Guest Blog by Justin Short
I love a good protest song.
Not that there’s anything wrong with non-protest songs. There’s plenty of room in the world for all kinds of music. Even disco. But for me, there’s something special about a protest tune. Something that makes me wanna crank it up to eleven. Maybe it’s the way it captures a specific moment in history, or the way the anger practically bleeds through the speakers. Maybe passion is contagious.
But enough about terrestrial protest songs. What if extraterrestrial cultures have their own version of protest music? And what if their songs are more powerful?
That’s the idea behind my story for the Recognize Fascism anthology. “May Your Government Be the Center of a Smelly Dung Sandwich” is a sci-fi tale about a song that literally has the power to create revolution. It’s sort of like the Monty Python sketch about the joke that kills, only this one’s set in outer space, plus there are more androids and less John Cleese.
On second thought, maybe it’s not so similar to the Python sketch after all.
“May Your Government” takes place on a dreary planet where the inhabitants are forced to work in terrible conditions to provide power for a wealthier world. Did I mention there are androids? Mean androids.
Sci-fi elements aside, this story is a peek into a culture where people have decided it’s simply easier to look the other way. A world where empathy is inconvenient and selfishness is king.
Things are pretty bleak within the world of the story, but there’s still hope. A hope that even when terrible things are happening, there will always be people willing to risk all they have to do the right thing. Sometimes all they need is a little musical inspiration.
It’s a comforting thought.
And hey, as much as I love protest songs, I hope one day we live in a world where they’re no longer needed. I’d be okay with that.
After all, we’ll always have disco.
Justin Short lives in Kansas. His fiction has previously appeared in places like The NoSleep Podcast, The Arcanist, and Jerry Jazz Musician. Visit him online at www.justin-short.com.
World Weaver Press
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