As a driver listens to the news on radio, first it's a race war, and his black passenger tries to kill him. Then he picks up a woman as a flyer calling for death to men falls from her purse she tries to kill him. Then it's youth versus adults, until at the end he sees a mass gathering to commit suicide in a field.

Part of a paperback anthology in my middle school(!) library in the late 70s or very early 80s. I've searched for it off and on for decades now with no luck.

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    Could you tell us what science-fiction or fantasy elements were present? Commented May 13 at 0:54
  • Welcome to Science Fiction & Fantasy SE! Unfortunately, the identification of works that do not contain any sci-fi or fantasy (or related) elements is not within the scope of this community. But if you are looking to identify an on-topic work, please edit your question and share more details about its sci-fi or fantasy aspects so that we can better help you. For more tips on how to improve your question, take a look at our guide on asking identification questions. Commented May 13 at 2:40
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    ...Answer found in a copy of "The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction". This comment didn't age well.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented May 13 at 13:49
  • Question title reminded me of "A Cross-Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon", by Orson Scott Card (from Maps In A Mirror), although it's clearly not the answer. Leaving this here in case someone finds it helpful later. Commented May 14 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


All the Last Wars at Once by George Alec Effinger

All the Last Wars at Once by George Alec Effinger (Universe #1, 1971) starts with two men, one white and one black, announcing on live news that there will be a thirty day race war. The story then cuts to a hitchhiker called Stevie who has a car stop for him. When the female occupant hands a Women’s Lib factsheet to him before he can get in, he realises that women and men are now fighting each other too, and he only just manages to shoot the driver before she tries to kill him. There are several similar sections that detail various other us vs. them conflicts: Catholics shooting up a Protestant church before all creeds end up fighting with each other, producers vs. artists, lefties vs. righties, young vs. old. etc.

The end is as you remember with people setting themselves on fire in a mass suicide.

Here's its ISFDB page

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    Andrew, WOW!!! Thank you! How did you find that?! I will start hunting a copy. Very grateful
    – Mick
    Commented May 13 at 4:31
  • It's a very memorable story - I remembered the title off the top of my head. Please click the check box when you have the chance.
    – Andrew
    Commented May 13 at 10:48

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