Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Who is John Twelve Hawks?

Back in August I wrote a piece about John Twelve Hawks's so-called thriller The Traveller (aka The Traveler in the US). I thought the book was a dud, but noted, as one would have to, that it was being given a tremendous amount of hype by the publishers, in both the UK and the USA.

I think it was always fairly obvious that John Twelve Hawks was a pseudonym, and I made a brief reference to the kind of person, or persons, who might be involved. But I can't say that I gave very much serious thought to who the author might really be, largely because I felt that the book was so feeble. And, of course, I was irritated by the fact that, yet again, a publisher was putting enormous weight behind something that really didn't deserve it.

However, it turns out that that there are in this world a number of people who are giving some fairly detailed consideration to the identity of The Traveller's author. And one of them, Janet Rice, has come up with the suggestion that the real author is Michael Cunningham. Yes, that very same Michael Cunningham who won the Pulitzer Prize with The Hours and has recently published Specimen Days, another book which I felt wasn't worth anyone's trouble.

Janet Rice first posted her piece of deduction as a comment on my review of The Traveller, and I certainly recommend that you take a look at her detailed reasoning.

I have to say that this linking of Cunningham with the Twelve Hawks identity question is the smartest piece of lateral thinking that I have come across in a long time. Janet has clearly read both The Traveller and Specimen Days with far greater care than I have, and has come up with several features which the books have in common.

Having written her piece as a comment on my blog, Janet has posted her further thoughts on this issue on the discussion page of Night Shade Books, where you will find several other speculations about the mystery man's identity.

Janet, please note, is not insisting that she is right; she is simply putting forward the Twelve Hawks = Cunningham idea as a hypothesis, and inviting others to test it out. For my own part, I have to say that I find the idea tolerably convincing.

First of all, both books are, in my opinion, of much the same standard: i.e. just about publishable but no great shakes. Secondly, the existence of a previously 'successful' author behind the pseudonym would certainly explain why the publisher was willing to invest so heavily in the book; although, having said that, one also has to say that publishers seem quite ready to invest substantial sums in unknown quantities on every other day of the week.

Perhaps somewhere out there is a computer whizzkid who could do some textual analysis and see how the prose style of Cunningham and Twelve Hawks actually compares. Always bearing in mind, of course, that such analysis was not wonderfully successful in identifying the real author of the Belle de Jour blog/book. And also bearing in mind that an author can deliberately adopt different styles and tones of voice for different books.

Janet also adds some speculation as to why Cunningham -- if he is the one -- should bother to write a commercial thriller; her own hope is that he was trying to find a way to get his ideas through to a wider audience than he could achieve via his literary work.

Well -- ahem -- forgive my cynicism, but one should never underestimate the power of the dollar. In publishing, the money is never as much as the hype suggests, whether you're Cunningham, Twelve Hawks, or anyone else. And in my view it might well be the case that some erstwhile literary chap has got tired of scuffling for a living and has tried to cash in.

I have absolutely no objection, in principle, to a writer going flat out for the money, but perhaps whoever is responsible for The Traveller now understands that writing a successful commercial novel is rather harder to do in practice than the literary elite of this world think it is.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, Grumpy, I'm NOT posting to sell music or brochures. I actually enjoy reading your blog.

Thanks for the link. I read Janet Rice's comments re: Michael Cunningham being John Twelve Hawks and, I agree with you, the logic is impressive. (Kudos to Janet!)

The reason for Cunningham taking another name is completely obvious in your own post -- it's the bashing ANY writer will get when he strays out of the little box constructed by the critics.

I don't know how much fantasy or SciFi fiction you read, but Hawks has combined different genres in a new and interesting manner. Michael Cunningham definitely has the skill to do this -- so, yes, perhaps Janet is right.

Anonymous said...

you relly are a grupy old fucker

Anonymous said...

sorry its grumpy.

Nigel Robson said...

I must be 'Off the Grid' without knowing it. I boughtThe Traveller' on impulse having encountered none of the hype. I find myself in agreement with you and other bloggers I have encountered while trying to work out how I got so badly taken.

Anonymous said...

Actually I find the book just fine, a good read, as good if not better than most of the pulp shalp the stands. I love the viral attempt at marketing the book as well. They have a web site set up from the POV of one of the characters Hollis.

