Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts On 9/11, A New Podcast and A Songlet

Nine years ago I was working for WIZN-FM in Burlington, Vermont, and we were in a meeting when the news of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center came in - we thought, at first, that it was an accident. When the second plane hit, we knew it was no accident. As the events unfolded, Howard Stern was our eyes and ears - the station carried his morning show. He rose to the occasion - made every listener a New Yorker that day. What a horrible day. We were lucky to have Howard's reporting and perspective.

In the aftermath of the attacks I felt numb and helpless... felt like we'd all just gotten a collective punch in the gut that took our breath away. As we all struggled for emotional air, I found I had to walk away from the project I was working on - a science fiction series set a hundred years ahead in a future marred by an ongoing Muslim/Western war - Vatican Assassin! Most of the first book of the trilogy had been written in first draft form by then. But I had to wonder - was the war in my future history already beginning? I'd extrapolated from present events to construct my "history" of the future... but I really didn't want to be right! I stopped working on the project.

Eventually, when we all got back into the "new normal" as it was called back then, I did go back to the story. That is obvious, I suppose, since the project turned into a trilogy and you can listen to chapter 12 of book two, Vatican Ambassador, on the new podcast episode up today! While the events of 9/11 did not inspire my books, the attacks certainly informed the later writing and polishing of the work. I wrote about BC trying to negotiate peace with a real sense of the war, a very real feeling of what was at stake. My writing was evolving, my storytelling improving, and living in the post-9/11 world was helping to infuse my science fiction with reality. I'm very glad to have gone back to the project, and proud of the work in all three books. It's my hope that in some way they serve as cautionary tales - let's try to avoid this future, if we can...

Enjoy another chapter of the free audiobook on today's podcast. There's also a little ditty after the chapter, a songlet I call "The Wrong Terry Jones" - more a joke than a piece of music (you can download the song alone from here if you want a copy: Enjoy!