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23 May 2011

Ward Kendall's Hold Back This Day

Alex Kurtagic

For years I was after this book. Each time I checked, however, Amazon had the paperback edition listed for ridiculous prices, well into the triple-digit range.

At last Greg Johnson came along, contacted the author, and organised a new edition of this long-out-of-print dystopian novel through his imprint, Counter-Currents. It is now in print, and orders are being filled.

Ward Kendall’s Hold Back This Day follows an identifiable pattern in American dystopian fiction dealing with the current prospects for the White race. We are taken to a future after the 2070s, when the forces of egalitarianism have triumphed almost completely, the world government having nearly completed the project of ending war by homogenising the human race. In this future, planet Earth is populated by 19,000,000,000 people, all converging towards a medium shade of brown, almost all of indeterminate race.

History has been re-written, erasing the White man from its annals. If the White man is mentioned in any way, it is as a paradigm of evil: the White race was the most malevolent that had ever existed, having enslaved other races, grown wealthy at their expense, and appropriated their achievements. Its extinction was to be welcome, and the achievement of that extinction the accomplishment of a grand humanist mission, designed to propel humanity towards a more elevated era of brotherhood and equality.

Some Whites still exist, however, and one of them is the main character, Jeff Huxton, a school teacher. Needless to say that he is deeply depressed, ridden with shame and self-hatred. All the same, he is able to hold a job, and enjoy some privileges, thanks to his position, which involves destroying racial identity through education and fomenting racial extinction through the encouragement of miscenegation. (Other Whites are essentially non-persons.) Needless to say also that his White son, Adam, product of a frowned-upon marriage with another White woman and former wife, eventually evolves from bright child to embittered teenager, half-psychotic with contained rage, self-loathing, and clinical depression.

When the story begins, Jeff is married to Li Ming, his second wife, of Asian origin but otherwise racially ambiguous. Later she turns out to be selfish, duplicitous, and basely malicious. Likewise, his daughter, product of this marriage, later becomes involved in a state-sponsored genocidal enterprise.

Jeff exists in a global economy, which has meant being stationed in various regions of the planet over time. One of the worst was North America. When the action begins, he is about to take up a new position in Africa.

Jeff’s boss is Ahmad Yehudit, a corpulent man of medium brown skin, racially neutral, confusing even, whom we visualise more or less as a mulatto. Like most of the other characters, he has a weirdly incongruous name-surname combination; he also professes the world religion, which is mix of all religions, but which also has recognisable Islamic features and in conversation results in comically incongruous expressions.

As the story develops, Ahmad is promoted and enters the privileged circle of the world rulers. The world they preside over is one of universal poverty, authoritarian governance, crumbling infrastructure, hunger-suppressing pills, covert mass killings, and scientific regression. Indeed, the project of racially homogenising humanity has had the predictable effect of lowering global IQ and thus of making it progressively harder to maintain (let alone advance) a technological civilisation. It is Richard Lynn’s worst case scenario.

And not unexpectedly, we discover that the governing class, comprised mostly of individuals with the ideal skin tone 5, live in obscene luxury, albeit well hidden from view, for justifiably paranoid reasons. They are, of course, thoroughly corrupt, cognisant of their lies and uninterested in the future of humanity; their sole preoccupation is the perpetuation of their rule and the continued enjoyment of their hypocritical privileges.

There is some hope, though, for there exists an underground resistance movement. Its members have links with an offplanet colony, which represents the White race’s last hope. The novel is set up to bring these two opposing forces into conflict. We can think of it, therefore, as an interplanetary race war, where the entire future of humanity is at stake, not just that of a single country or continent.

Kendall is adept at maintaining a suspenseful narrative. As the novel progresses and the stakes rise, it becomes ever more difficult to put the novel down. And even where the good guys score a victory, the consequences are depressing, disastrous, and prospects grow ever grimmer. In the end, we one cannot decide whether we could call the outcome a victory or a defeat. It is traumatic. For Kendall, it seems, the price that would have to be paid, should things be allowed to get this far, will be horrific,  the end result catastrophic, the loss outweighing any wins.

In various ways this is superior to other popular novels I have read in this genre. It is certainly better than Scott Wilson’s Utopia-X, which contains a number of similar features (browbeaten Whites, malevolent browns, privileged Blacks, squalor, and a monstrous deception by a corrupt ruling class of anti-White racists); and although shorter and simpler plotwise, it has a more in-depth and astutely observant characterisation than Randolph Calverhall’s Serpent’s Walk.

There are some minor flaws. In 212 pages, for example, we are told twelve times that the Earth has ‘nineteen billion’ inhabitants—that is more or less once every seventeen pages. I see no need to pound it this hard.

Also the leader of the resistance is perhaps too good, too noble, to be entirely believable. He certainly belongs to a type, a stereotype, that I seem to have encountered in similar novels, and I tend to think that leaders of any underground resistance movement, of any aggressive opposition to the reigning system, when the stakes are this high, the enemy so ruthless, and the situation so bleak and so critical, would be a pitiless pragmatist, a charismatic but otherwise thoroughly unpleasant person. In other words, a darker and more ambiguous character.

Finally, I would have preferred the dire and harrowing conditions in this future world to have been shown a bit more rather than told, especially considering the fact that this is a novel with a serious message. It would not have been necessary to subject readers to 500 pages of anxiety and claustrophobia, like I did in Mister, but a couple of descriptive passages would have driven the point home more forcefully. Of course, this is the sort of thing that tends get sacrificed in the interest of speed.

All the same, Kendall successfully creates an utterly dark and stomach-churning future of planned extinction, universal poverty, and social degradation, built on cowardice, fuelled by envy, and defined by mediocrity. The reader is left in no doubt that a doomsday asteroid or a thermonuclear holocaust would be preferable to this. The most depressing aspect of this work is that Kendall’s scenario is fairly believable: even if the specifics turn out the be different or more complex or ambiguous, even if the process herein described takes longer, the end result, absent the predicted dominance of the far East later this century, would not differ much from what is described in this novel.

The lesson to take away is clear: either we act now, and risk being called names, or we pay down the line with the entire future of our race, with no certainty of a desirable outcome even if action is eventually taken. I does seem silly—does it not?—to worry about being called names or being frowned at when these are the consequences.

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