The Faking of the President: Nineteen Stories of White House Noir
Edited by Peter Carlaftes. Three Rooms, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-941110-89-8
Many of the 19 speculative stories in this highly entertaining anthology show U.S. presidents behaving badly, some with the same impunity as the current occupant of the White House. Lighter selections include Alyson Gaylin’s “Burning Love,” which reveals the dark outcome of a secret love affair between Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley; Gary Phillips’s “Y2 Effin’ K,” a clever action piece in which Bill Clinton and his secret teenage African-American love child foil a Russian plot on the streets of L.A.; and Eric Beetner’s “Article 77,” in which the 2000 election stand-off is decided by a fist fight between Laura Bush and Tipper Gore. And then there are the talking squirrels infesting the Eisenhower White House in Angel Luis Colón’s “Is This Tomorrow?” In a more serious vein, S.J. Rozan’s “Mother of Exiles” has Eleanor Roosevelt maneuver her husband into ending immigration restrictions to allow entry for refugees from Nazi Europe, while in Danny Gardner’s unsettling “Old Pharaoh,” the ghosts of slave children killed following the Underground Railroad save Abraham Lincoln from a kidnapping. Fans of alternate history will have fun. This is the perfect diversion for those seeking a break from the more serious aspects of the election season. (Apr.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly stated the title of the story "Old Pharaoh."
Reviewed on: 01/30/2020