Author:Walker, Jesse

I haven't read The Presidential Plot, but I want to. According to the new anthology Sticking It to the Man, Stanley Johnson's 1969 novel features a CIA so fed up with the failure in Vietnam that it orchestrates a coup and installs a black-power leader called Panther Jones as president. The book reportedly presents this deep-state operation as a good thing, not a betrayal. And--oh, yeah--it was written by future U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's dad.

Despite its name, the counterculture of the '60s and 70s didn't always counter the mainstream. It mixed with it, often in unpredictable ways. Sticking It to the Man explores how that played out in the worlds of pulp fiction and mass-market paperbacks. Sometimes it meant embracing the ferment around them. Sometimes it meant half-assed attempts to co-opt the ferment. Sometimes it meant backlash.

And sometimes it meant weird combinations that don't fit any readymade category. In 1973, for example, the experimental science fiction writer Barry Malzberg got a contract to churn out 10 vigilante...

To continue reading