Thursday, 20 December 2018

Resist Fascism edited by Bart R. Leib and Kay T. Holt

Resist Fascism edited by Bart R. Leib and Kay T. Holt is a mini-anthology of stories about exactly what the title advertises. I backed it on Kickstarter because a friend who's in it (Rivqa Rafael) drew my attention to it. It made for an interesting read.


The world is in turmoil. The world is always in turmoil, but in recent years, people have seen violence and hatred become proud instead of ashamed. What meager rights we've fought for are being deliberately eroded. And the vulnerable have any help stripped away. All of this is happening openly and without fear of reprisal. And the worst perpetrators are some of the largest governments of the world.

Resisting the spread of fascism is as important now as it was 75 years ago. And there are many effective ways to resist.

RESIST FASCISM is a micro-anthology of science fiction and fantasy tales that explore the many and varied ways people can fight back. From helping promote low-income housing, to fighting fascists hand-to-hand, to burning it all down. Best of all, RESIST FASCISM shows that you don't have to be a hero to advance change.

These stories were all good reads and, as usual, I've written some notes about each one at the end of this review. Taken as a whole, this anthology definitely delivered on what it promised. I enjoyed most of the stories individually, but I did find that overall there was a very strong US-ian vibe and maybe more small rebellions than I would have preferred. My favourite stories were "Ask Me About My Book Club" by M. Michelle Bardon, which was fun to read as well as being powerful and "Meg's Last Bout of Genetic Smuggling" by Santiago Belluco which wasn't without its flaws, but backed a powerful punch. Also, I can't not mention "Pelecanimimus and the Battle for Mosquito Ridge" by Izzy Wasserstein for being so different from the rest, and also containing dinosaurs.

Overall, I recommend this short anthology to anyone that finds the theme appealing. Aside from the Americanism mentioned above, I didn't find the stories repetitive and, unexpectedly, read the whole anthology through, without reading other stories in between.


To Rain Upon One City by Rivqa Rafael — A story set in a future on another world, where the poor aren’t even allowed fresh water that rains outside, but must drink recycled water as they barely scrape by. The main character, despite her youth, spends most of her time looking after her mother. I liked this story and I thought the martial arts aspect was a nice distinguishing touch.

3.4 oz by R.K. Kalaw — A story set in a dystopian world where airport security scanners check for emotions as well as liquids etc. To seem as compliant and unthreatening as possible, put protagonist must use magic to hide emotions. It’s also a story about family, love, and risk.

In the Background by Barbara Krasnoff — A story of small resistance in a world where rights have been eroded away. I liked it, although it leaves a lot unsaid.

The Seventh Street Matriarchy by Marie Vibbert — This story is about a housing estate and the new case worker who notices something odd when she’s assigned there. The story is about resisting corruption as much as actual fascism, but, either way, I liked it.

We Speak in Tongues of Flame by J L George — This story was rather more fantastical than lose of those that went before it. It has clear fantasy elements and a less obvious context. It’s definitely about resisting, though.

Meet Me at State Sponsored Movie Night by Tiffany E. Wilson — Young women briefly hijack the state-sponsored movie night to show some old cartoons instead of propaganda. It was a very minor form of resistance do while the story was clearly building up to something more off the page, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as some of the others. It felt like a very American take on the problem. (Also, if they have frequent blackouts, why not go back to cheap analogue watches instead of wasting precious smartphone battery just to check the time?)

Ask Me About My Book Club by M. Michelle Bardon — This is probably my favourite story in this anthology so far. After literal dragons take over the US government, a book club of witches form a resistance, posting coded photos of their brunch online while discussing books. I kind of guessed part of the ending, but it was still a very solid story. Recommended for fans of Tansy Rayner Roberts.

Pelecanimimus and the Battle for Mosquito Ridge by Izzy Wasserstein — Quite a different tone for this one. An epistolary story set during World War II in which a solder writing to his sweetheart back home talks about fighting fascists and also discovering and befriending some dinosaurs in Spain (they sounded like velociraptor to me). A welcome change of pace in this collection.

Meg's Last Bout of Genetic Smuggling by Santiago Belluco — This was a really solid story and a good way to end the anthology. It’s about a girl from Mars smuggling culture and information to Texas/Earth, where such things are banned. It took an interesting angle, sociologically as well as scientifically, and the ending packed a powerful punch. My only quibble was with the small issues that arose from the male author writing the female protagonist and getting a few details off. Disappointing but it wasn’t enough to ruin the story for me.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: November 2018, Crossed Genres Publications
Series: No
Format read: ePub
Source: From backing on Kickstarter

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