Recognize Fascism by Crystal M Huff
World Weaver Press, paperback, £12.99
Reviewed by Lottie Lightfoot
Huff presents a collection of short stories from a variety of authors titled, “Recognize Fascism”, a collection of stories focused around, well, recognising fascism and how to stand up to it. The reader is guided through an eclectic mix of science fiction tales in which the characters are confronted with fascism, and follows their resolve to stand against it, either through fighting, evading, or overcoming. With some, it was harder to eke out the connection to fascism, but nevertheless each one was thought-provoking in its own right. Some of the stories were all too familiar, eerily echoing the predicaments and injustice we face today.
The main characters, struggling to survive in a myriad of neo-fascist regimes and planets, each go through their own personal journey into discovering that the situation they find themselves is not right. It follows them as they internalise and process and understand their surroundings, before making a conscious, if difficult, decision to resist. Not all the stories follow the path of realisation and resistance though, some characters we meet already in the resistance, and delight the reader with plenty of adventure and swashbuckling on their journeys. We see citizens under mind control, fascist campaigns to see the segregation and extinction of enhanced humans, and smugglers fighting against possessed household goods.
As true with any collection, some stories are more thrilling than others. Some are more thoughtful than others. Some had more of a tangible link to fascism than others, but each one is important and enjoyable in its own right. Not every story follows the same medium either, with a couple of stories breaking free from the usual literary form, with some stories being offered in the shape of academic pieces and journal logs – a breath of fresh air and an offering of a different perspective. Overall, it is an enjoyable and intriguing read that encourages the reader to critically assess their own lives and their encounters with fascism.
With worlds a little too like our own, albeit with slightly more biomechanical arms and lazers, Recognize Fascism serves as a grim reminder that we’re only a few missteps away from fascism ourselves.