Anonymous said...

Grumpy. I drive many miles a week in a land that be considered some of the harshest climate in the world. You could say my palette is clean. This is by far the best book I have listened to in a while, and trust me, I listen to a lot of books. Very surreal, creative, and clean. Does John Twelve Hawks know something we don't? It is a shame you have to be so Grumpy about it, but I like the Blog!

Anonymous said...

I don't normally engage in online book bashing, but as I was reading this novel I caught myself seizing onto bits of readable prose with pathetic enthusiasm. I kept hoping Hawks was going to redeem himself sooner or later, what with the promising synopsis and that nifty cover illustration...but no such luck. It was miserable having to witness a genuinely good idea going to waste through such bad writing. Anyone who can write and actually publish a line the likes of "She suddenly saw his brown eyes and hair in a new way," or some such deserves to have their writing materials (the patently considerable money behind them notwithstanding) confiscated. Mr. Hawks should approach Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, or Neil Gaiman with an offer to finish off this trilogy, because those of us who were duped into reading Pitiful Part 1 aren't going to get fooled into Part 2. That and I can only imagine how insipid, yet sketchily, written the Maya/Gabriel sex scene is going to be. Spare us. Also...does ANYONE care what happens to them? It's. So. Boring.

cathy said...

Hey-The book was good. The story was good. It was too graphic for my usual tastes, but the violence was an acceptable part of the story. If you've never had father issues, you wouldn't understand the whole thing with Maya and trust of anyone. The only problem I had with the whole story was maya's reaction to the pain in the end. If she was trained and disciplined like he wrote her, she would have been able to disassociate from the pain. I've not been shot, but have had intense pain and been quite able to refrain from feeling all of it. Other than that small item, I thouroughly enjoyed it and was only online looking for info about the next one. I love the name the author chose. I don't believe that we are all being watched, though. I am not afraid and not hiding! Who cares who he (or she) is? The book got me thinking, and about the other realms, not the government. Who hasn't read someone's mind, manifested things, found things that were lost, had at least some sort of other worldly experience? We were all meant for so much more than the typical suburbanite goals. That's what got from the book.

Anonymous said...

Dear old jaded grumpy. What are you so afraid of?

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly liked this book. I took it as a heads-up to our current situation in this country. There are far too many people that have blind faith that our government and large powerful corporations have our best interests in mind. Power does eventually corrupt if there is nothing to stop it.

Anonymous said...

hi grumpy, i thought the book was an excellent read, it made you think and kept my attention throughout! i feel people like yourself analise things to death, don't let me talk you out a job because things are there to be discussed but sometimes you have to except things for what they are!

Anonymous said...

I have read all the reviews of this book and I only have this to say; I have waited 18 months for the second book to come out, having throughly enjoyed the first one.It was the first sci-fi book I've read and was totally hooked. We all have our opinions, but if the books sell that says it all in my humble opinion!

Anonymous said...

Hey Grumpy, I bought The Traveller, completely unknown to me, in a charity shop for £1 and feel it was the best story I have read in a very long time. I gave it to my Mom ( who is 80 years old) and she thoroughly enjoyed it too!

Did I see a comparison with Crichton???? Maybe that was that they were both available printed on paper!

I will buy the second book from a bookshop. Can't agree with anything you said about it.

Fiver said...

Hi Grumpster,

I've obviously stumbled into this debate a lot later than anyone else and I also have never heard any of the hype for the Traveller, which I finished about 20 minutes ago. I picked it up because I liked the cover and I was in the library... yeah I know I'm shallow.
I agree with what some of what you (and others) have said. (But Orson Scott Card as a model for good writing?! C'mon!)
But there were some great idea's in there. I live in a country where we have passport with chips being issued for the first time ever in our history? What's that about? I'd be interested to read J12H's next book at least. Sometimes series get better as they go along. What do you reckon?
Cheers,
Fiver.

Anonymous said...

