Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump can only dream-PARADISE GARDENS-The ultimate real estate deal. (Pelekinesis publisher)

Some people consider PARADISE GARDENS a Trumptopia, the ultimate and final real estate deal.

Susan W.

Fiction Bookshelf. Midwest Book Review

Synopsis: Something that could easily have been ripped from today's newspaper headlines in this our second Golden Age of Robber Barron capitalism as evidence by President Donald Trump turning his administration over to corporate executives and millionaires, and appointing to be heads of various governmental agencies men and women hostile to them in line with Steve Bannon's aspiration to 'deconstruct' the government."Paradise Gardens" by Susan I. Weinstein is a truly Orwellian novel of speculative fiction that is set in an all too believable near future world, where the Federal government has dissolved amid ecological breakdown.

"Paradise Gardens" becomes the home of the United Business Estates (U.B.E). Capitalism has devolved into the corporate feudalism of the U.B.E., where employees are conceived as Superior or Average to fit the needs of business. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. The recognition it brings is a dark pleasure.

Critique: Part of the attraction of "Paradise Gardens" is that it is all too believable given the political climate today where corporate money clearly dominates all three branches of the federal government (even to the point of running well funded television commercials promoting the appointment of a member of the United States Supreme Court), and the top 1% of the population control 80% of the country's wealth. Deftly written, "Paradise Gardens" follows in literary tradition of dystopian novels and his very highly recommended for both community and academic library Literary Fiction collections. For personal reading lists it should be noted that "Paradise Gardens" new edition is also available in a Kindle format ($9.95).

I appreciate support of these New Editions of my books, which you can buy directly from the publisher Only the New Editions are illustrated, updated and just better!
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Paradise Gardens, ultimate real estate project 2250s
Year 2250, The Earth’s Surface
The Selling of Paradise Gardens
If Madge Chilton wasn’t sure she was alive, it was clear she wasn’t dead. The problem was a matter of personal style and professional necessity. Being pleasant and agreeable was the stock and trade of public relations. Who cared about the emotional burn-out after decades of calculated pleasantness? Eject self-pity, she thought, crossing the eerily deserted lobby of the crumbling New York Sheraton. You can’t afford it. Wasn’t it her reputation for equanimity that helped her win Paradise Gardens?

Madge reached the peeling brown and gold enameled elevator doors and hit the Up button. Where was Security at 9:30 Sunday morning? The conference was at ten. Greenfield was expecting her to deliver his guests in good condition. No easy teleconference for this job, the content was too sensitive. Why they needed outside PR and Greenfield had chosen her when he could have had anyone. “Cracker-jack,” he said. Big agency quality yet small enough for the personal touch. Small is right, she thought, examining herself in a mirror beyond re- silvering. She pressed the elevator button and took a last professional look.

Only 5’3” but she could inspire confidence. Madge’s dark brown pageboy bobbed around her jaw line in a precise curve. Her neat die-cut features were precise, a theme echoed throughout her thin body encased in a vintage Chanel-like suit. She made a small adjustment to her pageboy wig with scarcely a thought for the once rare, now not all that uncommon allergy that led to hair loss. Otherwise, she was amazingly intact for thirty-five, especially for those working in non-corporate environments in the late 2250’s.

The elevator banged to a sharp halt a foot below the floor line. So much for the twentieth century, she thought, climbing down onto a powdery gray carpet. No longevity to synthetics, she tsk-ed. Madge pressed “Empire Room,” hoping the elevator could find it. Madge checked her purse for her elevator kit, the pocket acetylene torch and nylon cord for impromptu hikes between floors. She also found her contract with the Sheraton, which spelled out their obligation to supply security, digital display listing the meeting, easel signs, projector and screen for power point, pitchers of drinkable fluid. They also were to receive a box of physical press kits for corporate honchos and Human Resources.

