Short Stories
The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir

by Gary Phillips, ed.
Three Rooms Press, October 2017, $19.95

The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, edited by Gary Phillips, features stories that are often humorous, always entertaining, and mostly non-political, and that make use of the more absurd conspiracies surrounding Barack Obama and his presidency. Kate Flora’s “Michelle in Hot Water” finds a superhero-like First Lady Michelle Obama in a tight spot when an off-the-books mission, encouraging a pharmaceutical CEO to reduce the price of a life-saving drug, goes sideways.

“Sunburnt Country” by Andrew Nette is a successful pulp-magazine-style science-fiction tale about a secret weapon, a boy, climate change, and conscience. All set in Australia’s blistering Outback. Eric Beetner’s “True Skin” is an outlandishly good alien invasion story with a hoax perpetrated by an AM talk radio host. My favorite story in the anthology is Danny Gardner’s dystopian tale “Brother’s Keeper,” as much for its encompassing view as for the story itself. Its final climax is both thought-provoking and possible.

Ben Boulden
Teri Duerr
Phillips, ed.
October 2017
Three Rooms Press