From PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series comes Norman Spinrad’s Raising Hell. The titular story (perhaps a novelette) is a humorous and biting commentary on the role of union’s in the workplace. A union organizer is sent to hell where he first organizes a strike against the working conditions and pain enforced by the devil’s demons. Constant pain is constant pain, after all, and what can the demons do when everyone just refuses to do the endless, pointless work? Inflict more pain? But after he successfully deals with the devil, he goes to work on the demons, suggesting that they could have better working conditions as well.
The story is amusing and a quick read. It definitely has a dated feel to it (1970’s or early 1980’s?) though I can’t quite put my finger on why other than the idea that unions and union-busting was a topic of conversation (for me, anyway) at that time. (Interestingly, I can’t find a date for when this story was written – not even in the Fantastic Fiction database.)
As with the other books in the PM Outspoken Authors books that I’ve read, this book contains one long story, an essay (or speech), and an interview. The essay, “The Abnormal New Normal,” was quite striking (pun intended) and a really nice companion piece to the story. This is a political essay, and generally I wouldn’t care to read something of this nature (don’t we get enough politics on a daily basis?) but Spinrad relays this information in such a clear style that I couldn’t help but be engrossed in it. If my history books in school had been this clear, I may have had more interest in history back then!
The interview has less of a connection to the story and essay, but for someone like me, who knows the name Norman Spinrad but hasn’t read much of his work, I found his history and information interesting. Spinrad’s most famous work (arguably) is a novel titled Bug Jack Barron and in a storyline that almost every famous writer seems to share, the novel was rejected by publisher, over and over until a small, almost rogue publisher decided to serialize it. It’s the kind of story that gives every unknown writer hope.
This is my favorite of the PM Outspoken Authors series books that I’ve read so far.
Looking for a good book? Raising Hell by Norman Spinrad is a part of the PM Outspoken Authors series, containing a story, an essay, and an interview with Norman Spinrad. The story is fun, the essay informative, and the interview revealing.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Norman Spinrad
publisher: PM Press
paperback, 128 pages