Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spy Toys

Friday, February 25, 2011

Like most thriller writers, my secret weapons really are secret weapons.

When I was writing my first thriller manuscript, I had a conversation with James Rollins, who told me where he found out about liquid armor. He got it from the US Army’s website, and has used it in some of his Sigma series. I borrowed the tech toy from him.

One of my friends is a computer hacker. He’s helped me with the theme and tech content of one of my manuscripts.

I know some folks who’ve worked at D.A.R.P.A. and they spoke to me about projects they had cancelled. Great spy tech. Even for cancelled projects, I thought D.A.R.P.A. was off limits.

Lately, however, spy technology I know about and wouldn’t have ever put in a story has showed up on television. NCIS and other shows have used tech I thought was classified. Seeing on the tube what I thought was the province of a classified status has shaken my understanding of the rules.

So then, what are the rules? Should they be followed? I thought anything with a current field use should be kept secret. I thought anything that could be used as a weapon against my government should be kept out of my fiction. Was I wrong? If NCIS, NCIS LA, and a few movies recently released offer examples of the new rules, then fiction writers can write about whatever they want.

Live and learn.

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