It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens

I remember when 9-11 happened, a lot of well known faces were surprised, and said, “Who would think to fly a plane into a building?”  I immediately knew – Tom Clancy.  At the end of one of his books, a Japanese 747 pilot crashes a plane into Congress during the State of the Union speech, leaving his character as the President of the United States.  It was only fiction, until it happened.

In my own experience, I had an FBI agent tell me that a month before 9-11, there was no problem with my bad guys crashing a plane into a building, and that it certainly wouldn’t give a terrorist an idea.  A month later he died.  He was the head of security at the World Trade Center.  I freaked out and didn’t write for three or four years.  I’d written about a scenario, and then a very similar scenario had happened, and a man had died along with 3,000 other innocent souls.

I’ve had experience working for the House committee on Science Space and Technology. Some of the ideas I gave them, and those that we discussed back in the 90’s, are now in use today.  They were only fiction, until they happened.  Technology has in many cases accelerated the time span so that all stuff that was fiction ‘two days ago’, today when we read it in the paper, instead of in a novel, it’s real.

I have a selfish, writers’ fear that what I’m writing is going to happen and then my books will be passe.  ‘It’s only fiction ‘til it happens’ is a scary thought.

In book two, my character, Bill Hiccock, tries to figure out what the terrorists are going to do next, “You could even try to wedge the thing [a suitcase nuke] at some geo-critical point in the California mountains and use the energy of the blast to possibly initiate a tremor that could tear open a rift in the San Andreas fault and cleaver all of California into the sea. Oh wait, that was the plot of Superman: The Movie. Bill’s mood sank as he realized that Hollywood
had already written the only how-to book any terrorist ever needed.”

He determined that Hollywood has already created most of the ways to attack a free society and create death and destruction. In another part …

“Ali Rashid, also known as Rodney Albert, the guy who ran from the subway checkpoint.  He’s a loose cannon but he made his money as a freelancer in the L.A. indie movie biz, as an assistant cameraman.”
“Movies again.” Hiccock said.
“Yeah. They’ll be the death of Western culture.” Bridgestone said with a snarl.

In my book, The Hammer of God, movies become the death of western culture, as the terrorists use film production as a way to infiltrate public areas. You can still get a permit to take over a street, a building, or whatever, without a lot of scrutiny in major cities if you’re making a movie. This is a major gap in security, but don’t worry, it’s only fiction ‘til it happens.

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