A Scottish sci-fi writer has cancelled the last instalment in a trilogy about high-tech government spying after discovering that the NSA has been doing exactly what he described in his books.
Charlie Stross, the author of Halting State, moaned in his bog that he had not intended his books to be predictive. He just wanted to write a near-future Scottish police procedures about crimes that don’t exist yet, written in the multi-viewpoint second person.
But a National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors actually nicked the idea to create a horde of undercover Orcs. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games’ tech-friendly users, Stross said.
Now the only thing that has not already happened in his books is that the Scots have not won independence and quantum computers have not been used to crack public key encryption.
“I’m throwing in the towel. I probably will write another near-future Scottish police procedural by and by, but it won’t be a sequel to the first two except in the loosest sense,” he said.
The world was already damaged by the financial crisis of 2007 which meant a rethink of the second book Rule 34 now the Snowden revelations have systematically trashed all his ideas for the third book.
“Sometimes I wish I’d stuck with the spaceships and bug-eyed monsters. Realism in fiction is overrated,” he added.