Fiction and Truth

The novel “The President Is Missing” is as promised, “With details only a president could know, and the kind of suspense only James Patterson can deliver.” Those who like to read fiction now and then will enjoy a well-written novel. Those who believe that sometimes the only way to get at the truth is through fiction should be frightened.

Fictional President Jonathan Lincoln Duncan faces impeachment and a major terrorist has obtained the money and the people with the skills neccessary to develop a virus to infect all U.S. cyber systems.

The story moves along briskly and with lots of the kinds of surprises a good novel requires. Duncan’s political foes often frustrate him and waste precious time. Experts in cyber counter-terrorism are recruited. Questions about who can be trusted interfere with efforts to avoid the disaster.

Is the U.S. in danger of cyber attacks? They have already happened. Many have already been prevented. Is it possible the entire U.S. cyber system could be shut down with one virus? That’s the frightening question this novel has posted in large letters. Will fiction predict truth?

Shifting gears from that dire question and closing on a more hopeful note, without disclosing any specifics, I was taken with the following comment from the fictional president: “Think about how much more rewarding it would be if we all came to work every day asking, ‘Whom can we help today and how can we do it?’ instead of ‘Whom can I hurt and how much coverage I can get for it?'”

“Whom can we help today and how can we do it?”

What a great way to approach each day, provided to us by a fictional president.