Hey Grumpage,

Yeah, like Fiver, I got this one from the library too, just finished it. Hadn't heard about it or anything, just picked it up. Thank God it was an audiobook or I never would have made it through the whole thing.....way too many detailed descriptions about rooms and hallways...that drove me crazy!! Thank goodness for the fast forward button. And then the whole thing just kinda flat-lines at the end. I think it was a good idea but, the execution didn't match my expectations.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Traveler. Who cares about the quality of the prose---the plot is great and the story is compelling. And who cares about the author's identity as long as s/he has something more interesting to say than most bloggers?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I have to agree, Grumpy, The Traveler is a mediocre tale, predictable to me with nearly every turn, but I did think the characters were a little compelling. There were aspects of the work that seemed over-written...the whole other realm thing was a little to...I don't know, I was going to say Twilight Zone-ish, but it wasn't even that good.

As for how is John Twelve Hawks, who cares. If the author wants to keep his "real" name off of a book, let 'em. If this JTH guy is real and wants to stay "off the Grid," again, who cares.

Anonymous said...

it should make you think about the freedom of information and the whole big brother aspect more than the prose or has this guy wrote under another name, you are on e grumpy old git, get with the program and think about the implication of government/corp. snooping!!!!

Anonymous said...

I read the traveler and just finished the dark river. I found them both to be very entertaining and interresting. I am not a book enthusiast, but I look forward to reading Twelve Hawks's future novels.

enaya said...

i would like to say that after i lay my hands on the traveller i have recomended the bk to all my college mates and my college teachers they have taken in to account of the bk and gave the most bizarre responses such as 'is this really true? omg this world is like the tv game show bigbrother' i did not respond but have tryed to spred the wrod about the bk and i have to thank Mr Hawks for making an impact to my life about the gov and the vast machine (its very true if you live in england espically london bloody camreas eveywhere), my frnds have now started to reasearch about this, i have finished bk 2 the dark riva last night and i have to say its was brilliant, it is very true about how we are followed everyday espeacially here in the uk there are ova 14million cctv camreas and we the british peepz only make up 2% of the population of the world, plus we have now have this travel card called oysters everywhere we go its coneccted to a computer that takes in all the palces we visit with card and anywhere suspicious we go, they make an account of it, if mr Hawks eva reads this i would like to say thank you as you have woken me up to smell the air of its foul odor

Anonymous said...

You should really just go back to your Harry Potter book reviews, at least with those you sound like credible reviewer.

Just as a side note we use most of the mundane software and tracking programs listed in the books every day. Tracking law abiding citizens is easy, it is the criminals we have problems tracking.

one fatal flaw in the authors list of fictional tech is "un-traceable satelite phones", there is no such thing.

lucca said...

critics should concentrate on the ideas and possibilities suggested by the book if you are a nitpicker its not for you.
to quote alan moore its for people who dont switch of he news

Anonymous said...

wdmfndvdYou pompous ass, both books are a good read, and as worthy as any other of a place on the bookshelf. Who the author is, is irrelevant, at least he has put something out which entertains, without the need to attack anybody else. You critics are a waste of flesh and organs. Try for once in your life to write something constructive and stop being bitter. The job of book critic is generally the refuge of failed writers.

Anonymous said...

Who says "ahem" in print anymore?

- - JTH

BOATMAN said...

Maybe not great literature - but wonderful story telling nevertheless.....

Anonymous said...

Maybe we got it all wrong. John = John Doe, just an anonymous and common name. Twelve Hawks = a bunch of never-to-be-succesful authors, 12 exactly, writing and plotting together somehow this terrible and badly written piece of s... literature? This would be really "off the grid"!
T.

Anonymous said...

Just finished The Traveler. I don't think I'll be reading the sequels. Very unfulfilling. Not trash, but having just graduatetd with a creative writing degree I have to say that it seems like the book went to print without an editor. It's rife with cliches. The phrasing is awkward at times. The similes feel forced. The action is minimal and poorly rendered. The secret history aspect of the book leaves much to be desired. (The Illuminatus Trilogy handles this topic much better.) Honestly, there were so many instances where I wished that I could have given some feedback before the book went to print. I guess I'll just have to write my own books. There is a huge void in this genre, and I think that this book is doing so well due to a lack of competition. I can't think of any books published in the last year that are along the same lines. People want this kind of a story, but they want it done well, with characters that have depth and action that matches the story's ambition. For sci-fi I think I'm going to stick with Asimov, Simmons, Card, and Bradbury for a while. The Traveler was enough junk food to last me a few years. If anything, though, it is a nice example of what not to do, or at least what can be done with minimal effort. I would say that it shows promise. Maybe in a few years Mr. Twelve Hawks will have organized his philosophy into something that sounds more like storytelling and less like preaching.

