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  • Writer's pictureErin Phillips

Book Review: Recognize Fascism

Recognize Fascism, a collection of science fiction and fantasy short stories edited by Crystal M. Huff, does what it says on the tin. Each story either explores some facet of how society can easily be manipulated into a fascist state, or explores the courage an individual must summon in order to fight against fascism that may already be entrenched in their society. Although the theme of fascism binds them, each story is unique, and, for the most part, well-developed.

I want to give big props to the editor, and to World Weaver Press for offering such diverse and inclusive stories from a very diverse group of authors, many of whom are POC, disabled, lgtbqia+, etc. This is refreshing, since science fiction writing has historically been mostly the realm of white men. As several stories in this collection point out, if you want to shake things up, you have to be willing to upend the status quo. Diversity is the antithesis of the fascist ideal.

I also have to say, I really appreciated the inclusion of content notes at the beginning of each story that warrants them, and I think that should really become industry standard. If it is beneficial for the mental health of some people, and detracts nothing from the story, why not, right?

Of the many stories in the collection, a few stood out to me as exceptional in writing, concept, and worldbuilding. They are, in no particular order: "The Company Store," by Kiya Nicoll; "Go Dancing to Your Gods," by Blake Jessop; "The Three Magi," by Lucie Lukacovicova; "A Disease of Time and Temporal Distortion," by Jennifer Shelby; "In Her Eye's Mind," by Selene dePackh; and "Scholar Miaka's Brief Summary of Memories Imbued in Memory Object Exhibit Item 132.NW.1," by Jaymee Goh.

That isn't to say that I didn't like the other stories--I absolutely did. The above, however, really stuck with me, and if asked which stories I'd recommend another to read from this collection if they lacked the time to read the whole thing, those are the ones I'd suggest. (I do have to admit a bit of favoritism here, however--based on worldbuilding alone, I would adore it if Jennifer Shelby ever decided to write a novel about Revekah's earlier adventures in temporal smuggling. Even though Revekah's story was over, I wanted more of her world! So many possibilities!)

I work in a high school library, and although this story collection isn't specifically aimed at a young adult audience, there is nothing in it that would preclude its inclusion in our library. In fact, I believe that the message presented, and the diversity of authors and stories included, make it a very important read for the teens of 2020. I definitely recommend that my library acquires a copy of Recognize Fascism, and I hope many others will, as well.

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