Vive le caliphate

Dystopian scenarios – scary, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it films and fiction – are on the rise. Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission is about what goes wrong in France when a charismatic, affable leader Muhammed Ben Abbes is swept into power in 2022, transforming French socialism and republicanism, both by now, declasse and eroded, into the Caliphate francaise.

Houellebecq, France’s premier satirist launched Submission on the very day of the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, prompting the then-Prime Minister Manuel Valls to declare, “France is not Michel Houellebecq, it is not intolerance, hate and fear.”