The journey of humankind has never been an easy one. While many of us strive for peace, history has shown—time and again—that when faced with something new, many react with fear, paranoia, and violence. The last five years have been a disappointing example of humanity’s leanings toward consanguineous tribalism. In that short time, we’ve seen a rise in would-be autocrats and, almost more disturbingly, a swell of visible, vocal everyday fascism.
In 2017, white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville armed with tiki torches and fueled by hate. In 2020, Trump supporters made the U.S. Capitol a stomping ground for their dangerous terrorist hissy fit. Mass shootings and hate crimes spring into the news with an alarming frequency. The internet teams with venom, seeping into the eyes of anyone willing to look at it. Just a few decades ago, it seemed that fascism was something you sought out. Now, it’s nearly impossible to avoid.
There is no single silver bullet to combat this ever-growing monstrosity in our midst, but editor Eric Raglin has offered a balm to these horrors with ANTIFA Splatterpunk. This anthology brings together a diverse and talented group of writers to deliver sixteen original antifascist stories guaranteed to ease the ache of living in this timeline.
The tales told in ANTIFA Splatterpunk deliver a wide range of emotions from the chilling to the absurd, but no matter the tone, each of these stories packs a literary punch strong enough to send the toughest skinhead sailing to the pavement teeth-first. A cop’s plan for “crowd control” backfires with terrible results in “One of the Good Ones.” In “Ay, Carmela,” an old woman exacts a terrible revenge on her family’s killers with an offering of blood; while “Red Brick” paints a picture of how “just doing your job” can have haunting consequences.
Every story here is guaranteed to please fellow antifascist splatterpunk fans, but if you’re a reader who prefers to engage with anthologies in a nonlinear fashion, a few pieces are not to be missed.
In “The Chad Show,” Ana E. Robic takes readers into an absurdist wonderland that lands more blows in ten minutes than half the novels on your shelf. This ribald satire expertly skewers right-wing media’s voracious need for a boogeyman through the self-flagellation of a thinly veiled FOX news host.
“Beak,” by Sarah Peploe, delivers a slow burn fable laced with the type of creeping dread found in stories like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” Two women at a conservative rally conceive of a deceitful plot to go viral with lethal results. Just when you think you know where all that dread is leading, Peploe veers in another, much more horrifying, direction.
Donyae Coles closes out the anthology with “Capture the Flag”—a poignant, satisfying ending to a series of expertly crafted tales. Coles examines the development of hate and the symbols that help it grow. “Capture the Flag” is a painfully beautiful meditation on generational bigotry and the anguish it spreads to everyone it touches.
There is no quick fix to fascism, but if the high caliber stories in ANTIFA Splatterpunk are any indication, there are plenty of good people ready to take on the fight.
Looking for more gore? Check out Body Shocks.