Amazonka

(a satire)

Valentinas Klimašauskas

Amazonka, a satire


 

For the studio album by Ruslana, see Amazonka.

Amazonka a dystopian satire novel by Lithuanian author Valentinas Klimašauskas. It is set in the near future city of Amazonka after some unknown forthcoming cataclysm. According to the introduction, “depending on your religious beliefs or political stand, the story starts either in the near dystopic future or on the eve of rather promising Christmas of 2033 AD.

 

In the novel, the sixth extinction still continues to sweep away the life as we knew it. Survivors moved to live into fortified “free cities that became social experiments. The novel focuses on the journey of a young catholic man Brother Pawel who leaves his monastery to enter a so called free city-state of Amazonka. According to the knowledge in the Monastery, the city is in the late state of its advanced Stalinist Feminism. Brother Pawel is on a mission to ignite a revolutionary movement of the Catholic Phallisism with the aim to locate potential second coming of Jesus Christ.

 

The structure of the book is based on Brother Pawels “reports about his finds and musings to his seniors at the Monastery.

 

Contents:

1. Set up

2. Inspiration

3. Plot summary

3.1 Nota Bene

3.2 Dangers and Fears

3.3 My mission

3.4 My first day

3.5 How I finally sneaked into the city

3.6 My first impressions of the city

3.7 Early morning

3.8 The second day

3.9 The third day

3.10 The Election Day

3.11 The third night

3.12 Instead of a moral

4. Setting

4.1 Language

4.2 The Power Structure

4.3 General elections

4.4 Classes

4.5 Gender

4.6 Men

4.7 Unspecified

4.8 The city plan

4.9 Religion

5. Critical reception


 

 

1. Set up


According to the author, the novel is set up in some fictional matriarchate dystopia with the aim to better explore and reveal patriarchal society we are living in now. Using the literary device of “unreliable narrator, the story is told from the perspective of a Jesuit monk Pawel who has rather reactionary views. The choice of the “unreliable narrator was made with the aim to invoke readers to read the novel as critical as possible, to mistrust any events and power structures, fictional or not.

 

 

2. Inspiration


According to the author, the book was inspired by an theoretical idea to create a new version of The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood but this time the story would be told from a perspective of a subjugated male perspective. For that reason a naive character Brother Pawel with reactionary views was created. Another stimulus to write it was Pope Francis visit to Vilnius in 2018 and “overwhelming media spectacles that were broadcasted in relation to the trip that transformed the country into some hybrid of clerical province and conservative reactionary dystopia.

 

 

3. Plot summary


3.1 Nota Bene

 

In Nota Bene, Jesuit brother Pawel is warning his brothers about the graphic language he is about to use due to the harsh reality he is forced to experience:

 

“My dear brothers, be beware of the content of my letters you are about to read! If you find it too difficult to continue imagine how hard it was for me to see it all with my own eyes! I promise to get rid of them as soon as I finish my mission. Of my notes, oh brothers, and of my eyes! Oh, Lord! As we agreed I will tell you everything what happened to me exactly in a manner as it happened so other brothers who, in case I fail, will follow my way will have more chances to achieve our divine plans.

 

Although warned in advance I never imagined that the human race will be that despicable in 2033 AD when we all are waiting for the second coming, when our hearts should be filled with the highest possible hopes, when our eyes are fixed on the sky looking for the new stars and signs!

 

And dear Lord, forgive my readers! They dont even imagine what will follow.

 

 

3.2 Dangers and Fears

 

According to Pawel, Amazonka is a city-state which urbanistically resembles a hybrid of an airport and bunker. It is also a huge political centre and sanctuary of some sisterhood which they call the Stalinist Feminism. The Monastery already sent there some monks before Pawel but other brothers disappeared without any trace after sending back a few not that informative letters. The city appears to be very dangerous “to our sort of people thus Im prepared to act with extreme precautions., finishes Pawel the chapter.

 

 

3.3 My mission

 

In this chapter Pawel finally introduces his mission:

 

“My mission is only a peaceful one I have to meet our oppressed and maltreated brothers and bring them back to only natural belief of our Lord. Then we must plan the counterreformation, and hopefully, with the help of Holy Spirit and fair trials of witches and infidels, we will establish a divine kingdom on the Earth, the Brotherhood of the Catholic Phallisism, as the second coming of our Lord should be happening within hours!

