Crystal M. Huff’s 2020 Recognize Fascism is an anthology of stories about people recognizing fascism. It’s example of truth in advertising, which is something in short supply in certain circles these days.
One of the wonders of the world is the rich diversity of ways in which people can be gleefully oppressive pricks to one another. No single anthology can cover every option possible, but Huff’s book does its best to provide at least a hint of the range possible (well, with respect to a specific political tendency).
My main reservation about the book is that the last couple of decades have provided an excessive number of opportunities for recognizing fascism; thus, reading an anthology on the subject is a bit like mashing my thumb in a drawer to see if my pain receptors are still functioning.
Nevertheless, if there is one lesson we can take from recent history, it is that people require a lot more practice at this particular task than they apparently got. This anthology can provide valuable pointers.
If you’d like a more comprehensive look at what’s inside the tin, read on.
Introduction by Crystal M. Huff
A very brief introduction. The characters in the anthology recognized fascism. Will the readers?
“A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion” by Jennifer Shelby
A timeline-hopping traveller discovers to her horror that the safe timeline in which she settled is anything but safe.
“The Scale of Defiance” by Nina Niskanen
A queer woman navigating an increasingly illiberal society determines to eschew security by obscurity.
“May Your Government Be the Center of a Smelly Dung Sandwich” by Justin Short
A criminal dissident strikes back against an oppressive android government, using weaponized art.
“The Company Store” by Kiya Nicoll
The target of a lustful oligarch is nigh powerless; nevertheless, they use the means within their grasp to protest.
“Scholar Miaka’s Brief Summary of Memories Imbued in Memory Object Exhibit Item 132.NW.1” by Jaymee Goh
A summary and analysis of a traumatic moment in history, as evidenced by its artifacts.
“Just an Old Grouch” by Laura Jane Swanson
A neighbourhood coot is elevated to official grouch, much to his annoyance.
“A Brilliant Light, An Unreachable Dawn” by Phoebe Barton
A quiet dissident connives escape from an authoritarian society through seeming service to weaponized conformity.
“Octobers/October” by Leonardo Espinoza Benavides (translated by Julie Capell)
Violence protests mean guilt for some but license for others.
“That Time I Got Demon Doxxed While Smuggling Contraband to the Red States” by Luna Corbden
In war-torn America, a politically motivated smuggler narrowly escapes exposure and its consequences.
“Go Dancing to Your Gods” by Blake Jessop
A hunter-killer robotic drone experiences epiphany, at great cost to its would-be mentor.
“Brooklyn” by Jonathan Shipley
A starfarer is torn between charitable impulse and a reasonable fear that they are courting death.
“Sacred Chords” by Alexei Collier
A shell-shocked prisoner uses the meagre resources at their disposal to strike back against the system.
“The Three Magi” by Lucie Lukacovicova
A failed invasion by an illiberal neighbour nation nevertheless inspires a mirror-image illiberalism in its would-be victims.
“The Body Politic” by Octavia Cade
Adaption to a hostile system seems indistinguishable from decay.
“In Her Eye’s Mind” by Selene dePackh
A corrupt cop, secure in his position, discovers that dissidence can flourish in very unexpected places.
“What Eyes Can See” by Lauren Ring
Increasingly constrained by an inexorably conformist society, a gardener dreams of protest.
“We All Know the Melody” by Brandon O’Brien
Low profiles are safest but injustice calls for public action.
“Chicken Time” by Hal Y. Zhang
A dissident struggles against surrealistically absurd regulations.
“Notes on the Supply of Raw Material in the Bodies Market” by Rodrigo Juri
What better use for someone at the bottom of society than to be turned into a weapon against the rest of their class?
“The Sisterhood of the Eagle Lion” by Sam J. Miller
One lone student hides within herself the ability to resist the mentalist dominating her classmates.
“The Turnip Golem” by Dianne M. Williams
A lynch mob teaches an innocent golem lessons it eagerly applies to the man behind the mob.
“Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life” by Meridel Newton
Youths strike back against their militarist government — with art.
About the Anthologist
What it says on the tin.