Our Lady of the Blessed Internets, don’t fail me now…
Consider that Tom Clancy wrote Hunt for Red October before the internet. What an astounding feat. Aside from creating and for a time completely owning a new sub-genre of fiction – the technothriller – think of how he got hold of all the information that he crammed into that book – the verisimilitude he was able to create despite the fact that he was an insurance salesman who had never served in the navy. He accomplished that feet without once using a computer. Not once! He flipped through the pages of actual books, books he had to leave his house and drive to go see.
While I do not need to do research to come up with the goblins and magic weapons in the Veil War, I do have need occasionally to get details on military technology, or other aspects of the story. What’s the range and actual military name of a light mortar? One step away. What does it sound like when it’s fired? Thank you, YouTube. What’s the terrain like near Rafha, Saudi Arabia? Google Earth can show me. (I should probably dedicate the novel to Google and the Internet instead of my mom.)
I can barely get my head around just how much more difficult it would be without the internets, and I’m not eight years old like my son who quite literally cannot imagine a world without iPads, the Internet and Google.
The funny thing when you start getting deep into the research is the odd places you find gaps. For example, the video feeds from unmanned drones goes somewhere, obviously. But where? What is the actual device that allows soldiers to view the camera images? Wikipedia’s page on the predator doesn’t say. Happily, a Facebook friend of the Veil War set me straight and gave me lots of useful info besides.
If you can believe it, I was actually somewhat conflicted about setting up this website before the story was complete. I worried that it might interfere with my ability to sell the novel. I worried that I wouldn’t get traffic. I worried, in a hazy and non-specific manner that would have made my grandmother proud. Jackass!
Turned out, I couldn’t have made a better choice. I shudder, now, to think of the things that wouldn’t have happened – like the getting the info on the drones, like getting the dope on blast trauma. Like meeting fellow authors stuffed to the gills full of sage advice on publishing that they are clearly just bursting to share. Like typo and error detection in the text. Encouragement, and the hypnotizing trance-like state induced by repeatedly clicking refresh on the stats page.
I swear to God, you lot are kind of creepy, volunteering obscure and arcane knowledge just exactly when I need it. I mean really, how would you know that I need information on US government plans for coping with mass casualty events anyway? Information that would have taken me months to accumulate by painful reading and thinking and sorting you just drop into my lap. Eerie, I tell you. Eerie.
Sort of reminds you of how that old TV show, “The Outer Limits” would start:
Do not touch your dial…WE control the horizontal…WE control the vertical….”
“I swear to God, you lot are kind of creepy,…”
Why, thankyew, thankyewverramuch.
I knew you were doing it on purpose.
What knowledge I have is broad but shallow, but all of it is at your disposal, no matter how odd or eerie it may be.