 

According to his seniors at the Monastery, the timing is more than promising. Its the eve of Christmas, 2033 AD, and quite possibly somewhere there he may learn of the news of newborn messiah coming back to save the world from our sins.

“It is quite doubtful our messiah would choose to be born in a place like this, in Amazonka, the worst of the places to stay for a real Catholic, however, we have to be open-minded to all the possibilities. Investigabiles viae Domini. Lords ways are inscrutable.

 

 

3.4 My first day

 

According to Pawel, in this new unpredictable post-apocalyptic climate there is almost no difference between day and night. The first day ran into the first night almost in a blink. He did not even finish his evening prayers. Pawel finally sees the city. “From where I was standing outside the city I could see planes arriving and taking off. I could see laser beams were cutting through the skies above the city. No respect for our Lord even there!

 

There was no written sign anywhere but according to the information the brothers collected during confessions the only way to enter Amazonka was by wearing women‘s cloths.

 

“Oh, Lord! I went to the first second hand shop I found.  It took me a while to find what suited me as I tried to imagine myself in a role of decent family wife. After I left the changing room everyone in the shop started to gag. And, to my biggest fear, quite indiscreetly. One of the most disgraceful moments in my short but pious life! I, one of the most faithful servants of our Lord, secretly cross-dressed as a married woman! Oh so I thought.

 

“May I help you? shop assistant introduced herself.

“Yes, I answered to her. And this time my “yes sounded very earnestly.

 

As you all know Im used to say “yes, father all the time since I‘ve been living in the Monastery most of my life. And, to be sincere, I dont know how to say “no. I still havent said “no to anyone outside the monastery yet.

 

“This dress does not do good for you. You see your, how should I put it, rather boyish statue needs a rather different approach, she said. To make a long story short, after I answered a few questions like where I am from, what my age is and what kind of TV series I watch, she brought me new clothes to try on. Ten minutes later I left the changing room looking, oh my god, like a young school girl!

 

“So how do I look now? I asked her, willing to know if Im finally prepared to enter the city.

“You look so cute and innocent! she said smilingly.

“I do, right? I said thinking about my eternal love to our Lord.

“You need some lipstick though, she said. “Now, while applying all the things I never knew existed on my cheeks, eyebrows, lips and God knows where, she added another sentence “You look like you are going to have very exciting time pretty soon.

“What do you mean? I asked her again, just to be sure this procedure would grant me an entry.

She got closer, bent down and whispered into my year “You are going to have lots of sex very soon. Lucky you!

 

Her laugh made me run out of the shop wearing that short dress on uncomfortable high heels and rosy cheeks in huge embarrassment and fear.

 

And all this happened before I even saw the city walls.

 

 

3.5 How I finally sneaked into the city

 

Pawel found himself at city gates. They looked rather organic, like an integral body parts. As he approached nearer he was told by some brother that the gates were named after some female genitalia. Not sure if he was lied to, but to be certain, he went to look for other entrances. The second one also had the name of female genitalia. Then he tried three other gates and they all had names of different female sex organs.

 

“I was not aware women have so many genitals! Oh, Lord! he writes to his seniors. “However, denizens became suspicious of my lingering and I forced myself to enter the place via the gates dedicated to the slimmest female organ at its bloodiest days, Ive been told. Nevertheless, I collected all my strength and passed them under my new name of Paulina with my eyes closed repeating Santa Maria in my head.

 

 

3.6 My first impressions of the city

 

Pawels first impressions may seem to be very jumpy and fragmented. As it was already mentioned before, Amazonka is the hybrid of a huge airport and bunker. Rows of security checks 24/7scanning the ones willing to enter, searching for forbidden items, although almost everything is legal here, he is told. Medicine checks and quarantines, in case your scans indicate possible diseases. Elevators, gates, screens, sleeping crowds. Junk food cafes. Special lounges for VIP clients. Random cults stacked their shrines inbetween the ATM machines. Information services that look like fake news generators. Free meal tickets for the lucky ones. Teenagers begging to charge their smartphones. Art galleries selling hellish experiences. Duty free shops marketing the newest inventions. Pawel gets disappointed: “And no chapel for a decent believer of Jesus Christ!

