Edited by Jason Rennie
Published by Superversive Press (2017)
DISCLOSURE: I know the editor and most of the authors in this anthology through social media, e-mail, and blogging. I was also given a free review copy by Josh Young, one of the authors. Finally, Jason Rennie edited and published my short story, The Teenage Girl’s Robot Army, on The Sci Phi Journal.
Mainstream American pop culture is under assault by extreme leftist authoritarians. Every part of it, from the commanding heights of Hollywood to the geeky pursuits of gaming and sci-fi literature, is harangued to follow in lockstep with whatever political crusade the thought controllers dream up. Not enough women portrayed in the approved feminist way? You’re “sexist.” Too many white people in your work? You’re “racist.” The only way to be declared innocent is to submit to them in total — even the smallest deviation from approved thinking will get you branded as a hater and a bigot.
Against this spate of thought control comes Forbidden Thoughts, an anthology of science fiction deliberately written to offend the oversensitive and pillory the politically correct. Containing stories from a variety of non-SJW authors, it dares to smash the shibboleths of our age and break the intellectual chains holding sci-fi back.
Unfortunately, it utterly fails to entertain.
Judging from the foreword written by Milo Yiannopoulos, one would expect to find stories that broke some politically correct taboo. One would expect characters and plotlines that enticed the reader with conflict and drama, ending in either triumph or tragedy. I was expecting something that, while not rivaling Appendix N, at least aspired to its qualities.
But no. Instead, I got the right-wing equivalent of “Cat Pictures Please.”
Virtually every story goes as follows:
*Terrible incident happens due to political correctness.*
MAIN CHARACTER (MC): This sucks.
POLITICAL CORRECTOR (PC): No, it’s wonderful.
MC: No, it sucks.
PC: No, it’s wonderful.
There is no real conflict or drama in the stories, just vignettes about the terrible effects of one far-left crusade after another. There were no dramatic arcs, just one thing after another with largely unsatisfying endings and even crappier characters. Many of the stories read like sermons, putting message above entertainment. Instead of real stories, I got extended complaints. It felt like the pablum I read in my English textbooks back in middle and high school — it was that bad. After reading up to Larry Correia’s recounting of the Sad Puppies effort, I just skipped ahead to other stories; I didn’t even read all of the ones after Larry because I had been blasted with such an avalanche of bad writing.
Of what I read, Vox Day’s entry was the most entertaining (and it was an actual story, unlike most of the entries), and it was pretty much what I hoped the entire anthology would be like, but one story was not enough to save this book. I tried to read the others that told actual stories, but they bored me to death, and the bad taste in my mouth from the earlier sermons didn’t help at all. For a book of “forbidden thoughts,” everything was unbelievably tame and poorly executed.
By and large, the authors can do far better than this; they would have to if they seek to end the scourge of political correctness. I cannot recommend this anthology to anyone.