Black Friday, Silent Vector, and Life Imitating or Exceeding Art

Let me begin by recognizing, or admitting if you prefer, that a major reason for writing is to create a commercially viable product. My second admission is that, while the Nick Temple Files have been nicely received in certain corners, commercial success has thus far eluded them. With any luck such a state of affairs will begin to correct itself starting on this the most frenzied of shopping days of the year, Black Friday. Here's hoping!

On a completely unrelated note, I've again seen reports in the press of the Taliban killing polio vaccination workers in Pakistan. This savagery is apparently tied to the CIA's decision some time ago to set up a fake polio vaccination drive to gain access to Bin Laden's compound, as the killings escalated after exposure of the CIA program. I've already written on this blog about the strange coincidence posed by the CIA's program and the central role polio plays in the plot of Silent Vector, a plot I concocted with no knowledge of the fake polio vaccination drive. What amazed me when I first read about the CIA's activities this past summer, and what continues to amaze me, is that anyone connected to our government would be so ruthless as to use the scourge of polio as an intel-gathering vehicle. I liked to think that when such a vehicle was proposed someone in the room would have said something along the lines of, "We're not going down that road, and we never will." My imagination turns out to have been too limited. You see, in Silent Vector I ascribed the sort of mentality that might use polio, or its threat, as a weapon to Marxist true-believers, power-hungry Soviets, and ex-Nazi scientists, typical Cold War villains with nary a trace of a moral compass. If an editor had suggested I put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak, I'd have scoffed at the idea of stretching credulity to such an extent. As it turns out, life is at times far more vicious than art, and far more brutal than my naive imagination. At least there are some things that still shock me.