Behind the softly thudding door of The Empire Room, Madge saw folding tables, her box of kits, a few empty pitchers. Well the security and signs were a bust and once again, she’d have to hunt for AV equipment. With the collapse of digital media in the late 2030’s, revival projectors and screens were at a premium. The sudden series of sun flares that collapsed the grid were called the hand of God by vigilantes, who destroyed skeletons of systems that remained.

Technology became invisible, private and rudimentary in an unconnected world. With scarce access to materials and suppliers, cities had emergency systems for every day and husbanded energy within guarded compounds. She had paid the Sheraton to insure the risk.
Madge wheezed, spotting dust-laden drapes and, poking out behind them, a projection panel. Her throat tightened. An inhaler was in her purse.

Quick puffs took her over dubious rugs to the ladies room. She sat on the floor, sprayed into her mouth and breathed. Eyes closed, she willed the relaxation mecha- nism to take over her body. Once again she reviewed her pitch. Imagine Paradise Gardens. If you can’t leave the City, go underground! Discover a business situation where you’re completely the boss, on your own estate. No outside interfer- ence at all!
Her throat was open, she was breathing easier now, the pitch ran smoothly through her brain. An initial investment and monthly fee are a small outlay for a uniquely stable environment. What you leave behind. Madge paused to spray more medicine. 

Now came the visuals. New York City at rush hour. Close-up on boarded- up subway toll booths and sealed Metro-card swipers. A long line of employees give a transit policeman corporate tokens. He deposits them in a locked box guarded by another transit employee. Tension, as each passenger is allowed through the gate. Another close shot of the policeman’s rifle. Close to the barrel, a ragged derelict raves about putting “Public” back into transportation. The policeman looks at him indulgently, relaxing a microsecond. The derelict blows up the station and takes the box. Close on the derelict’s arm sans rags. Revealed are undisguised tattoos, ritual scars distinguishing a gang-man.
Then recognizable images with impact, Madge thought. People blanked–out, transit blow–ups, a gang takeover of the subway, a carpool abduction. Though cor- porate Human resources departments encouraged the use of helmets, a means of processing such trauma, the effect was not complete. Subliminally, many people knew what was going on. And the higher echelons, the corpo- rate planners and strategists Nate Greenfield had invited, probably didn’t use the device. The reminder would be powerful.

Madge got up from the floor. She felt well and confident about her pitch for PARADISE GARDENS. As long as the equipment works, her last affirmation, before exiting to meet Nate. She found lobby lights and behind the reception desk some old cardboard. From her purse, she took a cherished old-stock felt-tip and lettered “Empire Room,” when she realized someone was behind her, Nate creepily smiling away. His sense of humor, she thought with irritation. Someday, maybe never, she would tell him he smiled like an ecstasy cultist.
“New York’s an open sewer,” he greeted her.
“See Paradise Gardens,” she responded, “Eden underground, an environmental throwback to a time that  never was.”
“Funny,” said Nate. “Anyone would be convinced.



 PARADISE GARDENS, home of The United Business Estates, after the government dissolves, hiding in Washington bunkers. Here is a re-education helmet for wayward employees and the endless fires of  polluted Hoboken.

Advance review of PARADISE GARDENS New Edition. This  definitive edition has significant new material, original illustrations, preface w/historical context, Reader's guide and reedited text. Thanks.

Feb 20, 2017Carla Sarett on GoodReads
Sinclair Lewis meets Philip Dick in Susan Weinstein's dark, dystopian novel, which is illustrated by the author. In it, a quasi-messianic real estate mogul creates an underground "paradise" from which to escape an ecologically damaged world. There's not much joy here-- predictably, even sex is sanitized (but it's still around) and life is organized through a database. The novel spans centuries, shifting back and forth; as characters appear and re-appear, no happier or wiser than when we last met them. Personalities are bleached out, in this grim, corporatized future in which a "lucky" few get to live in a joyless Paradise, and the rest are left to fend for themselves or fight. It's no secret who seems worse off. A timely, ambitious novel



“From the infinitely imaginative mind of Susan Weinstein, Paradise Gardens spins a fabulous web. Clever, funny, serious, and prescient. Lovers of Aldous Huxley's and Margaret Atwood's dystopias are in for a satisfying treat."
Sonia Taitz, award-winning author of The Watchmaker’s Daughter and Great with Child.