 

 

3.7 Early morning

 

Early in the morning, while still in his sleeping bag, Pawel realises that he is being searched by some teenagers who take his smartphone he was hiding in his underpants. One of them, “short and furious sister, starts shouting in local slang nervously something about what she felt while searching him in my sleeping bag although I did not understand a thing. Pawel is fast to realise that without a smartphone his communication and his mission would be aborted thus he does everything to get his phone back. “First I told them all the swearwords in Latin, forgive me, Lord! However, it did not work on them! Those poor little devils, phew, sisters! Then I showed all the muscles I built at the Monastery while preying. Meanwhile a policesister came by. I though she will defend but she was only standing nearby enjoying the scene. They all laughed at me, called me a number of names of more female genitalia but finally threw back my “shitphone.

 

After this event he cant get asleep again and is strolling around. In one distant spot under some elevators he finds a cardboard house. “I could really hear a cry. I was scared, I have to say. I looked in through a hole and saw a young father dressed as a mother with a very little child on his or her laps. A little girl looked at me with a sad stare. I felt like giving something to her but was too scared to move a finger. I wish I gave her my cross!

 

The confusion continues: “I went further looking for a bathroom instead. Here I exposed my unpreparedness again as I was trying to find a gentlemens toilet but later realised there is only one option, a sister one, here.

 

 

3.8 The second day

 

During the second day he realises that the time goes differently here as he is always under the roof with unnatural light. Also, after he got some rest he understands that his first day observations were pretty far-fetched, because of his stress and tiredness. This information shows us two things. Firstly, that Pawels point of view is not to be trusted. Secondly, he is trying to be open to this new world that surrounds him.

 

He wakes up with “his second day beard pretty visible on his still rather tired face when he makes friends with another all-girl gang. They give him some food and invite him to some distant room.

 

Pawel continues the story:

“There they tried to play with me some game I have never played before. It felt interesting at first but then I realised that very soon I will be sexually assaulted by everyone in this room. I started praying but it was too late. I could not even remember the lines! Lord, forgive me my naiveté!

 

After the whole thing, I told them that they are going to hell with the most deadly sins. They only laughed at me.

“What about you? they asked me.

“Me? I was only a victim, I answered.

“Really? You did not seem to say ‘No, they replied.

“I did, did not I? I was so scared! Im used to say yes since I‘ve been living in a monastery most of my life. And I dont know how to say no. I still have not said no to anyone outside the monastery yet.
“And you seemed to enjoy it a lot, sis! You were coming like public fountain, every minute, they seemed to enjoy this conversation. “Whats your name, beauty?

“Pawel. Paulina, I corrected myself.

“You seem to be confused, they patted me on my shoulder as if nothing happened. We had a conversation and they educated me a bit. First of all, apparently, no one is forced to dress in a feminine way. Its a free choice, I was told. Its just that you have more luck to be a beauty if you dressed like one, naturally, I was told.

 

One of the sisters was kind enough to invite me to her apartment in some block house for a night.

 

 

3.9 The third day

 

You can feel that Pawel is not earnest with his seniors about his new roles and outfit. “As you understand, for the sake of our mission, I chose to stay in feminine outfit. I even managed to start liking them. Its not that difficult. You may easily start enjoying it, I have to say it.

 

He dedicates the third day to his mission and starts looking for subjugated men. For starters he discretely talks to the girl who took him over for the night. He explains the main concepts of their religion. She seems to relate to the concept of Sanctus Animus but has troubles to accept Holy Trinity and starts laughing and shouts “LOL on repeat after he tells her the story of the Holy Immaculate Virgin. He loses his nerve and leaves her company immediately.

 

 

3.10 The Election Day

 

Two leading parties, the Free Women Movement and Mother Goddess party confronts each other. Voters vote by using check-in machines. The results are instantly screened.

 

By the evening it becomes clear that the Free Women Movement wins by a slight margin. Everyone is in a festive mood. Asked about it, someone replies to Pawel that it does not really matter who wins as a winner is always the same the feminine superpower is behind it anyway. Asked what sister means by that, she tells him to look around. “The sisterhood is celebrating. She also inquires about his dreams. Somehow unnaturally this superwoman appears in everyones dream. She might be called a religious healer. However, she only appears in dreams and no one seems to have been met her in daytime.

 

 

3.11 The third night

 

During the third night Pawel experiences some transcendental dream that shakes his believes.