Anonymous said...

I got a sneaking feeling it was Dan Brown, wanting to know if he could sell a book without the 'da vinci code euphoria' selling it.

Anonymous said...

I read both books one and two, and will probably read the third. But my standards aren't that high.

Aside from cliche romance, ("Oh, but we shouldn't!") and the really stupid magic/spiritual side of the book, I found it to be a pretty accurate view of how the world will be before too long.

I don't care hooey about the "realms" or whether Gabe and Maya do the dirty dance.

I also don't think that there's some "shadow" organization pretending to be the government and tracking everyone.

I think the government itself is doing a fine job of that.

Its rather strange how much of the technology that Mr 12Hawks wrote about either actually exists, or is in spurious development. If that doesn't bother you. There's something wrong with you.

Happy Goldfish Bowl to ya!

Anonymous said...

case in point

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/10/att-invents-pro.html

Anonymous said...

-pro.html

Jocksy said...

How about Lee Child?

Anonymous said...

Life altering. That's what this story was to me. Run! Live off the grid or be inventoried!

Anonymous said...

I'm actually quite intrigued by who the author might actually be. There's a lot of mystery surrounding the author, which creates a wonderful sense of intrigue.

Given my own experience in reading a handful of books, It's really hard for me to believe this is a first-time authors work. But then again, look at Ayn Rand's first book and the progression to Fountainhead. Perhaps Traveller is merely the authors second attempt at a novel -- after much learning experience in learning how to write a book.

Either way, I expect we'll never learn who it is simply because the intrigue and mystery is far too great ... and it lures us in!

Jocksy said...

As I said I'm fairly sure the author is Lee Child.. Jack reacher his main character is off the grid.....!

Anonymous said...

Stop navel gazing guys and take it for what it is - a good raed
Just because you think they're not watching you, it doesn't mean they're not

Anonymous said...

Most of you need to seriously get a life.

Books, like movies, should be regarded as no more than forms of escapism. The Traveller delivered. Full Stop.

All you 'critics' and wannabee writers, put up or shut up.

Having just finished The Traveller this evening, I am looking forward to the next installment.

Anonymous said...

Most of you miss the point. It's not about the subjective quality of the prose. It's not about JTH. It's about what you do next.

Anonymous said...

wow....many of you killed the book. i found it very enjoyable, and a quick read. reads like james patterson. the story reads similar to kings "dark tower" books. just ordered the second book and i'm sure i'll enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you read weighty volumes like War and Peace etc etc. I like John Tweve Hawks books and enjoyed them. War and Peace? I tried to read it and fell asleep! Says it all really.

Anonymous said...

wow, of all the comments posted, very few of you really grasped the issue that 12 Hawks whoever he/she is has posed a serious question - what will our world be like when we are monitored 24/7/365 by our government(s). The technology is here and now and just yesterday the US Senate passed an expanded surveillance bill. Whether you like the books or not (I happened to like them but agree that they are not the best literary works ever created - but who cares, I enjoyed them) the author has presented a serious issue for us to consider even though it is wrapped within a series of fictional tales. I often hear people stating that they dont care if they are watched all the time - well that will change when you can speak your mind freely, even in your own home and that my friends may be coming to a town near you.

Anonymous said...

Correction: I missed the letter "t" on my keyboard...when you can't have a private conversation. I know I seem extremely paranoid...but I still use my cell phone and remain on the grid but I am more careful today than I was in the past. Regards to you all

Trudy aka Cupatea said...

I have just finished reading Books One and Two - thoroughly enjoyed them (came across them quite accidentally as I don't like SciFi and have never heard of the author before). I could see the paranoia running through it. The theme reminds me of the push for citizens in the Northern Hemisphere for always be fearful of threats against them and their way of life - aka terrorism that lurks behind every sofa!!! I am very much looking forward to Book Three. Keep it up JTH. Trudy (New Zealand)

Julia said...

I finished The Traveler two days ago, went on Google to find more info and discovered this comment page. People have been posting here for three years! I think this deserves a new grumpy comment by Grumpy Old Bookman himself :)

I NEVER read Science Fiction, but my niece gave me this book. It really gave me a new way to look at the world -- not a particularly happy vision -- but something that matches a few of my own observations.

