28 Minutes into the Future

Anthology by Chrome Oxide

©2018 Superversive Press

Review by Scott T. Barnes

If you can imagine Ayn Rand writing humor, then you would be about halfway there. If you can then imagine Rand writing humorous short fiction (quite a stretch given that John Gault’s famous speach in Atlas Shrugged ran 60 pages), then you would have arrived at the world of Chrome Oxide, the funniest, most poignant satirist I have read in ages.

28 Minutes into the Future is Chrome’s first book, a collection of nine hilarious, subversive tales of an earth we know, but not quite as we know it. It’s earth just a little bit askew with fantasy or sci-fi elements (depending on the story), but definitely recognizable to those people willing to look up from their political marching orders.

My personal favorite was “Vampire Free Zone.” Told from a Vampire’s point of view, the story shows the absurdity behind “gun free zones” on college campuses and the like. The vampire walks into a blood bank where a sign reading “Vampire Free Zone” hangs, along with a smaller sign reading “Gun Free Zone.”

“I stopped in to ask about the signs in the window?” asks the vampire.

[The receptionist] replies, “You’re not the first to ask. Rand told me he hung the vampire sign when he started the blood bank six years ago. I thought that because his sign worked to keep away vampires, I’d put up a sign to keep away guns.”

With a strong predilection for libertarianism, Chrome Oxide’s fiction reflects for us the tyrannies of everyday life. It’s tough to be a free spirit when laws in the California Republic of Autonomous People are enforced by the dreaded Amalgamated Security Services.

In the real California, our governor has been doing a victory tour for reducing the crime rate, when said crime rate has gone down because proposition 47 has required misdemeanor sentencing to replace felony sentencing for myriad crimes, including such minor offenses as grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, and more, as long as the dollar amount of stolen goods does not exceed $950.

So when Brother Ruger of the Church of the Second Right (“Election Day Murders”) says, “Just like the government lowered the high unemployment numbers by not counting jobless people, they recently reduced the crime rate by requiring victims to file the correct forms with the correct departments and to pay the correct processing fees,” it has the ring of truth.

In fact, more like a veritas gong.

“Who would have ever guessed that murder victims don’t report their demise,” quips the protagonist.

28 Minutes into the Future is a slim book, 112 pages, with nine stories in it. “Cop for a Day,” the opening story, previously appeared in the excellent anthology Writers of the Future XXiX. Most of the other eight stories have never been published.

Every one of the stories had me smiling, and some had me laughing out loud. At the same time, each story had me shaking my head at how close to the mark they are. I highly recommend pick it up, so that the next time someone from the Department of Places Where Historical Persons May Have Visited (“Gateway”) declares your outhouse a historical landmark, you’ll know what to do.

28 Minutes into the Future is a funny, refreshing break from the entertainment culture’s quasi-ubiquitous political correctness. It takes courage to write such a ‘subversive’ view, and courage to publish it. Bravo to Chrome Oxide for being willing to reveal his non-conformist ideas, and to Superversive Press for publishing it.

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