the Victorian era. The Regina series to a limited extent, borrows elements of language from that era. It's placed with restraint and gives the scene a subtle sepia or vintage feel. Karmalade’s admiration for writer, Evelyn Waugh (1903-66) is apparent in his writing style and choice of words. Both writers have an affinity for words in and of themselves. Even allowing at times, words to take precedence over the insights and movements of the characters.

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