And isn't that what a good book is supposed to do?

Anonymous said...

I found the book a quite accurate description of what we already live in. the streets are already covered in cameras, supposedly for our own safety. We already have surveillance vans touring the streets keeping watch. We already do have our internet watched. All in the name of national security. All for the greater good. Perhaps this author, whomever he may be, is trying to wake up a nation of people who are blind! just as described in the book, people blinded and coerced into thinking this techonology is a good thing, making them feel protected and secure. Where will it end? Doesn't take a degree to work that one out does it? J.

OnePablo said...

Hrm, I actually found The Traveller to be a half-decent read; certainly good enough to prompt me to recently purchase The Dark River. This sequel is rather poor.

The comparisons with some of Dan Brown's "work" are inevitable. The Traveller is probably better in terms of writing, character development, etc, than any of Mr Brown's works. The Dark River however is up their in terms of Absolute Contrived Idiocy with Brown's Deception Point (a truly dismal attempt at... I don't know)

So back to the question... who is John Twelve Hawks? Given the intimate (obviously first-hand) knowledge of a vast array of cities and cultures, he's either going to be; a middle-aged writer, possibly a reporter who's travelled to trouble zones (Beirut, Ethopia...). Or, it's more than one author (surely not 12 though!)

It merely adds to the hype though. Going back to Dan Brown again, I feel JTH is a little "better". Certainly less pleased with himself anyway.

Ian77 said...

This website hasn't been active since November of last year. Odd. It feels like all of us are writing on the wall of an abandoned house.

I did not feel The Dark River was as strong as The Traveller. It suffered from classic "second-book-itis" (a common literary disease). But I'm willing to forgive the author if the last book in the trilogy ties it all together.

I think the previous post about John Twelve Hawks' identity is fairly insightful. The scenes in The Dark River that are set in London, Berlin and Ethiopia feel very real. Most American writers are quite provincial -- limited in their knowledge of other cultures. This makes me think that John Twelve Hawks is either British or that he has spent a great deal of time abroad.

Meritt said...

Having never heard of the book nor the author before I had no preconceived conceptions (or misconceptions) and simply saw the book on the shelf of the library and checked it out!

Because of this (?) I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book and I really like it.

I could tell from the style of writing that this was NOT a 'first' novel and that it was/is obviously someone writing under a pseudonym, which is actually how I found your post.

As it is, I'm not sure who J12H might be... but it's interesting to read that others have had the same thoughts as I have.

:)

Anonymous said...

the traveller reminds me strongly of Nick Sagan's Idlewild. so for me the best guess is that JTH is Nick Sagan.

fifteen said...

I loved this book..and believe that twelve lives off the grid..i do..lol
i haven't paid tax etc for years

cirrus said...

now that i know some of the places in the book (the traveler) is real i'm willing to give it another go. Stopped because i had something better to read.

But i'm going to read it, because it seems a nice fit into different genres. It has something like 1984, a little matrixy and a few drops of blade.

I think this seems like written for a movie, but found not good enough by people who read it and now tried out in a book.

That's what i think. So i think if it is cunningham, tried to write a script and wasn't found good enough so he tried it in a book under a pseudonym.
greetings,
cirrus

Anonymous said...

John Twelve Hawks is my mum

Anonymous said...

Ok had a brief look through all comments; just laid my hands on this book; my first reaction is: is it not funny and remarkable that what this writer tells in 2005 is excactely what is happening now and what half or more of the world appears to be comfortable with and see as ' normal life' in 2009 ............ rené.

Anonymous said...

I think you must be in the employ of the vast machine.

Denigrate this trilogy and this author in the hope that no one will pay any mind to this invisible prison.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure JTH is a guy who lived in Gainesville, FL, back in the mid-90s. He went by the name "Hawk" and claimed to be a sci-fi writer. I'd always see him at Bagel-land and/or the UF Library West (where I worked), and other places. He was really into living off the grid and keeping a low profile. I was introduced to him via my friend, Liz, who was one of the few people he seemed to be friends with.

Anonymous said...

Would the writer of the previous entry who feels the John Twelve Hawks was the man in Gainesville please post more information. Such as: what did this man look like and where did he live?

