A Country of Ghosts

Black Dawn #2

Paperback, 222 pages

English language

Published Nov. 22, 2021 by AK Press.

ISBN:
978-1-84935-448-6
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5 stars (17 reviews)

Dimos Horacki is a Borolian journalist and a cynical patriot, his muckraking days behind him. But when his newspaper ships him to the front, he’s embedded in the Imperial Army and the reality of colonial expansion is laid bare before him. His adventures take him from villages and homesteads to the great refugee city of Hronople, built of glass, steel, and stone, all while a war rages around him. The empire fights for coal and iron, but the anarchists of Hron fight for their way of life. A Country of Ghosts is a novel of utopia besieged that challenges every premise of contemporary society.

2 editions

Always Leave Them Wanting More

5 stars

A breath of fresh air. It was extremely healing to read some actual anarchist fiction--something that can make me feel good about myself and the world. If you wanted a inverted, optimistic Dishonored, look no further.

It's definitely a shorter read (by the metrics of my 2-hour-podcast-addled brain) and parts of the prose are surprisingly sparse. Something will happen, or you'll meet someone, and you'll think "Gosh, that was fast! I liked that bit! Why couldn't we have gone into more detail?" The map at the front is a perfect metaphor--the capital cities of Borolia and Vorronia, but the only other fleshed out place is Hron.

Ultimately it makes sense. This is a story written by Dimos, and Dimos is explicitly emphasizing certain parts of his story to explain what the hell Hron is to the people living back in Borolia. Writing any story at all is a massive undertaking …

A Beautiful Primer on Anarchism

5 stars

Margaret Killjoy is a great author and this story is captivating. What a fantastic perspective of anarchist resistance to colonization. I would love to eventually read a prequel about Hron that talks about the influx of refugees into the area and discusses the dangers of projecting Utopian ideals onto a "new country" that is already inhabited by indigenous peoples.

A story of resistance and bravery

5 stars

This short novel kept me reading – there are some bits that are obviously detailing political systems, but I never found them tedious. I recognized some of the processes from actual communities I have been involved with. Those descriptions are balanced by the vivid, poignant characterizations of people, places and culture and a story full of adventure and incredible bravery. There's a certain grit to the story, some violence – never gratuitious, though; and still it left me with a positive sentiment. Definitely a "would read again".

Review of 'A Country of Ghosts' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Cette collection "Black Dawn" est décidément très prometteuse. Après [b:Grievers|58505022|Grievers (Black Dawn, #1)|Adrienne Maree Brown|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1633374629l/58505022.SX50.jpg|91886516] qui m'avait déjà beaucoup plu, je crois que le deuxième roman de cette collection m'a encore plus séduit.

Margaret Killjoy nous plonge dans un univers de fantasy inspirée de notre XVIIIe ou de notre XIXe siècle pour nous parler de notre monde. Le protagoniste est un journaliste embarqué au sein de l'armée impériale dans une guerre de conquête coloniale. Sa mission est de suivre le général en chef de cette armée et de livrer à l'opinion publique la propagande attendue par l'Empire.

Evidemment, rien ne va se passer comme prévu et nous allons suivre notre journaliste à la découverte de la population indigène. Loin des sauvages et des barbares décrits par la propagande - celle qu'il était chargé d'écrire - il découvre une société basée sur la liberté, l'autonomie, la solidarité, et l'aide …

New Best Intro to Anarchism

5 stars

There's always been a problem with recommending theory like the Bread Book to get people interested in anarchism. It is very easy for someone who has never questioned The Way Things Are to go "that's a nice thought, but it would never work" even though it literally has worked in the past. More enjoyable worlds are possible. Worlds free of authority are possible. Fiction allows them to suspend their disbelief long enough to actually consider what we're trying to say.

"A Country of Ghosts" occasionally reads like it's an overly didactic story, but it's trying to present its characters as people responding to the ignorant questions of a person from another culture. It covers their living arrangements, their decision-making, how to maintain services, how they might make war. This is what we should be telling the curious to read. Theory can come later.

Review of 'A Country of Ghosts' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I was originally going to be harsher on this one, but the printing that I have has an afterward from the author that was basically like, "look, I wrote this a few years ago, and there are some things I would change if I were to do it again," and I appreciated that. They were mostly points that I agreed I would've liked to have seen changed.

Basically a war correspondent for a newspaper gets sent to the frontlines of a war in an alternate world with roughly mid-19th century technology. He gets separated from the army and gets captured by the anarchist rebels up in the mountains that his country has been fighting against, and starts to learn about their side. There's no magic or elves or anything like that, but I'd still classify this as fantasy because there is a ton of worldbuilding going on, even if it's …

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