by Cathy Green
Send My Love And a Molotov Cocktail!, a recently published short fiction anthology from PM Press, will interest readers of both the science fiction and mystery genres. Editors Gary Phillips and Andrea Gibbons have put together an interesting mix of pulp, hard-boiled and noirish mysteries along with several science fiction stories, many with a decidedly political bent. The editors are quite clear about this, right on the cover page — “Stories of Crime, Love and Rebellion”.
The anthology opens with “Bizco’s Memories”, a grim little tale of prison, politics and soccer, by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, translated by editor Andrea Gibbons.
John A. Imani contributes “Nickles and Dimes”, a story set during the student protests of the late 1960s/early 1970s involving naïve middle class students, Black Power radicals, and FBI informants. Just as the protagonist encourages the students to attack the police for the fun of seeing middle class white kids beaten and arrested, so too is his radical group urged into actions they might not otherwise have taken by the undercover FBI agent in their group.
Fans of the hard-boiled private investigator subset of the mystery genre will recognize Sara Paretsky’s name. She contributes “Poster Child”, a Warshawski-less story featuring Jewish Chicago PD detective Liz Marchek and the murder of an aggressive anti-abortion protester. Lots of politics in that story.
Editor Gary Phillips contributes the fabulous, fun “Masai’s Back in Town”, a hard-boiled homage to blaxpoitation films featuring Masai Swanmoor a revolutionary still on the run from the law and at war with the Aryan Legion. Of course, the fight with the neo-Nazis is really just a distraction from Masai’s real goal: the 2.7 million he stashed from a robbery of COINTELPRO funds back in the day.
On the more science fictional end of the spectrum, names fans will recognize include Kim Stanley Robinson, who contributes “The Lunatics”, a mystery set on the moon, and Cory Doctorow, who has co-written “I Love Paree” with Michael Skeet, a story staring an ex-pat American caught up in a not so distant future Paris reactionary revolution to restore the Paris Commune. The middle of the book is anchored by a Michael Moorcock novella, “The Gold Diggers of 1977 (Ten Claims That Won Our Hearts)”, featuring Jerry Cornelius and his family.
If you are not a fan of Moorcock or his Cornelius stories, just skip the middle of the book.
Other authors in the anthology include Luis Rodriguez, Larry Fondation, editor Andrea Gibbons, Penny Mickelbury, Kenneth Wishnia, Benjamin Whitmer, Rick Dakan, Summer Brenner, Barry Graham, and Tim Wohlforth. If you do not want to read a book with overtly leftist politics featuring union organizers of the 1930s, oppressed lunar mine workers, and grandmothers plotting revolutionary acts, then Send My Love And a Molotov Cocktail! is not for you. If you do not mind a book that wears its politics on its sleeve, then you should give it a chance as you’ll be exposed to the work of some very interesting authors many of whom you are probably not already familiar with.