I also think I met John Twelve Hawks -- in London in the 1990s. The key information is in The Dark River. Read the chapter on the Free Runners party at the house in South Bank. This house is real! I had a friend who once lived there.

We think Hawks is an anarchist who worked in a bicycle repair shop. Like the man you described, he spent a lot of time in libraries and said that he was writing an epic book.

Then, Hawks was in his 40s. He would be in his 50s now. He had thin reddish hair and said his name was Gordon. But this is the crucial clue: one day everyone in the square was cleaning up the communal garden. Gordon took off his shirt for some reason and had scars on the upper part of his body. These were not medical scars, but scars from fighting.

Did your man in Gainesville have scars?

Anonymous said...

i am so happy i didn't buy this piece of poop (The Traveler, a novel)the only reason i finished it was that i thought it had to get better but it didn't. I would advise anybody wanting a fun read to read something else even the want ads would be better. A waste of time

Anonymous said...

Just finished The Traveller. An amazing book. The first true vision of our new century.

I hope John Twelve Hawks is able to stay off the grid. All of you should leave him alone.

Tehran Calling said...

Great blog, GOB. You're fun to read... I wish I could say the same about J12H (shorthand cool).

The premise (Travelers, Harlequins, Brethren, the Vast Machine) was a good one, and I liked the way the first book started, but hundreds of pages later it went nowhere, and by that time I didn't care what happened to any of the main characters (except for, maybe, Hollis).

No tension, no suspense, flat characters, and amazingly mediochre writing. I bought it as pulp fiction (50 pence) for an airplane ride and still felt slightly cheated.

As for the author's publicity stunt ("who, oh who is John Twelve Hawks??") I bluntly couldn't care less. If the novel had been excellent, I'd be in with both feet on the quest, but it was so poor that I hope J12H remains anonymous for his own sake.

Anonymous said...

I just finished the first book and came across this blog searching for the next two. After reading these post and thinking about the novel objectively, I can see several irregularities that I did not see while reading the book the first time. Which means that I was having to much fun in that not so different world. I will read the next two without looking for issues to nitpick about.
As for the author comparisons: This as a first novel put me in mind of The Masters first "For Us The Living". Long on lecture and short on tale, but still a decent read. Course I'm just a dumb ol boy from the backwoods of Alabama, what the hell do I know?

Anonymous said...

My brother sent me a copy of The Traveller last week, which I read over the course of two days. Was intrigued. So I went out and acquired The Dark River and proceeded to read it in two days as well.

On the whole, the book works as a thriller. His description of invasive technology and power, and the ruthless lengths those in power are willing to go to preserve and promote a controlling status quo is both chilling and thought provoking.

So far, though, the Internet and surveillance technology has been a two-edged sword. On one hand, those in power use it to snoop, follow and control our movements.

I think first of how fast the British Government was able to locate the terrorists who bombed the subways in London a couple of years ago -- obviously a good thing to locate such nasty folks.

But, given the the data collection going on in relation to the visual capture tools available, how easy it is becoming for authorities to track our every move--especially those of us who use credit cards, electronic passes for the toll roads, use ATMs, shop @ stores or work in office buildings with cameras, and have passports and Social Security numbers.

Just as our governments manipulate the "Terrorist" card as demonstrated by Twelve Hawks, we are victimized as in back-office powers rigging elections (2000 US Presidential election in Florda where they associated felon names with voter rolls to scrub the voter lists of eligible African American -- and Democrat -- voters). And we are controlled and restricted as in governments denying folks access to travel because for some fraudulent reason their names appear on the No-Fly Terrorist-Watch list.

But on the other hand, this Brave New World has been used by the common citizenry to reveal incidents, that in the past, were covered up and manipulated.

I think of the Rodney King video recording in the early 90's; and the recent cell-phone image recordings of the Oscar Grant murder by a BART transit policeman @ the Fruitvale Station in the SF
Bay Area on New Years Eve 2009.

Without the use of this technology by average citizens, the incidents would have been manipulated by the powers-at-be to appear that the victims were the perpetrators.

Additionally, this technology has also allowed the world to see the social unrest in Iran in relationship to the Green Revolution associated with the rigging of the their Presidential election.

Anyway, the first threshold of decent fiction is does it pass Samuel Coleridge's litmus test of our "willingness to suspend disbelief?" As fiction, does the the story seem plausible?

