This post, while following on from the last one, will be addressing a bit more of a broad problem across genres. It’s gotten a lot more talk in the science fiction and fantasy genres (particularly fantasy) than it has in the thriller genre, but it still applies. The fantasy version of this has been most recently highlighted by the work of George R.R. Martin, though there are plenty of authors working along a similar vein, which has been coined “grimdark,” a term that became at first something of a joke, based on the tag-line for the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop sci-fantasy wargame: “In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.” Taken to its extreme, it can become so ludicrous that it shades into “grimderp.”
A friend of mine just ran up against the fact that the research questions he was asking for an Unconventional Warfare story may or may not have run up against the brick wall labeled “Classified.” As in, “You’re not supposed to know the answers to those questions, let alone put them in a book. Stop asking.” This got me thinking about a few things I’ve run up against as an author over the last few years.
I’ve shied away from writing about writing, since I’m still learning myself, but I had a thought recently that I figured could use some fleshing out. So here goes.
China has been a player in a couple of my novels, now. The Devil You Don’t Know dealt in part with the PRC’s dealings with Mexican cartels. Kill Yuan is set on the periphery of the perennial flashpoint of the South China Sea. Neither are new, though the South China Sea is becoming more and more of a focus, as China continues to push the US Navy as well as all of their maritime neighbors to the south, including Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The Spratlys have been a flashpoint with China’s neighbors for decades. The Chinese claim actually, according to Beijing and Taipei (which claims the islands under the auspices of the Nationalist Chinese government that preceded Mao’s Red China), dates back to the Han Dynasty, in 2 BC. Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines also claim the islands. In recent years, the PRC has begun building up reefs in the South China Sea into artificial islands, claiming that these are for scientific research such as fish population studies, though, in spite of the conspicuous operation of civilian airliners on the artificial island on Fiery Reef, there appears to be plenty of military equipment on the islands. They have