Title: The Obama Inheritance
Rating: 2 Stars
If I recollect, this was an impulse buy at my beloved local book store. I liked Obama. I miss Obama. I like noir. The cover is pretty awesome. All of that added up to me taking a shot on a random book.
Although it doesn’t have really anything to do with my opinion of the collection, I do need to say that I’m not a huge fan of conspiracies. There was a time, many years ago, where they were definitely a guilty pleasure. I’d read about the Octopus (Danny Casolaro) or the Mark Lane confluence of weirdness (JFK conspiracy ‘expert’, MLK conspiracy ‘expert’, Reverend Jim Jones legal adviser, and childhood friend of Dan Mitrione, a CIA expert in torture who was murdered in Uruguay). I’ve read several books on the JFK assassination, including one that proposed that Oswald shot Kennedy because of his sugar addiction (otherwise known as the Coca-Cola theory, and no, I am not making that up).
At the time, I considered it harmless fun. It was amusing to me to read apparently smart people absolutely spin themselves into oblivion over patently stupid theories. The gyrations that people go through to prove that Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landings is pretty bizarre.
Over the last several years, obviously the dark side of conspiracies has come to the forefront. Before the internet, you had to search and find obscure, rarely in print books to find conspiracy theories. Now, they’re just a click away and thanks to the ever present filter bubble, you can easily exist in a world where the absolute wackiest of ideas become normalized.
Coincident with the ubiquity of the filter bubble is the election of a black president, which brought forth an ever expanding set of conspiracy theories.
Given all of that, this should have been a really ripe target for having fun.
In some stories it is. In, “I Know They’re In There!”, a true believer and a couple of his acolytes take over a hospital to gather irrefutable evidence of the death panels that they are convinced are holding court within. Pratfalls ensue.
“Brother’s Keeper” is a grimly dystopian story of what happens when Trump overthrows democracy and takes on the role of dictator.
“True Skin” is the story of a rabid conservative commentator who discovers who the real lizard people are.
Some of the stories did not fit the noir theme, so although still moderately entertaining, did not seem to really fit with the purpose of the collection. “…The Continuing Mission” visualized Obama and Biden as Star Trek like visitors sent from the future. “The Psalm of Bo” is the story, told in a biblical manner, of how dogs came to become dominant.
Some stories, specifically “At the Conglomeroid Cocktail Party”, did not seem to belong in the collection at all. It was neither noir nor did it pertain to Obama.
So, all in all, as is typical with short story collections, it was a definite mixed bag. On the whole, I’d have to say that there were more misses than hits.