"One of the most disturbing yet oddly funny science fiction/dystopian sagas I've ever read. When corporations have wrung every drop out of nature and mankind has no other option but to build entire communities underground, how do you spin it to make it seem like a dream destination? You call it PARADISE GARDENS of course and you sell it like everything else. When we have no natural water, no natural food, and even the wind and the sunlight has been poisoned you will still have hucksters selling whatever is left for top of the line prices. A thought provoking story well conceived and brilliantly executed."
--Patrick King, author of the Shane Cullaine detective series

In the 1980s of Reagan’s America, Susan I. Weinstein wrote PARADISE GARDENS, an Orwellian speculative fiction that imagined a corporate feudal world, the United Business Estates, after the Federal government dissolved amid ecological breakdown. In the 2250s, Nate Greenfield, real estate visionary, with the help of P.R. maven Madge Chilton, sells corporate business on his “eden underground.” Left behind are the Unconnected, people outside corporate protection. Capitalism has devolved into feudalism so total, that employees are conceived to fit the needs of business.

Suspended between the settings of 2250s on the Earth’s surface and 3011s underground, chapters alternate with a revolving cast of characters. Fates are determined by the Psychologicians, who manage the civilization’s data base. Yet, when model employee Janet McCarthy finds herself caught in a web of alternate identities, only her lover Michael can attempt to cut her loose. At stake, is the reset of the planet. In this cautionary near-future, Sinclair Lewis' classic It Can’t Happen Here, has already happened. It is a vision at once strange and familiar. For instance, though written pre- Internet, there are Information Pirates dedicated to keeping facts free.

“It may look like a vintage filing
cabinet on wheels, but it’s a supercomputer
capable of retaining the
genetic information of the human
race and the requirements of your
corporation. Not just projections of
how many individuals will be needed
for your work, but the qualities of
those individuals and the number
of people essential to consume your

PARADISE GARDENS is the second of three groundbreaking novels by Susan I. Weinstein to be released by independent publishing house Pelekinesis. The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (Dec.) and Tales of the Mer Family Onyx (June) complete her new definitive editions. Each includes a beautiful new layout, preface, visual material and other expanded content.

Susan I. Weinstein is a writer, playwright, and painter. Paradise Gardens was read in-progress, at the original Dixon Place and at Darinka, whose archive is now part of NYU’s Fales Library and Special Collections. Pelekinesis published the new definitive editions of The Anarchist’s Girlfriend (2016) and Paradise Gardens (2017), previously serialized by Susan’s short fiction and poetry have appeared in literary magazines, such as The Metric and The Portable Lower East Side. Currently, she is at work on a WWII novel based on blacked out V-mail.

NEW EDITION of Paradise Gardens by Susan I. Weinstein
Publication Date: April 20, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-938349-50-8
Suggested Retail Price: $21.95
Pelekinesis full catalog and ordering information available at
To pre-order book directly:

WHY THIS BOOK NOW?  Read preface if so inclined.

Preface to Paradise Gardens

It was the age of Reagan, 1980s, when I began Paradise Gardens. I had just read a book on how capitalism evolved from feudalism and was living in "Morning in America." I began to imagine capitalism devolving into a modern corporatized feudalism, as a conservative ideal of America. Originally entitled Inside the U.R.S. (The United Religious System), the novel was written as a cautionary tale, since this was a time of ascendancy for far-right religious groups. Some were believers in the rapture, the apocalypse and rise to heaven of the faithful--after the 4 horsemen did their work. It seemed those in power were doing all they could to accelerate the end times.