 

“As you may have already guessed that during my third night I was visited by that superwoman in my dream. It was a dark night inside and outside the dream. Her image appeared slowly but I could clearly feel her existence. I felt that she controlled parts of my body from inside.

(...)

In my dream I was walking on the street and praying when suddenly my hand started to move itself, against my will. Then I realised that I was scanned through by some big lady who stared at me from far away. She was standing still, looking like a generic mother or grandmother in some multilayered farmers outfit. As she was not moving I realised that I was getting closer to her without moving by some magnetic power or similar force. Before I knew that our Lord was controlling my life and never doubt it but now, feeling her power inside me, my beliefs collapsed and it felt like the worst nightmare. At this very special moment for any Christian, when I was waiting for a celestial sign from above regarding the new coming, how should I interpret what just happened to me?

 

He wakes up all wet and shaking. In the same morning the computer generated image of the same superwoman is being showed on TV. Its her behind the party that won the elections. He feels too anxious to make a move.

 

Then after some thoughts it becomes clear to him what he should do next.

 

 

3.12 Instead of a moral

 

In the afternoon, with Pawels good knowledge of dead languages and some luck in flirting he successfully passes a job interview for a stewardess position and leaves the city with a jumbo plane to “some distant cities of unknown yet heretics. “In the skies, nearer to his lord, it will be clearer what decisions should be made. Until then he will be waiting for further instructions from his seniors although his last letter sounds like a farewell letter.

 

However, one may feel that Pawel is trying to win some time and is only trying to be polite with his seniors. His last 72 hours were full of radical life-changing experiences. His transformation already took place as he even dares to call his brothers as sisters:

 

“I will be back, my sisters! Stay with me in your prayers. In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Stay with me and our sisters in your prayers.

 

 

4. Setting


4.1 Language

 

Pawel thinks that language stands for miscommunication in Amazonka. Although Pawel speaks more or less the same language, the meaning of words is quite often the opposite of the one in his world. He gives an example: “We all know that feminism is a sinful concept, but here they embrace it as we would embrace our religion. In the Monastery only our sisters in God are called sisters. Here they call everyone “a sister female, male, Ive even seen someone calling a dog as “sister.

 

Pawel feels embarrassed when he listens to casual seductive chat. “They talk about sex a lot which makes me blush every now and then. I cant get used to it. However, sexual discourse seems to be a way to make friends and jokes. One is not supposed to take everything too seriously. As I, a decent Catholic, tend to do most of the time.

 

 

4.2 The Power Structure

 

As Pawel already mentioned, everyone calls each other “sister. Officially the city is called The Sisterhood of Amazonka. He is not sure how oppressive this sisterhood is. This addressing resembles to him the use of “tovarisch or “comrade in Soviet times. However, the “sis thing seemed to be enjoyed and it sounds friendly, not compulsory. He even starts to enjoy using it, he acknowledges to his seniors.

 

Seniors were assuming before he came to Amazonka that local ruling political system was the Totalitarian Feminism with the main Female Leader on the top of the pyramid, a leading female class in the middle and submissive male servants at the bottom. They called it Stalinist Feminism in the Monastery. However, Pawel notices that this is not exactly Stalinism as their understood it. People are openly joking about their government and in Stalinist times you would go to Gulag for 20 years even for a good joke, Pawel notices.

 

“And another thing, the posters with photos of the Female Leaders embodied different persons every time I saw them which means that there are much more leaders than we thought. However, please dont see me as being disrespectful to our previously acquired knowledge.

 

 

4.3 General elections

 

There are two main rival socio-political fractions. The so called Free Women Movement and the Mother Goddess Party. The first one is liberal and rich. But the second one has the support from the elder and the elder never miss to vote. “Luckily the elections are happening these days thus I will continue reporting about it already very soon.

 

 

4.4 Classes

 

“The rumours seem to be true the society is overrun by women. Men is the underclass. They earn less and take worse positions. Women look very powerful. You have to see how they pose and wear cloths if any! They do not look shy or ashamed of anything. They look straight into your eyes. How awkward! Ive even seen them touching some seemingly random men (dressed as female, of course) in the streets like they were some dogs or slaves. Men did not confront this devious behaviour in any way and just ran away in their misery. Every woman here has at least one man under their control. Men seem to be willing to have a female master so they feel safer about their position in society.

