How Many Times Have You Heard: “YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP?”


A month ago I began research into the background of one scene of my next novel. Picture a country in South America with a large Hezbollah and Iranian presence (true). Then picture a failed Venezuela (true). My characters needed to get off the continent and the easiest escape was out of Venezuela to Trinidad less than 10 miles off the coast. I was surprised to learn that this little West Indies island with a population of 1.3m contributed over 130 Islamic fighters to Syria, the largest per capita number of any country and was home to the first (failed) Islamic coup attempt in 1990. Keep tuned: Whatever I can fictionally dream up seems to have one foot in reality!

Moral Gray Areas and the Rise of Terminators

BBC recently published a piece on autonomous robotic weapons and artificial intelligence. For those who remember the Terminator movies, this discussion is a bit unsettling.

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The issue of autonomous weapons is vastly different than the moral issues over drone warfare. Drone warfare is presently oversee by military personnel making decision to strike. Many argue the gray moral issues of drone warfare but it is hard to argue that drone warfare does not lessen civilian deaths in war. In WWI the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths was nearly 50%. In WWII, the ratio was 65%. Precision weapons, while not totally “precise,” are not what indiscriminate fire was in former conflicts. Novelists are always looking for the next gray area to weave into a story, this seems like a pretty interesting one!