“A photograph of a forearm tattoo, in black ink with the words ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ above a fountain pen.“

Feb 23, 2017 | essay

This Machine Kills Fascists

Welcome to the resistance.

Let’s face it, the world is terrifying these days. Donald Trump. Brexit. Marine Le Pen and a hundred other racist far-right populists riding a wave of fear toward power and destruction. Our families, our neighbors, and our values are under assault by cowards who puff themselves up by screeching hate and lies and rancid ideas.

We can’t let this darkness take hold.

Fireside relaunched this week with a new website, but most importantly, a new reason for being. Yes, we’re still going to be telling great stories from all genres and all communities. But we’re going to be resisting, too.

I got the tattoo at the top of this post on January 3. It was the first one my artist did in the new year, and she said it felt right to start 2017 that way. The words on my arm are the ones Woody Guthrie wrote on his guitars and banjos. Art is a weapon. There is power in writing, in words, in music and painting and photography. The power to inspire. To teach. To give hope and comfort and joy. Fireside is going to be looking for stories and essays that help anchor us to the world that we deserve, not to the one these sons of bitches are trying to sell us while they steal our futures.

Is every story going to be political? Too late. Every story has ALWAYS been political. Some, like Andrea Phillips The Revolution, Brought to You by Nike, will be more explicitly so than others. We’ll work to make you laugh and cry and to give you the strength to fight, on the streets, on the phones, on the Internet and in your homes and schools and places of worship.

We’ll be there with you. We will fight. And we will win.

About the author

Brian J. White is the editor and publisher of Fireside.

© 2017 Brian J. White

About the author

Brian J. White

Brian started Fireside Fiction Company in 2012 as an experiment in crowdfunding and paying speculative fiction writers well above the accepted professional rate at the time. It worked! Thanks, have a great day!

Brian has been informed he has to write more in his bio. Fine! Brian took that experiment through five Kickstarters (and did not die!) and into a subscription model. During his tenure, Fireside published 150 stories, five novels, and one novella, and also published the first #BlackSpecFic report, which examined the massive under-representation of Black short-story writers in the field, prompting conversation, reflection, and change in the speculative fiction community. It remains one of the most important things he has worked on in his adult life. Brian was a 2017 World Fantasy Award finalist in the Special Award, Non-Professional category for Fireside, and Fireside has been nominated for multiple Hugo Awards.

Facing the burnout that is all too common among people who work at small presses, Brian stepped down as editor and publisher in 2017 to regroup and recharge mentally. He returned as interim editorial director in 2020 and resumed full ownership of the company in June 2021 with a great team you can read about below.

In the wider world, Brian is a former journalist who worked as an editor at The Courier-Journal in Louisville from 2006–2010 and at the Boston Globe from 2010–2018, where he was part of the staff that won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2014 for the newspaper’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2014. He still lives around Boston, where he works as an editor for a private company and takes photographs, paints miniatures, and spends time with his amazing wife and various cats.