When aspiring actor Peter Riley is given the assignment in his drama class to perform in a YouTube-style video, he creates the character of ‘Petrol Riley,’ a satire of a politically extreme right-wing conspiracy theorist. Peter is soon surprised to learn that the video he has uploaded has gone unexpectedly viral, with thousands of viewers misinterpreting his satirical performance as genuine. Seeing this as his path toward fame, Peter commits to portraying the hatemongering character of Petrol full-time, building a devout and rabid fanbase of online supporters that only grow more loyal and extreme the more hateful Petrol’s rhetoric becomes. As his reach grows, Peter must reconcile with his notoriety and decide whether this newfound fame is worth the influence he is having on his legions of impressionable online admirers. Striking and timely, Troll offers a meditation and authentic critique on the unique conditions and occasional ugliness of modern online communication.
Logan Macnair (PhD) is a researcher, college professor, and novelist based out of Burnaby, BC, and his academic research is primarily focused on the online narrative, recruitment, and propaganda campaigns of various political extremist movements. His debut novel, Panegyric, was released in 2020, and his second novel, Troll, is a fictionalized account based on his many years of studying online extremist groups.