I should be thankful that Putin’s special military operation in Ukraine is driving sales of my Full Spectrum Cyberwar novel. Not that the sales are meaningful but they are better than zero. I initially considered the war to be life imitating art, my book being the “art”. I blogged about it partly because I found that interesting and, to be honest, partly to further drive sales with some self-promotion. But now this actualization of my story is leading to character assassination. Like something out of the Twilight Zone, the characters in my story are being killed in real life.
Allow me to provide more context. Every novel contains an obligatory disclaimer about events and characters described within as not actually describing real events or persons. Clearly, that is meaningless for the historical fiction genre. And I can tell you that it’s just basically bullshit for all novels. There’s nothing made up about key characters.
My General Alexander (Sasha) Volkov in Full Spectrum Cyberwar was patterned after the real-life General Valery Gerasimov, a major general in the Russian military. His relevancy was that he published the Gerasimov Doctrine, an essay on hybrid warfare and essentially what my book was all about.
Gerasimov’s essay detailed asymmetrical actions that combine the use of special forces and information warfare that create “a permanently operating front through the entire territory of the enemy state.” Russia’s interference in our 2016 elections was a component of such hybrid warfare, making it relevant for my story.
Long story, short, I freaked out a little when I read about General Vitaly Gerasimov being killed in the battle over Kharkiv. Turns out that Vitaly and Valery are two different major generals, but I initially assumed the first name was a typo and had to perform some research to confirm that.
So maybe this is a non-issue, but a key character in my Cyber War I novel, Sam Sumner, was patterned after Sheldon Adelson, and he died a year ago. Of course, he was 86 years old, but still. Spooky. Also, Andrei in Full Spectrum Cyberwar is patterned after the Ukrainian hacker, Maksym Igor Popov – still living as far as I know. I intend to monitor the content in my ebook versions to make sure the characters’ storylines don’t disappear as they die in real life.