The infamous events of September 11, 2001, will live on in the minds of every American, etching our consciousness with a new reality of the world as we know it. People have found a variety of ways to process the event as we struggle to find a place for the unexpected tear in the fabric of American security. Writers are drawn to the appropriate words that express their feelings, filmmakers shoot endless rolls of film and artists cover canvases with colors of despair, rage and hope.
Many new works have sprung from these endeavors, among them Politically Inspired: Fiction for Our Time, a compilation of short stories, cartoons and illustrations that cover a wide range of responses after that infamous day in our history. The selections are not meant to address the event specifically, but rather some of the issues that have come to the creative minds of the contributors. Editor Stephen Elliott has assembled the perfect mix of stories, illustrations, cartoons and poetry, albeit sometimes tongue-in-cheek. From fantasy, satire and reminiscence to thought-provoking tales, Politically Inspired gives voice to some of the most imaginative writers today.
I have never pretended to be a short story aficionado, preferring the length of a novel the same way I prefer a movie to a sitcom or short drama. I love to immerse myself in the story and settle in for the ride. But Elliot has provided such an entertaining and seamless collection that I find myself, as with a good novel, simply unwilling for the book to end. I have been well entertained as well as challenged by these authors, privileged to read their contributions as part of life as we now know it.
From the first story by Anne Ursu, “The President’s New Clothes,” to Brian Gage’s “The Vampires of Draconian Hill,” I have run the gamut of emotions, from enchantment to awe. Not only do I recommend this volume of new fiction, but suggest Politically Inspired: Fiction for Our Time as the perfect gift for anyone who loves to read exceptionally good work offered with the best of intentions.