From Practical Anarchy
Both from III Publishing, PO Box l581, Gualala, CA 95445
One of the things I like about small presses is that they'll take chances on authors who write about things outside of the mainstream. III Publishing has been one of my favorite sources for libertarian / anarchist fiction and science fiction ever since I picked up and totally enjoyed The Last Days of Christ the Vampire. Now they bring us two fine contributions to anarchist literature.
If you loved George Orwell's Animal Farm, you'll love this "sequel." Many who have read Orwell's classic missed the basic underlying anti-authoritarian message, instead reading it as an allegory about the Soviet Union. In Anarchist Farm we find an extension of the philosophies underlying Animal Farm, but this time with a more upbeat outcome. Contemporary concerns such as ecocide and animal rights are also woven into this readable book. In fact, it is written in a style appropriate for teenage readers.
As in Animal Farm, the main characters here are animals and they talk. They also have cute names. Pancho is a pig who has escaped from the regime that has taken over the farm portrayed in Animal Farm. He is befriended by some wild animals, who are later revealed to be the "Forest Defenders." The Defenders turn out to be very similar to Earth First! Pancho eventually finds a farm whose owner has recently died. In response to the death of their benevolent owner, the animals turn the farm into a successful anarchist collective. As the months roll by, the animals start to worry about what might happen to them when the humans come to auction off the farm. The ending will surprise you. It should also be mentioned that the book also deals with monkeywrenching and its consequences.
Anarchist Farm is funny, thought-provoking, and inspiring. It's an excellent sequel to Animal Farm. Let's hope that a few more readers "get it" this time.
A.D. is a science fiction story set in the U.S.A. in the near future. Radical changes have altered the very political geography of the continent: the Klux Klan Klan and other white supremacists control what was the southern U.S., the Nation of Islam controls what was the Midwest, and the West Coast is all that remains of the old U.S. "liberal democracy."
Fred Hampton Rush Sr. is a middle-aged black man living in Chicago, which is now the capital city of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America. Fred is trying to live the life of a model citizen in a society strictly controlled by the Nation of Islam. He has a wife, a son, and a nice home. However, a series of events radicalize Rush, turning him into a dissident, and he soon finds himself a fugitive from the NOI's police. He is then kid- napped by an evil NOI scientist and cryogenically fro- ten. He wakes up centuries later, only to discover that everything has changed radically again. The world has been turned into a libertarian socialist democracy that has high tech and the ability to time travel. The book from this point on becomes mostly a travelogue which examines what life is like in this future society.
A.D. has some pretty weird twists and takes a few paths that are incidental to the story line, but overall this is a fascinating and fun book. Lofton is adept at illustrating what life would be like living in an authoritarian world controlled by the Nation of Islam and is very on target at describing a society that is based on freedom and anarchy. Some of his comments about transitional housing, public libraries, and censorship are so fresh, that it for these alone that the book is worth reading. I imagine that this book is not popular at NOI meetings. Oh well, it's time they got skewered like the authoritarians that they are.
- Chuck Munson