Sunday, 28 May 2017

Verisimilitude and prediction

Tom Clancy famously said, "The difference between reality and fiction is that fiction has to make sense."  Verisimilitude means "like truth," plausible; and it's the novelist's key storytelling tool. What makes the kind of intrigue I write about disquieting is that verisimilitude requires setting up possible, plausible scenarios to dramatically examine and explore.  While the facts in my books couldn't withstand even the internet's sketchy fact-checking, the meaning and import--the truth behind the facts--of what these stories grapple with is meaningful, disturbing and relevant.

The New York Times today (Sunday, May 28) published an opinion piece by Stephen Roderick, Do We Really Want Mike Pence to be President? It leapt out at me for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that issues surrounding the office of the vice president are key to the events in the final book of the Faithless Elector thriller series, which I'm writing now--working title, Consent of the Governed.

Faithless Elector, the first book in the series, told the story of a deadly efficient conspiracy to steal the presidency by manipulating the Electoral College.  In this third book, the conspirators are still at large, still trying to win, with grave consequences for the future of our democracy.  Faithless Elector had great reviews and garnered a good deal of attention in the run-up to last year's presidential election, for which I am grateful.

Its premise turned out not to be prophetic (thank goodness!), but the havoc wrought on the political landscape by the Electoral College is all too real; and the weaknesses (fictionally) exploited in Faithless Elector are real, still latent--and potent. [For a primer on those issues and weaknesses, see Primer on the Electoral College]

The final book, Consent of the Governed, veers farther from the true events besetting the nation, but the premise remains all-too real.  Who is the vice-president?  Did we really think much about him/her during the campaign, or when we voted?  Does he/she have an agenda?  Where, as a governmental afterthought, does the vice president's power lie?

"Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," reads the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence.  In Faithless Elector, these words resound in the mind of the protagonist Duncan Calder as he frets over what a nation not so constituted would look like...would act like.  The Faithless Elector series is not about what is happening right now, but about what it means.

In an earlier blog post (Sailing Too Close to the Wind) about book two in the series, Dark Network, I wrote about how I worried that the meaning behind the events I described was a little too close for comfort; and as I begin working on chapter three of this final book, I find that once again I'm not far from the mark.

Dark Network is coming soon.  Consent of the Governed will be available next year.

 James McCrone is the author of Faithless Elector, a suspense-thriller, Publishers Weekly calls a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.” The sequel, Dark Network, is coming soon.

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.
If you live in Philadelphia, pick up a copy at Head House Books -or- Penn Book Center

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