A new year means a fresh list of news stories with eerie parallels to characters and events I’ve brought into the literary world. Have I created a fair number of plot lines that are now playing out in real life? Unfortunately, yes. Here’s what bubbled to the surface in 2020…
No big surprise that COVID-19 leads my recap of Stranger Than Fiction entries this year. Lethal Agent followed a group of terrorists trying to weaponize a coronavirus they found in Yemen.
In my mind, pandemic is by far and away the greatest threat to humanity. It’s never a matter of if, but when. And, oddly, this one corresponded with my fictional telling of a similar story. If only Mitch Rapp had been here to help, 2020 would have been a lot better for everyone.
Beyond the obvious parallels, there are also some more subtle ones. For instance, the sophisticated method of transporting drugs from Mexico to the US. A few months after the book was published, authorities found a ¾ mile-long tunnel from Mexico to California, complete with an elevator similar to the one I described. And it’s only 10 miles from where I located it. So close…
Most scientists who have studied COVID-19 agree that the virus likely crossed to humans from bats. Just like my fictional strain.
Apparently, real-life terrorists saw an opportunity to get in on the coronavirus action, using the precise method dreamed up by my villain.
After a devastating 2020, my sincere hope is that events from my latest book, Total Power, won’t become reality. Again, the scenario isn’t something that I invented from nothing—this is a very real threat to America. Experts have been desperately trying to get our leadership to focus on our electrical grid’s vulnerabilities for years now.
There were several tweets and stories about readers who suffered power outages while they were deep into the Advanced Reader Copies. I continued to hear from fans periodically who had similar experiences during hurricane season. Adds a little atmosphere to the story!
Russian penetration into American computer systems plays heavily in the book, and in mid-December, a widespread hack of dozens of government agencies and private companies was discovered. After an investigation, all roads led to the Russians.
A couple of weeks later, the cyberattacks continued. It was reported that hackers possibly breached Black Start, the detailed technical blueprints for how the US would restore power if there was a major blackout.
Enemy Of The State
As longtime fans will remember, Vince tended to be suspicious of the Saudis. I decided to play off his distaste in Enemy of the State. The premise is that the American government was complicit in covering up the royal family’s link to 9/11. As time goes on, evidence continues to mount that I was right.
In spring 2020, an FBI agent accidentally revealed the name of a Saudi official who may be linked to the 9/11 terrorists.
Then, on the eve of September 11, 2020, we learned that a judge in a Manhattan federal court where a 9/11 lawsuit is underway, released a list of witnesses that includes members of the Saudi royal family.
The Utopia Experiment
In The Utopia Experiment, I dove into the world of high tech and what our lives would be like if we could link our minds to computers. The applications were endless and now, years later, we’re seeing real-life research into them.
I specifically stated that my device—called the Merge—could stream music directly to our brains and help treat neurological disorders. Now Elon Musk has picked up the ball.
The Merge also had a sophisticated navigation system that showed a driver the correct route via the Yellow Brick Road—a yellow path overlaid on the actual road. Panasonic has recently unveiled a similar system and is making the technology available to auto manufacturers.
And there’s more! Read Stranger Than Fiction 2021: Predictions Part 2.