Sunday, December 31 – The Obama Inheritance

My guests this week (Sunday at 5 PM) have made both a significant literary and political contribution to the libraries of required oddness, wit and resistance, ever growing and, happily, still in demand.  In The Obama Inheritance:   Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, editor Gary Phillips has organized, simultaneously, both a response and a provocation, with over-the-top fictional one upsmanship which attempts to match the persistent, racist, kooky and well-organized political, media and cultural attack on President Obama.  In response, these stories offer subversive and gleeful political wish fulfillment, poetic revenge, and a manipulation of just about every familiar element, detail, trope, and vital special effect required in any number of genre fictions, pulp to UFO to assassin-spy.  Their heroes are adept at weapons use and sharpshooting, martial arts, mad varieties of cloak and dagger, spy-skill, and of course enthusiastically apply their talents to nefarious bad guys, all in the name of justice, revenge and hyper-truth-telling.   As with the contributions from legends Walter Mosley and Robert Silverberg all these stories strain credulity only in their cheerful, fun super-engagement with the still-impossible unreality of the well-organized actual conspiracy against the first Black president by shadowy figures, and some not so shadowy at all.  The collection’s editor, Gary Phillips, is a critically acclaimed author of mystery and graphic novels (The Darker Mask, Bangers, Violent Spring). Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Phillips draws on his experiences from anti-police abuse community organizing and anti-apartheid activism in his work. He was the chair of the Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color committee, and president of the Private Eye Writers of America.  His story, “The Black Pimpernel,” is included in the collection, as is a piece by award-winning playwright and novelist Désirée Zamorano, whose most recent novels are The Amado Women and Human Cargo.  Zamorano and Phillip join me in Studio C to talk about the collection, the politics which inspired it and, of course, to read from their own work.  Thanks for listening, and for supporting the writers who appear on Bibliocracy by purchasing their books.