Real Life in the Midst of Fiction

Posted: 23rd November 2013 by Jeff Bouley / Deacon Blue in Ruminations

I don’t know if I’ve addressed this issue directly before in any previous ruminations about my writing process around here, but you’ve probably noticed I try to keep pretty grounded in real history. “The Gathering Storm” takes place in 2010, and you’ll find political figures right where they should be: The president, the secretaries of state and defense, the director of the NSA and so on. Matt Lauer is co-host of the “Today” show just like y’all are used to.

Yes, I have plenty of fictional characters, obviously. And I concocted a history in which microprocessors were invented earlier than in our own real timeline, making technology across the board at a more advanced stage, though not overwhelmingly so. But even so, you still see some of the major companies, with Apple’s iPhone and the Droid competing for the love of the consumer…even if the products are named differently than what we’re used to. The cars may be a little more advanced, but the names are all the same ones you see on the road now.

Yes, I’ve created three entire major cities that didn’t exist before. There are “sea people” living in the oceans who are recent genetic offshoots of humanity. I’ve created superheroes and superpowers, for Pete’s sake. So, this is not “reality.” But it’s important for me to remain grounded in reality as much as possible and to create a world that is highly recognizable to everyone.

Plus, I don’t want the hassles of creating a whole new history to keep track of, when I can play off real events and see how they might spin out with a different flavor in a world of superheroes, even if the same basic outcomes result.

So, you might wonder, under these circumstances, why I have a character named Ben Glick as a stand-in for Glenn Beck, when I don’t replace any other famous people with fictional counterparts. Why don’t I have a President Oren Bidama or Secretary of State Celia Hinton, for example? Part of it, I suppose, is because I really think Glenn Beck has some screws loose and might be the kind of guy who might make waves for me and claim slander or something should I ever make it big with the Whethermen stuff. Call me paranoid, but I like to trust my instincts. Also, admittedly, Ben Glick is probably way more nuts and amoral…and certainly way more outright evil…than Glenn Beck is.

In the end, you can continue to expect a world that, for the most part, you recognize and events that are familiar to you. There will have to be some major deviations at a certain point with some truly world-shaking events, but I won’t get into that, because there lie spoilers.

Anyway, just wanted to share that before I finish up the next chapter of “The Gathering Storm” and post it tonight. Peace, my friends!