In response to criticism of a scene from her debut novel wherein Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is described as having died via being “burn[ed] alive”, transgender author Gretchen Felker-Martin has responded by taking pride in the belief that the work is “giving TERFs around the world a collective aneurysm.”
Released on February 22nd, 2022, Felker-Martin’s Manhunt follows the story of “trans women and men” as they attempt to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has turned cis men into feral monsters and cis women are either stalwart allies of the world’s transgender and non-binary survivors or “murderous TERFs.”
The latter abbreviation, TERFs, stands for Trans Execlusionary Radical Feminist, a term coined in recent years to describe an individual who fights specifically for the rights of biological women rather than those of the ever-changing social identity and often used derogatorily.
“Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate,” reads a synopsis of the book provided by its publisher, Macmillan imprint Tor Nightfire. “Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe. After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics—all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.”
As described by Felker-Martin themselves in a tweet published a month after the book’s release, “if you’re sick of gender plague novels written by transphobic dips–ts, try my novel MANHUNT, written by a trans woman for a trans audience. Trans dykes fall in love and f–k and murder TERFs, feral men maraud in the wilderness, J.K. Rowling dies, etc.”
Though Manhunt ostensibly made little splash outside of fans of “LGBTQ+ Horror Fiction” – an Amazon category where it currently sits as its #1 Best Seller – it was eventually discovered “Pro-Woman” feminist news outlet Reduxx, who published a report on April 17th bringing the book’s contents – in particular the scene involving Rowling – to widespread attention.
“The ‘TERFs’ are referred to as ‘the Knights of JK Rowling,’ with the women participating in the brutalization and even sexual abuse of trans-identified males,” wrote Reduxx of the book’s contents. “There is a reference to the death of the Harry Potter author in allegory, with a ‘TERF’ weapon called the Galbraith being violently destroyed.”
As seen in the novel, though the moment is not experienced by any character firsthand, it is recounted in graphic detail to protagonist Fran after she joins a group of fighters amidst an event bearing the uninspired name of ‘The TERF Wars’.
“Okay, so, first off she ended up being a crazy TERF, like, super intense,” an individual Zia tells Fran. “When the news about t. rex started, she hired a bunch of woman contractors—remember Blackwater, those sickos in Iraq? She had them all up at her castle in Scotland with a bunch of her rich girlfriends and they were all drinking wine, kissing her ass, planning out how to rebuild society. They had their sons, husbands, whatever, in some kind of hermetically sealed guest house she’d had built special in case of germ warfare or something.”
Zia continues, “‘So, they get exactly one day into their girl-power retreat and then it turns out one of the friends has PCOS and doesn’t know it. She flips in the middle of the night and starts ripping into the other guests before someone knocks over a lamp or something. I guess they’d been stockpiling diesel and kerosene.”’
After miming “an explosion with her hands, fists coming together before unfurling into spread palms,” Zia concludes the tale, “’Anyway, the Blackwater b—hes who survived the blast looted what was left of the place and bugged out. Left everyone else to burn alive, and finally the whole castle collapsed. Real Masque of the Red Death s–t.’”
Following Reduxx’s report, Felker-Martin responded to criticism by promoting the book, proudly tweeting, an Amazon link to where “you can buy my depraved psychosexual horrorshow — which is currently giving TERFs around the world a collective aneurysm”.
As backlash against Felker-Martin’s book began to mount, the author predictably tweeted out a link to their personal Patreon account, writing, “With The Daily Mail and KiwiFarms vomiting at me, I’m under a fair amount of psychological strain. I strongly believe trans women have a right to make challenging, ugly work, and your support has made it possible for me to break new ground for us.”
Yet, despite this claim of “psychological strain”, Felker-Martin returned to antagonizing critics the very next day, responding to a report on the controversy from UK news outlet The Times, “Keep it coming, worms. The only good thing Americans have ever done is kick your ass repeatedly, and it’s been a while. We could use the practice.”
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