Thursday, January 7, 2016

In my in-box

How should I respond to this?  Post your suggestions in the responses.

Dear Professor Smith,

            I’ve been following your science-fiction story, Castles, on your blog for over three years.  Gracious!  That’s a long wait for an inconclusive ending.  What happened to the aliens?  By the way, you must know that artificially created space-time wormholes are just sci-fi speculation.  That isn’t the way space travel really works.
            That is NOT what I’m writing about.
            Your blog advertises other stories you’ve written, so I went on-line to buy Buying the Bangkok Girl.  Imagine my surprise!  Who gave you permission to write this?  I didn’t.  You and I both know that “Debbie Apple” didn’t.  What were you thinking? Surely you have enough brains to see that you’ve put people in danger.  Yes, danger.  The nut cases are bad enough, charging around with their photos of “aural projections,” but lurking in the corners whenever the conspiracy wackos gather you find people like Lucas Sinclair.  How would you like it if Sinclair came snooping around your house?
            I suppose you think the invented names and details will hide the origin of this supposed “novel.”  Obviously, anyone can check and find out that no “Eleanor Urquhart” graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 2005, that there is no “Hotel Albert” at the location you describe in Monaco, and that there has never been an “Apple Company” offering information and investment advice (at least not in Southern California).  But too many other details of the story fit the real world too closely.  Why name real hotels and attractions in Thailand?  You even included the new Bangkok airport (new in 2006, that is).  Worst of all, the description of the “Apple Company” office practically leads inquiring readers to the exact location!  (Not that they will find anything there now; the demolition was, shall we say, thorough.)
            Surely you know that making all this information publicly available runs the risk of provoking unwelcome interest.  Some people—as you must know, whole organizations—take any mention of telekinesis very seriously.  “Mrs. Apple” may be safe from unwanted attention, but the man you call “Georges Savore” is still alive.  Why would you want to subject him and his friends to harassment and/or exposure?  The really important events are all past now, but some people (you know who) will never accept that.  They will look for us.
            I lent Buying the Bangkok Girl to a few trusted friends.  “Henrietta” said we should buy the copyright from you, in order to suppress further publication, and then we could patiently go about buying up the extant copies.  There can’t be that many in circulation, she said.  But Friendly Fry (Why on earth would you use his real name?  Are you suffering from a defective imagination?  Are you just lazy?) said the solution was not to suppress the story but complete it.  Let the world know—that is, anyone who is paying attention to little known novels—that the time of greatness has come and gone.  “Jason” and “Chandra” agreed with Friendly.
            So that’s the point of this letter.  Since you published Bangkok Girl, you have a moral responsibility to repair the damage you have done.  If you are willing to take on the job, I will send you the relevant information.  We realize there is work involved; you have to actually write the story.  With my notes that shouldn’t be too hard.  And you get the royalties from book sales.  I think that’s fair.  The beauty of this plan is that sane people won’t pay it any mind, and the wackos may be persuaded of the truth.
            By the way, don’t try to trace the origin of this email.  Even if you were as good as “Ben Henry” you would discover only an electronic trail that dead-ends at a temporary router.
            You can indicate your willingness to take the job on your blog.  If you say yes, I’ll put my notes together.  Of course, I can’t promise how long that will take.  The kiddos take a lot of my time, and we have season tickets.  As “Henrietta” says, Mike Trout is fabulous.
I will watch for your reply,
“Eleanor Urquhart”

P.S.  There are portions of Buying the Bangkok Girl that are pretty creepy for the person who lived it.  Good grief!  It’s like you knew what I was thinking.  Who told you all that stuff?

1 comment:

  1. It's been a year since you got this message. I'm not letting anyone take my copy of Buying the Bangkok Girl. So you'd better finish the sequel.