Most of the stories in this sequel to Dangerous Visions are below average. Again, Dangerous Visions happens to include my favorite story 'Moth Race' by Richard Hill. It also includes, 'With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama' by Dick Lupoff' a story about a colony of whites at war with a colony of blacks. This story will be the focus of my review.
The story was hyped by the editor as, "Friends, there has never been a thing like this one before, in or out of the field of SF. One expects some eye-openers... but nothing like Lupoff. He takes the solid gold award for chutzpah Above and Beyond the limits of Gall... frankly, had no other story than this one been written for Again, Dangerous Visions, the book would have been worth reading." It was nominated for a Nebula award but didn't win. When I watched the war movie Saving Private Ryan a scene in the movie would remind me of this story.
'Boomer Boys' is dangerous because it's told from the point of view of the racist 'New Alabamans' who are at war with the planet 'New Haiti'. The story is told in part through a succession of speeches the New Alabama leadership give - as observed through the eyes of the servicemen 'gyrenes' in the story.
The first speech is given at the end of the soldiers training, "who ever said anybody needed - a commencement speech - to tell him to blast the uppities out of black space... some bigbellied Senator from Talledega? Sheeh! What if it was the Governor himself? what could he say about the war that everybody didn't know already anyhow? We all knew what would happen... the same thing that happened on O'Earth, before the Jewrabs pushed everybody else out and left the colony worlds to shift for themselves. Who needs speeches?"
The second speech is seen from guard duty at a conference of the friendly planets, 'N'Missa', 'N'Maddoxia', 'N'Transvaal', 'N'Boer Republic', "I can well imagine how some of you - Ole Guv Youngerman, he lookin around to see who's pain attention & who's more interested in studyin his fingernails - how some of you - Ole Guv resumes - matt wonder how come we can't smash them nigra brutes with proven superiority of our kind... I'll be perfectly frank with yall, - Old Guv he looken almost fit to cry now - we taken a thorough whompin in this war... yall have to give us some help. Now that's all there is to it."
The third speech is before a big battle in space, "Colonel-General 'Pissfire' Pallbox, addressed the men. -Umen- are the finest fightin force in the en-tire planetary military establishment. - He spit on the deck., Some swabby wone like that! -M the N'Alabama planetary military establishment - his voice rising - being the finest fightin force among the pure surn white planets under God & His Son Jesus George Christ! - M the pure surn white planets - ole Pissfire hollern rantin now, snappin his official spacerine issue galluses m turnin from side to side - being the toughest, meanest, wild-spit-in-the-eye-&-kick-em-in-the-nuts bunch of ball-barren men in the entire galaxy!"
It's easy enough to like the young 'gyrenes' in the story Gordon Wallace and Freddie, though the story does poke fun at them or at least their society - in one case they walk by a newspaper box, "Noozes: WARGOZWELL ENEMYFALLZBACK BLACK CASUALTIZRIEZ PAPADOCS LOZING. Y Bi Noozes? Headlines allasame allagame allafine allatime. Win win win. So: Why no fizem sidewalcracks, streetlights, build some houses? Afterwarz uvocrz". Sayings have changed over time, "Rise Agin!", "Lawnorder", "I'm dreaming of a white kiss miss."
The crux of the story takes place in a seedy night club. Their sergeant takes Gordon Wallace and Freddie to the club their last night before deployment. 'Miss Markum' performs a dance there for the crowd. Her dance is interrupted by a black male on stage, even their sarge "does a double take", "but no. He's white only daubed", "Curled around her jelly hip what's that black what's that? A handle it has she grasps and uncoils a whip. Maidenhood defended. Now willya see him cringe and crawl... hear him whine (phwapp!) good O God O finefinefineO go Miss Markum and crack! the people lose their mind the cheers the screams the hips, hips working, losing minds, pelvis grinds tears cheers, Miss Markum Truimphant calls defiant independent slogan: Never!"
N'Haiti does win the war. They solve their manpower shortage by reanimating the war dead: creating zombies. At one point in the story Gordon asks to himself, "Why so many N'Alabama ships carry N'Missa names?"
The story ends back at the same night club after the war. Freddie now works there. Miss Markum still works there too, catering now to the victors. Things are reversed. Miss Markum is made up to look quite, quite dark, and a white N'Alabama southern man, jumps out and tries to grab her. The show must go on. At the start of the show the Emcee proclaims, "A dramatic interpretation ladies m gentlemen, music m drama m dance combine to present a traditional reenactment." Freddie is actually the southern man in the show, facing the whip, "Freddie howls (it's part of the act, right, but Miss Markum do you gotta make it so real!)." A very dark Miss Markham gives him one final push down with her heel.
What seems dangerous to me is, do the 'N'Alabamans' (who have an entire planet to themselves) really have to be so obsessed with race/the greatness of their race? Of course the words 'traditional reenactment' there at the end are a bit unnerving as well.
I think this story may have been influenced by the impressive story 'New Riders of the Purple Wage' in the previous Dangerous Visions anthology - a story that, on the surface, is a satire of the socialist nanny state. 'New Alabama' included here, on the surface level is a satire of the racist right. In fact, I would go further than suggesting one story was influenced by the other. I would go further and suggest the entire Dangerous Visions project - Dangerous Visions, Again Dangerous Visions (and the never completed) Last Dangerous Visions, the entire project may have been designed to get this one story in print.
Most of the other stories in the anthology aren't very good. Again, Dangerous Visions didn't sell very well. It was panned when it was reviewed and it's on few library shelves. Because of the difficult Southern accents some who bought the book may have skipped the story. Elsewhere on the web it was given a review (echoing the anthologies editor) that simply said, worth reading for this one story alone, "a truly dangerous vision and a hoot to boot."