Until now, the concept of ‘pirate radio’ may have brought to mind militant protesters navigating international waters in order to broadcast forbidden ideas towards fomenting revolution. Or perhaps the 2009 British film by the same name. But in this case PIRATE RADIO, written by Merms, is a radically romantic LGBTQ novel that is both revolutionary and comic, while also brilliant in its simplicity. The story’s repetitive patterns of language sketch and then color in quirky characters who swiftly become so full of life and relatable foibles, readers are likely to start believing that these are individuals they actually personally know.
There’s George, a sad sack of an antihero if ever there was one. Hanging around The New Knights of Camelot activists, mainly due to his crush on Ezra, George can hardly believe the group is serious when a suggestion is floated about taking to the sea in order to begin clandestinely broadcasting ideas the European Union’s NEU government is sure to find objectionable. Then again, during his past four years of acquaintance with them, the Knights always seem to be looking for some ludicrous, innovative way to get on the wrong side of the law. Sure, injustice is rampant and the new regime is draconian–drinking wine is now a crime, though racism, homophobia, corruption and other patriarchal norms still aren’t– but George has never been one to make waves. On the other hand, there is Ezra. Bright, shining Ezra, who George has been in love with oh, say, forever…and who happens to not only be a most beautiful man, but also, it turns out, physiologically or maybe mentally asexual. As in: inherently disinterested in human sensuality and therefore perhaps incapable of loving anyone back. Or perhaps not. Is there any better way to find out than being in close proximity 24/7?
The death penalty may have been brought back for even petty crimes, but feelow Knights and shipmates Heth, Ludwik, Marta, Clerk, John, Dante, Emil, Calvin, Madelyn, Nina, passionate-for-progress Ezra, sarcastically critical George, and Sirius the cat aim to take the matter of putting an end to such wrongs into their own hands. There’s just one problem: only George and Nina know anything about boats.
PIRATE RADIO by Merms is an incredibly good book–a humorous, touching, multilayered love story that aspires to shine light upon improving the world.
~C.S. Holmes for IndieReader