I would say, the technological thriller part of these books pass with flying colors.

Whereas, as I describe my personal spiritual foundation as a practitioner of "Empirical Animism" -- my own creation -- i.e. I'm willing to believe the spirits in the rocks if I can interact with them --I find less convincing the more ethereal parts of the books.

I will say, though, I have pre-order a copy of the final book in the trilogy and can't wait until September 2009 when the book will be published.

In closing, I think the marketing of Twelve Hawks as living "Off the Grid," adds to the enjoyment of the book; even if, as someone noted either in this blog or elsewhere (can't remember where I read it), we are just being conned by either author or the publisher, or by both.

Anyway, that's my rather inflated two cents.

Micky the Mouse said...

Finished The Dark River, and just ordered The Golden City from USA Amazon (you can't get it until March at Waterstones). Liked the books a great deal. The Traveller challenged my thinking.

Hello, Grumpy Old Bookman! It is the ultimate irony that your blog is only active because people are posting about a book you hated.

And that, GOB, is the strangeness of the Internet....

Lilith said...

I heard it was Joe Haldeman. :)

Anonymous said...

Muppet!

Anonymous said...

John Twelve Hawks could be William Gibson.
I like the first book. I have yet to listen to the other books. I am not sure what good witting is supposed to be but I would say that this isn't really something the average airport reader is going to enjoy, which must give it some status.

screw all you citizens.

Matt said...

Don't matter who he is...does it...really? The first book certainly grabbed me and I plan on reading the rest. Smile Grumpy...you might be on camera, and oh yes...the strangeness of the internet. Hey...are you watching me?

Anonymous said...

the traveller challenges us more than can be said for your pitiful blog

Anonymous said...

I read The Traveler a couple years ago, and I just read it again. Loved it the first time and loved it the second time. I went on-line to search out the next in the series and came across the GOB. What an idiot! Who dug this moron up? What an obvious case of sour grapes. I'm almost sixty years old and I have been a voracious reader all my life, and I think this clown has totally forgotten just exactly why many of us still read instead of popping a DVD in the player. Were you an only child? It would appear so.

Delta62 Thorn said...

You say that JXIIH's book The Traveller was a dud.


This tells me you have chosen to keep your mind closed to the message of JXIIH's book(s).


A shame…

Anonymous said...

I don't have a clue who J 12 Hawks is but I enjoyed the book. It seems to me that someone, probably well known, wanted to make a statement about the direction our "civilization" is going without having to face every self appointed critic in the world.
Maury

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Rory from Manchester said...

Read the three books! John Twelve Hawks is trying to say something important. We've given up our freedom and don't even realize that fact.

Small minds can't understand.

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Anonymous said...

I just finished reading "The Traveler" and while I found the characters - especially the female characters - two-dimensional, I think the book itself is well done, and its message clear. I do not care about the true identity of John Twelve Hawks, but I agree with his premise and predictions of the future.

Dougaldick said...

Although I agree that most of the narrative reads like a school kid's entry for a creative writing competition and much of the dialogue is unrealistic and contrived; the book is exactly what it is supposed to be.
For people who want to lose themselves in a fantasy page-turner this book suffices. Some of the ideas have been done before but there are a few moments of genuine originality.
However the names of the specific protagonist groups - those being 'Travellers', 'Tabua' and the utterly terrible 'Harlequins' - does suggest a serious lack of imagination.
As for the mystery of the author's identity...Who cares? It is obviously some feeble publicity stunt intended to drive sales, surely we're not going to fall for that are we?
In conclusion, though the prose is basic it is easily readable, the plot is not hugely original but it is interesting enough to keep you reading and some of the ideas are plausibly realistic.
Is it a classic? No. Is it decent pulp fiction? Yes. Would it make a good movie? Yes (and I have recently read that Twentieth Century Fox has bought the rights and started production).
Who cares who the author is, the book will never win any awards but it will certainly help you while away the hours besides the pool.

Dougaldick said...

Addendum to my previous post:
ANY (and I can't emphasize that enough)comparisons made to the genius William Gibson are ill-informed and ridiculous beyond all conception; not only was the man prophetic but he also created an entire genre within a genre. Anyone who believes JTW is anything like William Gibson should actually read William Gibson.