Twenty-two authors take you on a wild ride through the American relationship with voting. These fraught, fictional stories take you from post-war Italy through rural and urban America, to a future none of us will recognize. Enjoy this slice of the short-fiction renaissance and support the defense of voting rights.
Every last dime generated by this charity anthology is donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center to support their work defending voting rights for all Americans. Award-winning authors including Gary Phillips, Sarah M. Chen, Travis Richardson, Tim O'Mara, and many others are joined by debut authors being published for the first time.
The potentially depressing effect of such stories is buoyed by an array of vivid and dynamic characters, such as the cantankerous septuagenarian in Sarah M. Chen’s “Unit 805” who blackmails the board members of his retirement home; the stubborn, old-fashioned grandfather in Camille Minichino’s “Three Funny Things Happened on the Way to Vote” and the granddaughter who cares for him; and two assassins (one each from Frank Rankin’s “A Moral Assassin” and Terry Sanville’s “Pro Bono”) who try to do the right thing.
The depictions of election-rigging occur across time periods both historic (a 1910 sheriff’s election in Jackie Ross Flaum’s “Two Dead, Two Wounded”) and modern (a congressman’s campaign jeopardized by Photoshop and Facebook in Bev Vincent’s “Kane and the Candidate”), in communities both small (a nonprofit theatre organization in Robert Lopresti’s “Shanks Gets Out the Vote”) and large (a state governor’s race in James McCrone’s “Numbers Don’t Lie”). Neither side of the political divide is immune: Madeline McEwen’s “Benevolent Dictatorship” features a proud Democrat who forges the signatures on her family’s ballots, while Travis Richardson’s “The Cost of Ethics” sees a GOP volunteer lament that he’d “love to have an ethical Republican Party.” Regardless of affiliation, readers will find these stories give color and life to a relevant and often controversial issue.
Takeaway: Social studies teachers, history buffs, and anyone curious about politics will appreciate this anthology of crime stories about fighting, scheming, and taking action for the right to vote.
Great for fans of Michael Dobbs’s House of Cards, Tom Clancy.
Design and typography: B+
Marketing copy: B-
"...uniformly clever and entertaining. Indeed, it's impressive how many different tacks these talented authors have taken in writing about the same theme, a testimonial to a set of remarkable imaginations."