 

 

4.5 Gender

 

“To whomever I talked to they all identified themselves as sisters although I clearly saw some signs of newly grown beard hairs sprouting on some more adult looking chins of transvestites or sisters, as they call themselves. I thought that wearing feminine clothes is compulsory although I saw many sisters in suits as well. The higher position they take the more liberal they are about their choice of clothes. All the pilots Ive seen were sisters although it is difficult to tell as everyone dressed in feminine way here anyway. It seems to me that in this sisterhood society they all try to be feminine in one way or another and it seems that there are very contradictory ways how to be one.

 

 

4.6 Men

 

“Men, the ones I think are men, look like they are on some medicine here. First I thought that they are afraid to be themselves, to tell me that they are men. I told to a couple of brothers that I am the real man myself and proved them it but they only laughed at me. They dont want to recognize they are men anymore! I invited them to read the Holy Bible together. First they were curious but later, after I explained more about it, they laughed at me even more!

 

My mission seems to be quite impossible if everyone is going to be like so unmanly!

 

4.7 Unspecified

 

“When I say man or woman I use it very arbitrary, of course, so it would be easier for you to understand what I mean. In this situation of constant drag, when men wear feminine cloths and are forced to be subordinated, they seem to be losing their natural masculine identity. It seems to be a variety of genders behind what we call man and woman in this city. Quite often I mistake her for him and otherwise. Only small details may sometimes give away persons real sex. What a horrible place! What an unnatural society it is!

 

However, I have to be prudent not to sabotage the mission. And the safest is to call everyone “sis.

 

 

4.8 The city plan

 

“There is something very ambiguous about this city. It looks medieval but neoliberal. It looks irregular, rhisomatic, porous, mushroom-like but also reminds a mixture of what I imagine Vatican and Manhattan were at its best times. Dirty but very sterile. Easy to get lost and also easy to be found. It looks consistent but there is something incomprehensible about it too. Public space feels being inside, not outside. Like sitting in someones kitchen, on fathers lap. For example, it might seem to be visually Stalinist in its propaganda of the Female Leader but it does not have an obligatory feeling that you have to participate in this spectacle too. Or so I think now as a newcomer.

 

 

4.9 Religion

 

“The so called “religion is the most shocking phenomenon I found so far in this society. As infidels they seem to be agnostics that are divided into different sects they call “parties. Today I met a sister on the street who was promoting some Great Goddess party. According to her, the party is based on the Great Goddess hypothesis. When I asked her to explain it to me she was fast to read me her leaflets: “The Great Goddess Hypothesis is that in prehistoric times, a singular, monotheistic female deity was worshipped prior to the development of the polytheistic patriarchal deity system. The idea was widely propagated by the archaeologist Marija Gimbutas in the 1980s. That matrilineal, matrilocal, and matrifocal civilization was peaceful. Wars were unknown to humans at the time and our campaign is based on this feature.

“Matrilineal, matrilocal, and matrifocal? I asked cautiously so I may study my enemy better.

“Matrilineality is the tracing of descent through the female line. Matrilocality is the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife's parents. Matrifocal means based on the mother as the head of the family or household. You dont seem to understand the simplest political concepts, do you? she asked me.

Out of prudence, I did not tell her that these are not real political concepts, but some crude fictions, of course.

 

 

5. Critical reception


The novel received rather mixed reviews. Although some critics acknowledged that the novel pictured a credible example of a dystopic matriarchal society as a reverse mirror of the patriarchy one, a few critics expressed scepticism regarding the side effect of the book. According to them, the chosen satire genre fails to create positive feminist utopia. Other, more radical feminist critics had an opposite opinion. According to them, satire genre was employed for a reason as any less ironic or humourless genre would make any utopian society look too positivist and one-dimensional.

 

 

See also


 

 

BIO

Valentinas Klimašauskas (b.1977, Lithuania) is a curator and writer interested in redistribution of the future.  Klimašauskas was a Program Director at Kim? CAC, Riga (2017/18), a curator at CAC Vilnius (2003/13), and a founding co-editor of Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt (www.blunt.cc, est. 2008).


Klimašauskas is an author of “Oh, My Darling & Other Rants (published by the Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt, Vilnius, 2018), “Polygon (published by Six Chairs Books, Kaunas, 2018), as well as “B (Torpedo Press, Oslo, 2014).

* Coverphoto: Valentinas Klimašauskas, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.