Recognize Fascism (ed. by Crystal M. Huff)

Recognize Fascism is a short story collection edited by Crystal M. Huff.
Finished on: 17.1.2021
[I won this book in an LibraryThing Early Review Give-Away.]

The title of this collection is well chosen – all the stories revolve around fascism, recognizing it, fighting it, preventing it, getting out of it. In their introduction to this collection, Huff notes they were uncertain if they could edit it – whether they knew enough about fascism to do so. But they point out the problem with fascism in a very clear way:

Fascists foster uncertainty in order to undermine the ground you stand on when you declare, “This is fascist.” It’s akin to developing a political Impostor Syndrome, until you are second-guessing yourself at each turn. Fascism evades and evolves, such that you can’t exactly pinpoint it. It is a moving target. It gaslights. If you are unclear about what it is and can’t put your finger on it, pushing back against it is so much more difficult! Fascists then weaponize this confusion to secure your acquiescence.

So, they need not have worried about that, and it shows in the stories they collected that show a broad range of SciFi and Fantasy settings that all come back to the central theme. It is also an excellent example for feminist practice by using clear and extensive content notes for each story, so props for that as well (I will therefore not use Content Notes in this review, unless I discuss something in detail). Altogether, it’s an anthology that is very consistent in its high quality and I really enjoyed reading it.

The book cover showing the drawing of a young Black woman with a crown made of flames.

[Read more about each of the stories after the jump.]

Continue reading

Freshwater (Akwaeke Emezi)

Freshwater is Akwaeke Emezi‘s debut novel.
Finished on: 17.6.2020

Content Note: rape

Plot:
When Ada is born, the door to the spirit world doesn’t close properly and so Ada is not alone in her body; she is ogbanje. She grows up in Nigeria, but moves to the USA to attend college. Things are not easy for her and as she encounters traumatizing events, the different parts of herself become more pronounced and develop personalities of their own to cope with everything.

Freshwater is a fascinating, difficult book. Albeit very readable, you need to put in some work – but if you do, you will be rewarded with a complex character or characters in an interesting setting.

The book cover with the following quote in capital letters:
I have lived many lives inside this body. 
I lives many lives before they put me in this body.
I will live many lives when they take me out of it.
Continue reading

Fantasy Magazine 47

Fantasy Magazine 47 is the February 2011 issue, edited by Cat Rambo and Sean Wallace. It contains four short stories.
Finished on: 19.11.2018

The stories here are very different in tone, setting and style. I fell in love with one of them and enjoyed the other three, so I’d say, it is a very successful collection that introduced me to some good new authors.

The magazine cover showing a mermaid with a magic wand hovering over the small figure of a person walking.
Continue reading

Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology (Ed. by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson)

Behind the Mask is an anthology of superhero stories edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson.
Finished on: 29.1.2018
[I won this book as an uncorrected ARC in a Librarything Early Reviewer giveaway.]

Behind the Mask is a very entertaining anthology. Of course, there are stories that worked better for me than others, but overall, I had a lot of fun with the various takes on superheroes in this, stretching from origin stories to questions of inheritance, from every day obstacles to big fights.

After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.

Continue reading