Stumbling and Raging: More Politically Inspired Fiction

Stephen Elliott, Editor, Greg Larson, Editor, Anthony Ha, Editor . MacAdam/Cage $14 (331p) ISBN 978-1-59692-158-0

Elliott returns (after 2003's Politically Inspired ) with another anthology of mostly unpublished fiction from both famed and unknown authors, notably Dave Eggers, Sandra Cisneros, Neal Pollack and Audrey Niffenegger. Ranging in tone from incredulous to furious, from hopeful to stricken, these short fictions and illustrated stories explore the political and social culture of America and Middle Eastern societies in a post-9/11, post-004 election world, with varying degrees of success. Standouts include the graphic shorts—Lauren McCubbin and Stephen Elliott's "Survey of Impact," documenting one shared night between American "human shields" camping out in an Iraqi power plant, and Eric Orner's "Morning Martyrs," in which a 2015 government, run by evangelicals, hires bureaucratic social workers to kill women who can be proven to have had an abortion. Jim Shepard's sly, almost tender "John Ashcroft: More Important Things Than Me" speculates about Ashcroft's early life, to surprising effect; Amanda Eyre Ward's "Motherhood and Terrorism" follows the complicated lives of American wives of diplomats living in Saudi Arabia. The anger and hope are leavened by a healthy and much-needed dose of sarcasm. Royalties will support progressive candidates in 2006. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
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