Some readers have noted that there are a number of things happening in the world around us today (years after the book was actually finished) that seem to have been predicted in the pages of Circumference of Darkness / Maximum Impact. That those events are now happening is true, but I think there’s a better explanation than any sort of prophetic vision on my part.
One of my favorite movies as a kid was Three Days of the Condor (though I wasn’t as big a fan of the book on which it was based). The plot revolves around a CIA analyst who isn’t even close to being a spy; he’s a reader. His job is simply to read everything that’s in print, looking for codes, hidden messages, trends, etc. It’s just a normal, routine 9-to-5 job, until the people upstairs become very concerned that he might have read the wrong thing. His entire office is marked for elimination, and a dandy mid-70s thriller unfolds from there.
(It hadn’t really occurred to me before I started to write about this chapter, but I guess my fascination with that story line stemmed from the fact that reading everything all day is kind of what I’ve always liked to do.)
So, that’s a lengthy introduction to the discussion of the predictive nature of this book. In reality, the current revelations about the back-room collaboration between the phone company and our intelligence services (as an example) aren’t really new developments at all. They’re just now being reported in depth, but all the parts of the story have been out there for years in one form or another. If you spend enough time reading, digging, following links and consorting knowledgeable parties, it’s not all that difficult to get ahead of the curve with at least enough solid information for the purposes of fiction.
In this chapter, John’s search for whoever seemed to be hunting him pretty closely resembles my own search for the information I needed to write about it. I ran onto a lot of interesting things in that process; this, for example, is a photo of the office building where Jeannie Reese would spend her days, if she existed. (Click the picture for a front view, if it’s not yet been taken down as forbidden content.)
One last thing, related to John’s computer, Kate. If you’re wondering how realistic consumer-level real-time digital voices have become these days, check out the products and demos here. This is the software that reads my work to me as I edit and proofread, and I think the voices are pretty amazing.