Whether messianic or fiscal ideals, they manifested in actions, such as closing mental hospitals and having patients on the streets with no treatment. A vague plan for patients being integrated into "the community" never occurred. Benefiting corporations, stockholders and generally wealthy individuals was the higher objective. They had risen, because they were superior beings. It was a point of government to serve the elite doing the deity's work. Ayn Rand was again in vogue, along with a social Darwinism.

This attitude trickled down, not any financial benefit to average people, from huge tax breaks and unfettered business. I remember a casual conversation at a bar with a Wall Street investment banker. He told me, quite earnestly, that I should leave my rent-controlled apartment. I was preventing the real estate from achieving its market destiny. I was impeding the greater good of business. So before 1984, in this environment (an ethos culminating in 1987's "Greed is Good" in Wall Street), I began to dream Paradise Gardens.

The novel began with an image of a young woman in a corporate office, who was a model employee. In that time, I worked temp jobs in corporations and had a publishing job in the devilishly numbered 666 Fifth Ave building, which had a lush red carpet. I also was a publicist for Bluejay Books, which focused on science fiction classics in beautiful hard covers.

I was a literary person, who had an interest in utopias, from Thomas More's to America's Utopian experiments, from the Shakers to communes in the 1960s. Writing press kits and talking to people like Harlan Ellison, Vernor Vinge (whose True Names anticipated the Internet), and most of all Theodore Sturgeon, widened my idea of classics.

Sturgeon, who started out wanting to be a fiction writer for The New Yorker, fairly invented in the '50s the genre of something weird in the suburbs. Spielberg once acknowledged that if he hadn't read Sturgeon in his youth, he would not have made his suburban movies (his E.T. is a direct cousin of Sturgeon's story, "It!") Sturgeon also inspired Vonnegut's janitor Kilgore Trout (one of his various roles in Vonnegut novels). Science fiction could be literary and down to earth. I read Philip K. Dick and remember how Time Out of Joint blasted the complacency of day-to-day life. I could see the direct line from Kafka's Penal Colony to Dick's Man in the High Castle.

But my roots are in social realists, Zola and the Americans, Dreiser, Dos Passos, and Sinclair Lewis. Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is a cautionary tale about fascism, through America's Jaycees and Lions Clubs. Patriotism is flacked by a president, an Ad Man selling America a bill of goods. It was written in the thirties and I considered it a period piece, though a very plausible one. Paradise Gardens has an edge of satire and Dick's wide-ranging freedom of invention. This story grew, was improvised, cut back and redrafted for about ten years.

Paradise Gardens is a dark book. It begins when the Earth's surface is too polluted to support human life. In the wake of the dissolution of the Old Federal government, corporations flee underground to the ultimate real estate project Paradise Gardens.

I have been haunted by what occurs, because it is lived by characters who became real to me. And as the story was always present, in the back of my mind, I dreamed segments, as well as imagined them awake. The characters evolved their world in my consciousness. Before it was serialized, I found I had to update things that had already occurred in my book, before they happened in reality. The World Trade Center is partially destroyed, the Information Pirates, their billboards and missions to preserve facts, operated before there was an Internet. Some things had to be updated for our time.

Now we find ourselves at what to the apocalyptic seems the beginning of the end of our democracy, with a president-elect who has sold angry voters what appears to be another bill of dubious goods. To the more pragmatic, this presidency just means four years of a regressive agenda--yet it's crucial for the international climate crisis, which can't be undone. Like all dystopians, I hope that reality does not continue to merge with my fiction.

If a cautionary tale has a function, it raises consciousness of what can happen--to ward it off. This novel may be the equivalent of shamanic practices, where a tribe wards off a disaster by transferring negative energy to an object. Some also use earth to cleanse negative energy, water or fire to change its nature. Knowledge for any society is the best protection. And in our time, perhaps negative visualization has a function. This novel can purge our fear, allow a passage for changing dark "unthinkable" visualization to a positive future. Paradise Gardens is a passage and at the end, there is unity--of people, place, and nature.